The T20 format has been here for 15 years now and we have seen it evolve in front of our eyes. At the start, it was thought that spinners would be of no use in the slam-bang cricket format, but we saw the rise of finger spinners first and now wrist spinners are ruling the roost in both international T20s and in leagues all around the world.
Similarly, with batsmen, it was thought that batsmen should go after the bowling from the go and often the onus of doing so fell on the openers, who get the maximum amount of balls to play. It led to even pinch hitters being promoted to the opening slot in international T20 matches.
Now the role of openers has evolved so much, thanks to the advent of T20 leagues, that openers have started to look to bat throughout the innings, including the power play overs and lay a platform for a big score.
Therefore, we have decided to shortlist five of the most destructive openers in the international T20s who have carved out their own niche in cricket in the current times.
Check out the top 5 most destructive openers in T20I cricket at the moment
EVIN LEWIS (West Indies)
Young Trinidadian Evin Lewis has been a revelation on the T20 circuit since his 2013 Champions League T20 exploits for Trinidad and Tobago team, where he scored 211 runs in five innings.
However, he came into the prominent spotlight in just his second T20I game for the West Indies, against India at Fort Lauderhill. West Indies batted first and Evin Lewis took on the Indian bowlers from the word go. Lewis slammed his century, his first in T20Is in just 49 balls with 5 fours and 9 sixes.
A year later, he repeated his performance against India, scoring 125* at Sabina Park in a T20I and joined an elite list of batsmen with multiple T20I centuries and first to score two T20I centuries against the same opposition.
Lewis is brilliant both off the front foot and off the back foot and confident against the spinners. His T20I career strike rate of 160.36 is evident that he believes taking the attack to the opposition and succeeds more often than not.
COLIN MUNRO (New Zealand)
Left-handed Kiwi opener Colin Munro has been a revelation in the T20I cricket and came into the spotlight for scoring the second fastest T20I fifty in just 14 balls against Sri Lanka. Since then he has made a name for himself for becoming the first batsman to score three centuries in the T20I history, all of which came in a period of just 12 months.
Colin Munro has scored T20I hundreds against Bangladesh, India and West Indies and has been noted as one of the most destructive openers in the format. He has scored 1173 runs in 45 T20I matches for New Zealand with a strike rate of 163.59. Munro also played for Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League as well.
His ability to wrestle the advantage from the opposition in adverse conditions has set him apart from the rest of the pack, as he really goes after the fast bowlers and spinners with equal gusto and takes the attack head-on.
JOS BUTTLER (England)
Jos Buttler saw a renaissance in his batting abilities as he was promoted to the opening spot for England and in IPL as well. He scored a string of half-century scores in the IPL as an opener and showed that in T20 format, he is more suited at the top of the order unlike the Tests or ODIs.
Buttler has been one of the lynchpins of England’s rise as a limited overs superpower since the 2015 ICC World Cup disaster. Buttler has seen England out of many tough situations and now after his successful stint in IPL as an opener, England has also given him the opportunity to open as well and give the T20 format a new devastating opener to cheer for.
Jos Buttler is adept at scoring runs at will around the ground and in the air, taking advantage of the field restrictions and as seen in IPL, can take the team through even against the best of the spinners.
AARON FINCH (Australia)
The only batsman to score 150 plus innings in T20I history, Australia’s T20I skipper Aaron Finch recently became the first batsman to break his own record of the highest score in T20I cricket, when he smoked 172 against Zimbabwe, breaking his own record of 156, set against England.
Finch has been recognized for his ability to tear apart the bowlers in ODIs and T20Is and is often regarded as the best batsman in current era yet to play Test cricket. 1596 runs in 42 T20Is with two 150+ scores in T20Is at a strike rate of 161.53 is enough to make him a devastating opener in all rights.
Finch takes on the bowlers and makes them bowl to his strengths and then scores freely on both sides of the wicket. His score of 172 is not only the highest score in T20Is but the second highest in T20 format altogether, just 3 runs behind Chris Gayle’s 175* in IPL for RCB.
ROHIT SHARMA (India)
Indian opener Rohit Sharma transformed himself into a copybook destructive opener once he was promoted to open in 2013 by then skipper MS Dhoni. Since then he has conjured up three double hundreds in ODIs and recently became only the second batsman to score three centuries in the T20I format.
Owner of the joint fastest T20I hundred in just 35 balls, Rohit Sharma has changed the way openers view the format. Instead of going bang-bang from the start, Rohit takes the liberty to play out few balls to get his eyes in and then looks to play the whole 20 overs to spread its devastation to maximum effect.
One of the few batsmen to score over 2,000 runs in T20I format, Rohit has scored his runs at the strike rate of 137.05, but his ability to play the whole 20 overs is something that sets him apart from other openers, who tend to get out trying to maximize the effect of power play overs or the first 10 overs.
Rohit Sharma is also the only batsman in world cricket today to have atleast three centuries in all the three international formats of the game, a feat that is unique to him and is evidence of his impact and devastation in the T20I format.