These Indian T20 League openers have flown under the radar, and have yet proved to be equally effective in their role.
Openers have a vital role to play in any T20 game. Not only do they lay the foundation for the rest of the team by batting aggressively upfront, they also have the responsibility of seeing off the new ball and get through the first few overs without the loss of wickets.
Over the years, openers like David Warner, KL Rahul and Chris Gayle have mesmerized the fans with their attacking stroke-play in the Indian T20 League. While these players have got their due credit, there exists a number of underrated openers who should be applauded for their efforts.
Note: Only openers who have opened in at least 30 games are included
Matches - 33, Runs - 697, Avg - 21.12, SR - 183.91, 50s - 3, 100s - NA
The spinner was asked to open the innings for Kolkata in 2017 - a move that proved to be a masterstroke. In 33 games, the West Indian has smashed runs at a mammoth strike-rate of 183.91 - the highest by any opener in the Indian T20 League. To put things into perspective, the next best strike-rate is 156.82 by Virender Sehwag. Though Narine has an average of just over 21, his strike-rate makes him one of the most dangerous openers.
Faf du Plessis
Matches - 39, Runs - 1257, Avg - 34.92, SR - 128.92, 50s - 10, 100s - NA
Considering the rich resources in the Chennai line-up, Faf du Plessis has more often than not warmed the bench. However, he has made his presence felt whenever an opportunity has presented itself. With a four every 8.78 deliveries, the South African relies more on playing down the ground and anchoring the innings, which makes him an ideal T20 opener. With an average of 32.23 runs every innings, Faf is a reliable opener at the top.
Matches - 62, Runs - 1911, Avg - 31.33, SR - 132.62, 50s - 16, 100s - NA
Dwayne Smith has more than decent numbers batting at the top of the order in the league. With a boundary every 4.84 balls, Smith was a dangerous hitter, who scored at an average of 30.82 runs in every innings that he batted. He took an average of 23.24 balls to get his runs, which is why he has a strike rate of just under 133.
Matches - 32, Runs - 826, Avg - 25.81, SR - 133.87, 50s - 3, 100s - NA
A surprise entrant, Vohra has the 11th highest strike-rate in the history of the Indian T20 League among openers who have played 30+ games. The Indian batter has an average of 25.81, a strike rate of 133.87 and scores almost 61.99% of his runs in boundaries alone. He has smashed ten thirties along with three fifties in his career as an Indian T20 League opener and remains an underrated batter. His 95 against Hyderabad while playing for Punjab is one of the most underrated knocks by a youngster in the Indian T20 League.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain