Openers play a major role in setting the tone of the match with their blistering exhibitions in the powerplay. In a tournament as big as the Indian Premier League, it becomes all the more important to find the ideal opening combination that can be highly destructive at the top order and get the team a much-desired start. With IPL 2020 all set to kick off in a few weeks from now, here are the three most destructive opening combinations to watch out for –
KL Rahul – Chris Gayle ( Kings XI Punjab )
It won’t be wrong to say that the duo of Rahul and Gayle is possibly one of the most feared combinations in the current scenario of T20 cricket.
Gayle has averaged over 40 in the last two editions of IPL and struck at 145-plus, with 7 half-centuries under his belt. Rated by many as one of the greatest cricketers to have graced the shortest format, it comes natural for any franchise that possesses a player like Gayle to go bonkers onto the opposition from the very moment.
To accompany him at the top would be KL Rahul, who has been an absolute entertainer in the last couple of IPL editions. Smashing 659 and 593 runs in IPL 2018 and 2019 respectively, the Karnataka-born cricketer emerged as one of the key players in the KXIP unit.
This time, Rahul will be captaining the Punjab-based franchise, and all eyes would be on him as to how he performs as a captain and as a batsman.
Rohit Sharma – Quinton de Kock ( Mumbai Indians )
The duo of Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock proved one of the major contributors to Mumbai Indians’ success in IPL 2019 as they eventually lifted their 4th title.
De Kock had a season to remember as he amassed over 500 runs in 16 innings at an average and strike rate of 35.26 and 132.91 respectively, in the process, notching 4 fifties to his name.
Meanwhile, Rohit’s consistent onslaughts along with the Protea cricketer would be of paramount importance for the Mumbai Indians.
He decided to bat at the opening slot in IPL 2019, scoring 405 runs at a strike rate of 128.57. Prior to the cricket coming to a halt due to the global pandemic, Hitman was in a good nick in the limited-overs and if he manages to get back the momentum, one could see major boundary hitting from the 33-year-old in the conditions of UAE.
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David Warner – Jonny Bairstow ( Sunrisers Hyderabad )
Those who watched IPL 2019 would probably state Warner-Bairstow as one of the most destructive opening combinations for the forthcoming season of IPL.
Though the duo didn’t play the entire tournament, as they missed out on the last few matches due to international commitments, they still managed to rip through the opposition bowlers and emerged as the pivotal performers in their team’s win in the league stages in IPL 2019.
Warner was once again at his lethal best, amassing 692 runs at an average of 69.20, with 8 fifties and a hundred. The southpaw has been unstoppable in the limited overs matches played since 2019, scoring truck load of runs in T20Is and ODIs, and now having received the much-needed break from cricket owing to the global pandemic, the aggressive opener would look to bang on the bowlers and steer his side to the roads of galore.
On the other hand, Bairstow struck gold in his maiden IPL season, smashing 445 runs at an average of 55.42, a strike rate of 157.24, along with a century and two half-centuries. The Englishman has had a dominating run in white-ball cricket in the last few years and with IPL being the biggest platform for the best T20 cricketers across the globe, one could bank on him to render another jaw-dropping season and guide the Orange Army to their second IPL title.