Openers in the T20 format are some of the biggest game changers. An explosive opener can give you a flying start and put the team on a path of a score of over 200.
With the T20 format evolving, the par score for a team has moved from 140-160 to 180-190. For this to happen, every team needs atleast one opener who scores his runs with a strike rate of near 200. Gone are the days of teams picking openers for their ability to handle pace upfront. Now they want someone to go after the bowling.
We have chosen 5 such openers that can expand a windfall of money on them in the IPL 2018 auction:
Chris Gayle’s strike rate in his T20 career is an eye opening 148.98 and that’s something that has made him the greatest T20 opener ever. His record of 11068 runs, 20 centuries, 67 half-centuries, an average of 40.69 in 323 T20 matches, finds no equal and Gayle even at the age of 38 years, will be one dangerous pick for any side that wants a blazingly quick start at the top of the innings.
New Zealand’s Colin Munro is the only batsman in T20I history to hit three centuries, something he did in the last 12 months. In 155 T20 matches he has scored 3535 runs, but the thing to see here is that he possesses a strike rate of 146.86. Munro hits both spinners and fast bowlers with equal disdain and his hits are stay hits.
He wasn’t properly utilized by KKR when he was with them, but with his current form; Munro will be a big buy for any team looking for an opener who can take the game away from the opposition in the first 8 overs.
Chris Lynn set the IPL on fire last year and despite missing some games due to injury. With a T20 career strike rate of 148.60 in 96 matches, Chris Lynn has redefined the way openers bat in T20 format. Recently he became the first batsman to hit 100 sixes in the Big Bash League.
In IPL 2017, he scored 295 runs in 7 matches with a strike rate of 180.98. However, with KKR deciding against retaining Lynn, he has become one of the hottest properties in the IPL 2018 auction and with every team looking to build their squad up, an explosive and big hitting opener like Lynn will be a great addition to their teams.
Jos Buttler just played one of the finest innings in ODI cricket ever for England, as his century led England to an ODI series win over Australia. Buttler played for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2017 and scored 272 runs in 10 matches with a strike rate of 153.67. His T20 career strike rate is 144.07 and with his big hitting exploits, Buttler has more often than not been used as an opener and he will be a good choice as an opener-keeper, giving the team the option to play an extra batsman or bowler and providing stability and balance in the squad.
Brendon McCullum is still remembered for his swashbuckling innings of 158* in the very first match of IPL in 2008. Since then, he has gone on to score 2754 runs in 103 matches with 2 centuries and with a strike rate of 131.08. He was one of the most prolific scorers for Chennai Super Kings from 2011-2015 at the top.
McCullum is the second highest run getter in T20 cricket behind Chris Gayle, with 8769 runs in 318 matches with 7 centuries and 17 half-centuries. He usually has the role of going after the bowling from the go and putting pressure on the bowling unit. Most often than not, McCullum succeeds in doing so and gives his team the advantage at the start of the game itself. A must have opener for any team, McCullum also provides crucial inputs to the captain of the team, thanks to his leadership instincts.