IPL 2019: 3 overseas openers to watch out for
The 12th edition the world's biggest T20 league - IPL 2019 - is set to begin on March 23. The excitement for the tournament is already sky-high, which is no surprise considering the amount of money, coverage and entertainment it offers.
In all the editions of the tournament except 2018, the Orange Cap - given to the highest run-getter - has been bagged by openers. It is the openers who set the tone of the game, and they are expected to provide a solid start to the team.
In a format like T20, the openers also have to understand the pitch and conditions quickly and adjust to it. Here, we take a look at 3 overseas openers to watch out for in this edition of the IPL.
#3 David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
The 32-year-old David Warner missed the IPL in 2018 due to the 12-month ban imposed on him over the ball-tampering incident. The return of Warner would be a big boost to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Warner’s IPL stats are pretty impressive. He has played for Delhi Daredevils (2009-2013) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (2014-present), and has been a pivotal member of the team throughout.
In 2016, Warner led the Sunrisers Hyderabad to their maiden IPL title. He also won the Orange Cap in 2015 and 2017. Warner has an overall IPL record of 2824 runs from 114 matches averaging 40.54 at a strike rate of 142.13.
Earlier in 2019, Warner played in the Bangladesh Premier League for the Sylhet Sixers but had to return home due to a minor elbow injury which required surgery. He is expected to be fit before the IPL.
However, most of the Australian players including Warner would have to return home for the World Cup preparations by the end of April. That means they will miss nearly half of the matches in this season.
Warner is expected to open the innings along with Wriddhiman Saha. He will be hoping to make his short stint with the Sunrisers this year a memorable one.
#2 Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals)
Jos Buttler, 28 years old, is one of the most explosive wicketkeeper-batsmen in the cricket world. He is now a permanent member of the English squad across all formats of the game, even though he bats at different positions.
In 2018, Buttler had a good international outing with an average of 51.62 in ODIs and 44.71 in Tests. In the ongoing BBL, he has had a good run with 273 runs from his 7 innings for Sydney Thunder. Right now he is a part of the England team playing the Test series in West Indies.
In the IPL Buttler has played for Mumbai Indians (2016-2017) and Rajasthan Royals (2018-present). He had mediocre outings in IPL 2016 and 2017, but in IPL 2018, Buttler scored 548 runs at an average of 54.80 while striking at 155.24. He scored five fifties in that season with a highest score of 95 not out.
In total, Buttler has scored 1075 IPL runs averaging 34.67 at a strike rate of 150.56. He is expected to open the batting with Ajinkya Rahane this year. However, he is also expected to miss the latter half of the IPL due to World Cup preparations.
#1 Chris Gayle (Kings XI Punjab)
The 39-year-old Chris Gayle is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in T20 cricket. Gayle is not so active in international cricket these days, but he has been playing in various T20 leagues across the globe. He comes in handy with his right arm off spin bowling too.
In IPL, Gayle has played for Kolkata Knight Riders (2008-2010), Royal Challengers Bangalore (2011-2017) and Kings XI Punjab (2018-present). In the past editions of IPL, he has bagged 2 Orange Caps and 1 Most Valuable Player title.
In IPL 2018, Gayle scored 368 runs from 11 matches at an average of 40.88 while striking at 146.03, which included a century and 3 fifties. He has a total of 3994 IPL runs at an average of 41.17 and strike rate of 150.71.
Gayle is expected to open the batting with KL Rahul. He will be hoping to continue his batting fireworks in this edition of the IPL too.