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Nicholas Pooran and his middle-overs heists

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Caribbean batsman Nicholas Pooran is not even in the list of top 10 run-scorers in the ongoing edition of the Indian T20 League at the moment. He has amassed 295 runs in the 10 matches so far and there are 11 more batsmen who have scored more runs than him. However, other batsmen can only dream about doing what he has done in the tournament thus far.

The 25-year-old has consistently kept launching onslaughts in the period between overs 7 and 11, a phase in which most batsmen look to consolidate their innings in order to launch the assault in the latter overs, but they only end up allowing the bowling team an easy passage of play while trying to do that.

Three teams -- Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi -- have found themselves at the receiving end of Pooran's onslaughts till now and it has come in a winning cause for Punjab on two of those occasions as well.

Hyderabad was the first team that got to experience the storm Pooran can unleash. After posting a total of 201 runs on the board and picking up two early wickets, Hyderabad looked well on course for victory against Punjab. But Pooran had other ideas as he launched an assault on them straightaway after walking out to bat. Out of the total of 77 runs he scored that day, 51 of them came in just 14 deliveries that he faced in the aforementioned phase.

It looked like he would take the match away from Hyderabad but lack of any kind of support from the other end didn't help his cause. The highest score by a batsman in that innings, after Pooran, was just 11 by KL Rahul and Prabhsimran Singh. That sums up how poor other Punjab batsmen were in that match.

However, the other teams couldn't escape the attacks he launched on them on the next two occasions. First, it was Mumbai and then it was Delhi. Pooran scored a combined total of 54 runs in the 24 deliveries he faced during the 7-11 over phase against Mumbai across two innings. Against Delhi, he scored 40 off 19 in one outing in that phase only and thus took the game away from them once again.

In fact, no other batsman has scored more runs than Pooran during this phase of the innings in this season and his strike-rate is the best among them as well.

Batsmen

Runs

Balls

Strike-rate

Nicholas Pooran

159

72

220.83

Mayank Agarwal

106

58

182.76

Sanju Samson

134

74

181.08

Prithvi Shaw

53

31

170.97

Shane Watson

97

59

164.41

Table: Most runs between over 7 and 11 in the Indian T20 League 2020 season (minimum 30 balls faced)

Moreover, there are only two other batsmen-- Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli -- who haven't been dismissed even after facing 30 or more deliveries in this phase. However, they have scored at a much lower SR of 106.94 and 101.09 respectively. So their scoring rate pretty much sums up their intent of preserving their wickets and that's why Pooran's achievement is so amazing.

He hasn't tried to save his wicket at all. In fact, he has been absolutely fearless about it and backed his natural instincts and strengths. That has brought the best out of him and what we have witnessed so far is nothing short of spectacular. In fact, it's fascinating that there are nine other batsmen who have faced more deliveries than Pooran's 72 during this phase of the innings, but none of them has hit more sixes than Pooran (13). He has smashed 11 fours as well, which is the third-most in the list once again.

His tally of 159 runs in this phase constitute 53.9 % of the total runs he has accumulated in this season and he has done that while facing only 44.7% of the total deliveries he has faced. That sums up the kind of impact his performances in this phase have had on Punjab's fortunes. A week back, it looked like they were completely down and out of the tournament but now they have a clear shot at the playoffs on the back of three consecutive victories.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / @ICC

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