In cricket’s shortest — and most unpredictable — format, a solitary effort can turn the match on its head.
Taking a leaf out of the IPL’s eight-year history, it’s obvious that this time too the impact players may bowl part-time spin and be good fielders but must be the cleanest hitters of the ball.
As the ninth edition of the IPL commences on Saturday, HT takes a look at some of the impact men this season.
The ultimate T20 batsman, the West Indian has played almost everywhere in the world. His 48-ball ton against England in the World T20 gave the Caribbeans an early boost.
Role: Starts slowly and covers it up by targeting a couple of overs. Lays the foundation for a big score.
With RCB: In 82 matches, he has scored 3199 runs including five hundreds and 18 fifties.
AB de Villiers
The 360-degree man can fetch a boundary from almost any angle and has been the key to RCB’s fortunes. Though he was below par during the World T20, he never looked out of touch.
Role: Provides the fillip in the middle and end stages of an innings.
With RCB: In 104 matches, he has scored 2570 runs with two hundreds and 15 fifties.
The left-handed opener is the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad and often regarded as one of the original T20-mould players. His demotion to one-down was criticised by Shane Warne as the reason behind Australia’s failure in the World T20.
Role: Just like Gayle, Warner provides a quick and roaring start to the team.
With Hyderabad: In 83 games for the Hyderabad franchise he has made 2525 runs with two tons & 23 fifties.
The finisher is one of the two game-changers in the Kings XI Punjab. Barring a quickfire 28 against England, he didn’t have much to show in the World T20 and his failure was one of the reasons for South Africa’s poor campaign.
Role: He is a finisher and can chip in with useful runs at the end to make a difference.
With KXIP: In 47 matches for KXIP, he has 1319 runs with one hundred and eight fifties.
The Aussie all-rounder is the most feared hitter in T20 cricket. Of late though, he hasn’t quite clicked the way he does. He played some cameos in the World T20, but his knock against India was surprisingly slow.
Role: Can help build an innings and also act as a finisher, his strong point are the big hits.
With KXIP: In 32 matches, he has scored 739 runs and has four fifties.
The Mumbai Indians skipper is used to scoring big and although he didn’t click in the World T20, his performance in the Australia T20 series was pivotal in helping India win it 3-0.
Role: At the top of the order, he helps build a platform for big-hitters like Kieron Pollard.
With MI: In 128 matches, he has 3385 runs with one hundred and 24 fifties.
The man is in the limelight for his exploits in the World T20 final, which he finished with four consecutive sixes. Though not at all a success in T20s, his first IPL with Delhi Daredevils could change his career.
Role: Provides a solid start at the top and as shown in the World Cup, can hit a few out of the ground towards the end. Role still not clear.
With DD: This is his first IPL.