Batting powerplays are very much in the news, aren’t they? Well, they should be as often they are — or at least should be — game-changers. With most sides invariably getting through their bowling powerplays immediately after the mandatory first 10 overs, it is the batting powerplays that need some thinking.
In the first ODI at Baroda, both captains opted for the powerplay at the right time but then planning is one thing and execution quite another. When a team loses a wicket at the start of the powerplay — which in most cases is a settled batsman — they would do well to send in a pinch-hitter, someone who can make a quick 15-20 and whose loss early or otherwise will not have any significant impact.
There is no need to look at scoring as many as 50-60 runs in that period. Rather, the focus should be on shifting the momentum. The basic idea should be to make the opposition captain think, make him re-evaluate his strategy and force him to even change it.
For all this to happen, the batting powerplay has to be taken early enough too. Should you delay it, the opposition will be better prepared, with the right bowlers waiting in the wings. Never make it predicable, that is the key.
Powerplays aside, it was a very good game of cricket, one that went to show if you don't give up till the last ball, anything is possible. And Harbhajan is that sort of a character; he will always fight till the end. With Nagpur hosting its first day-nighter, should India bowl second, Praveen Kumar's ability to move the ball will come in handy.