Powerplay is normally the time for fielders to go on a leather hunt. The sprints to the boundary and back become even more frequent during the batting Powerplay as the batsmen are set and ready for the assault.
The batting Powerplays in this series, however, have been a mystery that batsmen from both sides have struggled to unravel. Of the six batting Powerplays taken so far (until Friday’s match at St George’s Park), only one yielded the desired result, while others saw wickets tumble and runs not coming by.
Apparently, the batsmen have perished under the pressure to make the most of the scoring opportunity with just three fielders outside the ring.
“The batting Powerplay is always considered a license to hit but it is important not to hit every ball because if you lose two or three wickets, you hardly earn anything from it. It’s important to take it at a time when you have two settled batsmen and look to score as many runs as possible but not lose too many wickets,” said MS Dhoni.
One could find the answer in the only successful batting Powerplay, opted for by AB de Villiers and JP Duminy, that yielded 45 runs without any loss in the first ODI at Kingsmead. The duo scored at a brisk pace but didn’t try to hit every ball out of the ground. They hit six boundaries in the five overs and worked the ball in the vacant outfield.
Besides, the stage at which teams have opted for it too has seen interesting. South Africa, in particular, have gone for it as early as in the 27th over. The results have been mixed.
While it worked in the first game with Duminy and de Villiers, it backfired in the second game when they went for it in the 31st over with just 46 runs to get in 19 overs, and with six wickets in hand. It brought the field in, dried up the singles and the batsmen fell while looking for runs. That eventually cost them the match.
India, too, have been equally bad. The only bright spot for them in the batting Powerplays have been how Zaheer Khan has bowled in this period. He has been the toughest to score off with his intelligent change of pace and yorkers.