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IPL 2020: Ranking the openers of the 8 teams

  • Which team has the best opening combination heading into the season?
  • Do you see one of these teams as the runaway winners in the current season
Meit Sampat
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 05 Apr 2020, 03:46 IST

#4 Delhi Capitals

Dhawan is likely to open the batting with Rahane for Delhi Capitals
Dhawan is likely to open the batting with Rahane for Delhi Capitals

Options: Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, and Jason Roy

The presence of Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, and Prithvi Shaw at the top of the order is a good prospect for Delhi Capitals.

The addition of Rahane to the squad is a welcome change, and the management will look to use his experience at the top of the order in the 2020 IPL season. Rahane will look to bat through the innings and hold one end together, which is essential in T20 cricket. He has scored consistently in IPL cricket, and having played international cricket regularly, the vice-captain of the Indian Test team will look to prove his worth in the T20 format.

His opening partner will be Shikhar Dhawan, who loves white-ball cricket. Dhawan is a regular opener for India in T20 internationals and scores runs at a quick pace in T20s. Dhawan and Rahane have batted together in the past, and the duo will look to set the tone for the franchise from Delhi to win their maiden IPL trophy.

The Capitals have a backup opener in Prithvi Shaw, who has tasted success at the Test level as well as in IPL cricket. Shaw will look to score big runs in the IPL and make a name for himself in the Indian team for the T20 format too.

DC also purchased swashbuckling English opener Jason Roy at the auction. But given that the Delhi-based franchise have three Indian openers at their disposal, the Englishman might be forced to warm the benches throughout the tournament. That, however, doesn't mean that he can't make an impact when called upon. In IPL 2018, he played only five games but made a massive difference in the match against MI where he scored 91* while chasing 195. If DC, at any point during the tournament, feel that they need more impetus at the top, then expect a few fireworks from Jason Roy.

The presence of 3 quality Indian and one top-notch overseas opener is a healthy sign for the Capitals.

#3 Kings XI Punjab

Gayle is one of the most destructive openers in the history of IPL
Gayle is one of the most destructive openers in the history of IPL

Options: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal

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Kings XI Punjab have one the most destructive opening pair for the 2020 IPL cricket. The Universe Boss, Chris Gayle, loves the T20 format and especially the IPL. The 2019 IPL season was proof that there is plenty of cricket left in Gayle, and he will look to create havoc in the upcoming IPL season.

Gayle can clear the boundaries easily and a nightmare for any bowler. If he gets his eye in, he can score big runs and win a game single-handedly.

His opening partner KL Rahul will captain the Kings for the upcoming season. Rahul complements Gayle really well, and the duo have tasted success for the Kings in the past. Rahul, too has been in exceptional form in T20 cricket and would love to start his captaincy career by leading the Kings to their maiden IPL trophy.

The Kings have a backup opener in Mayank Agarwal, who has tasted success at the international level. Though he is yet to make his debut in T20 internationals, he has considerable experience of playing domestic T20 and IPL cricket and is a good batsman at the top of the order.

The Kings have a settled opening pair who have tasted success in the past and can score runs at a quick pace, which is essential in T20 cricket.

#2 Sunrisers Hyderabad

Warner had an exceptional 2019 IPL season
Warner had an exceptional 2019 IPL season

Options: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, and Kane Williamson.

Sunrisers Hyderabad have two quality openers in David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. Both Warner and Bairstow had a prolific run in the 2019 IPL season. However, once the duo left the IPL midway in 2019 for international commitments, the team suffered.

Both Warner and Bairstow are aggressive batsmen and have dominated the bowling from the word go. They complement each other very well and have put on big partnerships in the past for SRH.

Kane Williamson, though he has done exceptionally well for SRH as a makeshift opener, he is the best bet at number 3 for SRH and will look to strengthen the middle order.

Warner set the 2019 IPL on fire with his exceptional batting and made an exceptional comeback to the team in 2019.

Saha has opened for SRH in the past and can be an option for the backup opener for Warner and Bairstow.

#1 Mumbai Indians

Captain Rohit Sharma might choose to open the innings for MI second year in a row
Captain Rohit Sharma might choose to open the innings for MI second year in a row

Options: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock and Chris Lynn

One of the reasons for the success of Mumbai Indians in the 2019 season was the form of their openers. Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock got MI to flying starts on most occasions, which set the reliable platform for the team.

The duo have performed exceptionally for their teams in T20 internationals, too, and are one of the best openers in this format.

MI acquired Chris Lynn for the 2020 IPL auction, and he too is a prolific opener. Lynn has been a regular part of their playing XI of KKR since the year 2017. He scored 295 runs in 7 IPL innings in 2017 at an impressive average of 49.17 and an astonishing strike rate of 180.98.

Lynn had fruitful IPL seasons in 2018 and 2019, where he scored at an average of 32.73 and 31.15, respectively. He scored at a strike rate of 130.24 in 2018 and 139.66 in 2019.

In 41 IPL innings, the opener from Australia has scored 1280 runs at an average of 33.68 and a strike rate of 140.66.

Lynn can change the course of a T20 game from the word go and can play big shots to both spinners and fast bowlers in the powerplay overs. And if he survives the powerplay, he can be a real nightmare for the opponents.

It will be interesting to see as to who opens the batting for MI this season as they have three quality openers. MI clearly outscore the other teams when it comes to opening options.

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Published 03 Jan 2020, 09:00 IST
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