One of the key aspects in one-day cricket was batsmen capable of exploiting early field restrictions with big hitting. Twenty20 has only polished that part of the game.
Teams now look to maximise the scoring in the first six Powerplay overs with field restrictions while keeping wickets in hand. In the World Twenty20 though, ODI champions Australia missed a trick by shunting David Warner to No 4.
The explosive left-hander cut his teeth in IPL cricket, and lived up to the prediction made by the then Daredevils teammate Virender Sehwag that he has the game to succeed in all formats. Sehwag essentially believed in hitting every delivery and saw a mirror -image of himself in Warner.
The WT20 shuffling was due to the availability of an in-form Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson and Aaron Finch. Warner had done well at No 4 in the past. But in a major tournament, Australia failed to factor in Warner’s aggression and experience of having played in India.
At No 4, the Aussie batsman didn’t look comfortable and Australia never found batting momentum, failing to reach the semis. Warner, the Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper, though looks set to open and that could make a difference in the tough opening IPL clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
With Shikhar Dhawan not in great form, it will be important that Warner provides that early momentum, and exploit an attack without his injured compatriot Mitchell Starc.
Sunrisers’ Aussie coach Tom Moody indicated Warner will open and suggested Australia should have opened with him.
“Warner showed us two years ago that he can bat anywhere. He was phenomenal at No 4 when we had half the games in the UAE. As far as the dilemma the Australians had, they had four batsmen who could open. He was the easy one to shift. Whether he was the right one to shift is the argument,” he said. “Opening bowlers in world cricket would be happy to see him come in at No 4. You get the answer.”
Sunrisers have a tricky job in finalising their four overseas players for the game. Kiwi Kane Williamson and England’s Eoin Morgan were not at their best in the WT20, and Sunrisers will have to balance their choices as bowling too needs attention.