The thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) will be played from 19 September to 9 November 2020. Mumbai Indians are the defending champions, having won the 2019 IPL for the fourth time, also holding the most IPL titles by a team. To win the T20 games, opening pair plays a huge role. In IPL role of the openers further increases as he doesn’t only have to send the balls and bowlers to the cleaners but also has to soak up the huge pressure that is the part and parcel of any IPL game
We all have seen teams having a good opening pair doing well in the tournament. While most teams try to go for a left hand-right hand combination up top, same-styled pairs have received considerable success as well. Nonetheless, the importance of having two good openers in a team can never be undermined, especially when it comes to the IPL.
InsideSport is analyzing all 8 IPL TEAMS and their opening pairs. Take a look, opening pair options available with each IPL team this year.
1. Delhi Capitals (DC) opening combination for IPL 2020
Options: Shikhar Dhawan – Prithvi Shaw
Without any doubt, Delhi Capitals will start the innings with Shikhar Dhawan and diminutive powerhouse Prithvi Shaw. This pair has a capability to destroy any bowling attack. It would have been more interesting if DC would have Jason Roy in the mix of things. But England batsman has already opted out of IPL 2020 which clearly makes Shikhar, Shaw combination as number 1 combination for the team.
In case any of these two fails, Ajinkya Rahane can be another option for DC.
The addition of Rahane to the squad is a welcome change and the management will look to use his experience at the top of the order in the 2020 IPL season. Rahane will look to bat through the innings and hold one end together which is essential in T20 cricket. He has scored consistently in IPL cricket and having played international cricket regularly, the vice-captain of the Indian Test team will look to prove his worth in the T20 format.
But Rahane only comes into picture if Shikhar-Shaw fails – which looks unlikely. Both have the capability to win games single-handily for Delhi Capital in IPL 2020.
2. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opening combination for IPL 2020
Options: Tom Banton, Sunil Narine, Shubhman Gill
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) won’t have two of their premier top-order players (Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa) who now have been traded with MI and RR respectively. That means Shubman Gill is certain to open the innings but the question will be who.
Sunil Narine has been a preferred choice but the experiment was dropped midway through the 2019 season with the rise of Gill. KKR have an exciting Englishman– Tom Banton who could be in for a spot in the playing XI if KKR decides to play an extra overseas batsman.
Can they be as potent as opening pairs of the other teams – little unlikely.
3. Rajasthan Royals opening combination for IPL 2020
Options: Robin Uthappa, Jos Butler, Yashashvi Jaiswal
In Jos Buttler, Rajasthan Royals has one of the leading white-ball batsmen in the world as one of their openers. But the question is who will partner the swashbuckling Engish wicketkeeper-batsman at the top of the order?
Rajasthan Royals have interesting options in the form of young Yashasvi Jaiswal and the experienced Robin Uthappa. Jaiswal stormed into reckoning courtesy his exploits in the last domestic season and the U-19 World Cup.
If the Royals do go with Jaiswal at the top of the order, it will not only give them a dynamic left-right combination but also pave way for the likes of Robin Uthappa, Steve Smith, and Sanju Samson to lead the middle-order.
The highest run scorer of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020 with 400 runs from six innings is making his debut this year. Jaiswal was bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 2.4 crore and will be the perfect dashing left-handed opening pair along with Jos Buttler. The 18-year-old from Mumbai – can bowl some leg spin too.
4. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) combination for IPL 2020
Options: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis
CSK experimented with having Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu as their opening pair in the league stage of the competition last season before they finally zeroed on the pair of Watson and Du Plessis.
Both Watson and Du Plessis complement each other really well and it will be interesting to see how they go about their business this time around.
They can be the most consistent opening pair of IPL 2020 – if they fail Murali Vijay can be the back up option for CSK.
5. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) combination for IPL 2020
Options: Aaron Finch, Parthiv Patel, Devdutt Padikkal and Joshua Phillippe
Royal Challengers Bangalore have been over-reliant on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to get the big scores in the previous editions of the IPL. However, the lack of a specialist opening pair has often forced Virat Kohli to open the batting for RCB which has affected their team combination.
Aaron Finch recently revealed that his game plan in the upcoming IPL will be to tee off in the powerplay and provide blistering starts to the team.
But who will Finch partner with ? RCB has 3 options in their team Parthiv Patel, Devdutt Padikkal and Joshua Phillippe which they can use as opener but if all of them fail Captain Kohli can make one of the most formidable opening pair of IPL 2020 with Aaron Finch.
6. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) opening combination for IPL 2020
Options: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow
Sunrisers Hyderabad have two quality openers in David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. Both Warner and Bairstow had a prolific run in the 2019 IPL season. However, once the duo left the IPL midway in 2019 for international commitments, the team suffered.
Both Warner and Bairstow are aggressive batsmen and have dominated the bowling from the word go. They complement each other very well and have put on big partnerships in the past for SRH.
Can you have a better opening pair than Warner & Baristow? On paper Sunrisers will have a head start on most of the teams with class act like Warner-Baristow in squad to start their innings in IPL 2020.
7. Mumbai Indians (MI) opening combination for IPL 2020
Options: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Chris Lynn
Why Mumbai Indians has won the most number of IPL TITLES – Without any doubt, because they have one of the most dangerous opening batsman in the white ball cricket to lead them i.e Rohit Sharma.
Sharma will have Quinton de Kock on his side to open the MI innings and give them flying starts. The duo have performed exceptionally for their teams in T20 internationals too and are one of the best openers in this format.
If they fail, extremely dangerous Chris Lynn is their as back-up. Lynn has been a regular part of their playing XI of KKR since the year 2017. He scored 295 runs in 7 IPL innings in 2017 at an impressive average of 49.17 and an astonishing strike rate of 180.98.
It will be interesting to see as to who opens the batting for MI this season as they have 3 quality openers. MI clearly outscore the other teams when it comes to opening options.
8 King XI Punjab (KXIP) opening combinations for IPL 2020
Options: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal
KXIP has three top-quality openers in Gayle, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal who are all match-winners.
Rahul is among the best T20 players in the world at the moment. He forms a great partnership with Gayle at the top and the latter has the ability to blast out and go hard at the bowling right from the start. The Rahul-Gayle pair has done well too.
Meanwhile, they also have Mayank Agarwal who can open the batting. Kings XI Punjab usually play him at No.3 with the Rahul-Gayle duo showing great consistency and solidity at the top.