Openers have always played a massive role in white ball cricket. A quality opening batsman helps his team seize the initial momentum and jeopardize the oppositions' bowling plans. It all started during the 1992 World Cup, when Mark Greatbatch, the hard hitting Kiwi opener rewrote the openers manual by taking advantage of the field restrictions with some breathtaking shots.
This approach was revolutionized further by Sanath Jayasuriya who gave blistering starts in the 1996 World Cup and helped Sri Lanka to win the title. Matthew Hayden and Sachin Tendulkar were instrumental in Australia and India having successful World Cup Campaigns in 2007 and 2011 respectively.
If we look at the last two ICC tournaments that were played in England, Shikhar Dhawan was the outstanding batsman, who top scored in both the Champions Trophy in 2013 and 2017. His association with Rohit Sharma became one of the major factors for India to go all the way in 2013. Every other team has taken cue from history and try to beef up their top order with explosive batsmen to ensure they get a rollicking start.
Lets look into 5 such openers who can set the 2019 World Cup on fire.
This might baffle a few! Imam-Ul-Haq has been a sensation for Pakistan along with Babar Azam and the duo have rejuvenated Pakistani batting fortunes in white ball cricket. Imam, who also happens to be Inzamam's nephew, has an organized technique and a range of shots which makes his batting look attractive. He even scored a century on debut albeit against a lowly Zimbabwe but it showed glimpses of his potential.
Imam has been in good form in recent times. He scored three half centuries in the 2018 Asia Cup and was one of the positives for Pakistan. Imam came of age in the recently concluded South African tour, where he showed his class in the ODI series. If he has to succeed in the upcoming World Cup, he should learn to rotate the strike better during the middle overs and hold one end up. If he is successful in doing that, he might end up as an MVP (Most Valuable Player) for Pakistan in the batting department.