Indian Premier League (IPL) is often hailed as the most competitive domestic T20 tournament in the world. Over the last 12 years, IPL has entertained cricket fans through some nail-biting matches and many heroic performances.
Since the IPL season lasts for only seven to eight weeks, the franchises do not have much time to give many opportunities to any of their players. The team managements use a 'trial and error' approach frequently. Because of this trend, the fans have seen some lower-order batsmen open the innings for the team and some openers getting demoted to number eight.
In this article, we will look at the five players who have opened an IPL innings and also batted at the number eight position.
5. Rahul Tripathi (Opened 19 IPL innings, batted at number 8 once)
Rahul Tripathi came into the spotlight after his terrific performances for the Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017. The right-handed batsman opened the innings for RPS and ended the season with 391 runs in 14 innings.
His splendid starts at the top played a crucial role in RPS's journey to the final. Tripathi is a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2020. He played his first game for the Shahrukh Khan-owned franchise last night against the Delhi Capitals.
While fans expected him to bat in the top order, KKR surprisingly sent him to bat at the number eight position. Still, the upcoming star did not disappoint the team as he aggregated 36 runs at a strike rate of 225.
4. Sunil Narine (Opened 37 IPL innings, batted at number 8 four times)
Sunil Narine started his IPL career as a mystery spin bowler, but over the last few years, the Caribbean player worked on his batting skills and is now one of the top all-rounders in T20 cricket.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have been using Sunil Narine as a pinch-hitting opener for the last few seasons. He has opened 37 innings for them, scoring 724 runs at a strike rate of 176.59.
Besides, Narine has also batted at the number eight position four times, managing three runs at an average of 1.50. Since the West Indian player is yet to fire in IPL 2020, he might likely receive a demotion soon.
3. Irfan Pathan (Opened 3 innings, batted at number 8 five times)
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan was a part of six IPL franchises in his career. He started his career with the Kings XI Punjab and later joined the Delhi Capitals, the Chennai Super Kings, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Rising Pune Supergiant, and the Gujarat Lions.
Since he was a versatile player, the IPL teams used him in different roles. Pathan had once scored a 32-ball 39 while opening the innings for KXIP against CSK in IPL 2010. He batted at number eight five times, aggregating 30 runs at a strike rate of 93.75.
2. Manish Pandey (Opened 27 IPL innings, batted at number 8 two times)
Manish Pandey has cemented his spot in the Sunrisers Hyderabad middle-order this year. The right-handed batsman has played some excellent knocks for the Orange Army.
Pandey played for the Mumbai Indians, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Kolkata Knight Riders, and the Pune Warriors, before becoming a part of SRH. Many cricket fans would know that the Karnataka captain holds the record for being the first Indian centurion in IPL history. He had accomplished that feat while opening the innings for RCB in IPL 2009.
The 31-year-old batsman scored 739 runs in the 27 innings that he opened. Pandey also batted at the number eight position twice in the IPL. The Pune Warriors sent him to bat after losing six wickets in a match against SRH. Pandey remained unbeaten on 7* in that match but Pune lost by 11 runs.
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1. Ajinkya Rahane (Opened 110 IPL innings, batted at number 8 once)
The most surprising name on this list is of the Indian Test team's vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. The former Rajasthan Royals captain has opened 110 IPL innings, scoring 3,436 runs at a brilliant average of 35.79. Rahane has also registered two centuries after coming out as an opener.
Before joining RR, Rahane was a part of the Mumbai Indians squad in the first few seasons. The Mumbai-based franchise had sent him to bat at number eight in an IPL 2009 game against the Delhi Capitals. Rahane scored 12 runs off 12 deliveries and lost his wicket to Rajat Bhatia.Published 04 Oct 2020, 21:00 IST