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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Cricket News

Open and shut case: The common link between the leading run-getters
Anand Sachar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 04, 2012
First Published: 00:34 IST(4/5/2012)
Last Updated: 02:20 IST(4/5/2012)

The Delhi Daredevils’ Virender Sehwag has almost single-handedly decimated teams like the Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors over the last few games.

The ferocious fifties the ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ has slammed in his last five outings have ensured that DD have enjoyed the upper hand right from the word go.

It has also helped Sehwag overcome a sedate start to sneak in and be within sniffing distance of Ajinkya Rahane, the current top run-getter in the IPL. For the record, the Daredevils batsman is just 13 runs behind Rahane’s (RR) 458.

To add to it, Sehwag is the only Daredevils batsman to figure in the top-five from a team that has the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor. But that’s hardly surprising considering that Sehwag walks out to open the innings. If we take a look at the other batsmen who are leading the charts, all of them walk out to open their respective teams’ innings.

Going by the book http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/5/04_05_12-metro19f.jpg
Rahane has surprised many by being the standout batsman — and all that despite playing proper cricketing shots. For Chris Gayle, it has been about brute power. Kolkata Knight Riders’ Gautam Gambhir has made sure he does not disappoint his teammates, who seem to be overly dependent on their skipper.

And, finally, occupying the fifth spot is the Chennai Super Kings opener, Faf du Plessis. After tasting success in domestic T20 tournaments in South Africa, du Plessis has displayed his talent in India. In fact, the sixth on the list is also an opener — RR skipper Rahul Dravid.

Leading the way
T20 was always considered a game loaded heavily in favour of the batsmen. But, aren’t openers dominating it now? Numbers and trends suggest so.

With field restrictions on for the first six overs, even Morne Morkel can be lofted over covers. Once the field spreads, it gets difficult for the batsmen to score boundaries.

It was seen in the game between RR and DD at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Tuesday, where Dravid and Rahane dominated the likes of Morkel and Irfan Pathan in a 71-run opening stand. But once they departed, the team crawled to 141.

Besides, on a number of occasions, openers have left nothing for the later-order batsmen to do. When Sehwag carried his aggressive form through the innings, DD chased a tricky 147 against the Pune Warriors in Pune with four overs and eight wickets to spare.

Thus, good starts have become crucial. That’s the best time to wield the willow with vengeance. How else would you explain the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, AB de Villiers and MS Dhoni not featuring amongst the top run-getters?


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