KL Rahul has 448 runs. Mayank Agarwal has 382 runs. Together, the two have contributed to 62.68% of the total team runs Punjab have made this season. There’s no reason for another batsman to even come into the picture as a major contributing factor. Yet, Punjab have one in Nicholas Pooran.
It isn’t a stretch to state that Pooran has had a massive say in how Punjab’s batting has shaped up. With Rahul batting too cautious and Mayank the only one consistently scoring quick, Pooran has stepped in to make up for the gaping hole in Punjab’s middle-order and the questionable approach by their skipper.
Pooran has 218 runs in the tournament this season in seven games at an average of 36.33. In terms of batting strike-rate, though, he trumps Rahul and Mayank by a fair distance. He features in the top five best batting strike rates this season and has done so with some audacious stroke-making.
Notable Performances so far
25(8) vs Rajasthan
44 (27) vs Mumbai
33 (17) vs Chennai
77 (37) vs Hyderabad
Major skill on display: Improved performance vs pace
The major factor about Pooran’s performance was his exceptional showing against pacers. Known as a spin-hitter primarily, Pooran was known to be a tad vulnerable to short balls at a good pace. This year, he has not only dispatched pacers with ease, scoring 108 off 57 balls against them, but also maximised when taking on the short balls.
Against spin, Pooran has maintained a good scoring rate, scoring 104 off 63 balls. But at the heart of him thriving this season in the Indian T20 League is his development as a player capable of being dynamic against both pace and spin.
|AB de Villiers||190.00|
|Faf du Plessis||142.57|
Most sixes in the tournament
Pooran has faced just 121 balls this tournament but hit the most sixes – 17, just two short of Sanju Samson’s tally of 19. For a middle-order batsman coming in after a settled opening partnership more often than not, to do that as consistently as Pooran has done is incredible. Pooran has stepped in during the death overs, mostly with very little time spent at the crease and started hitting with little need to consolidate, a massive quality to have when you are batting beneath batsmen who bat on without too much acceleration until the death overs. With Maxwell also misfiring this season, Pooran’s exceptional hitting ability has kept Punjab floating.
Second best strike-rate among middle-order batsmen
The sheer difficulty of doing what Pooran has done this season so far is understood by checking the highest strike-rates this year when batting in the middle-order. For batsmen to have faced at least 100 balls, only AB de Villiers strikes quicker.
The middle-order role in T20s could vary depending on how the top-order goes and Pooran has adapted perfectly. Except in game one when he was snared by a peach from Ashwin, Pooran has scored more than 15 each time, converting four of those to scores of 25 or more while scoring quickly. When crossing 25 this year, Pooran has struck at a rate of 160 or more, a sign that shows how influential he has been in the batting line-up.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Indian T20 League