It’s been more than a fortnight since the IPL auction ended. As many as 62 players were bought in the auction which included 29 overseas stars as well. While bowlers were in hot demand but opening batsmen weren’t too far behind.
There were quite a few openers picked in the auction this time. All teams have decent openers in their ranks and there might be multiple combinations they can have. However, there will be one set opening combination that they will start with and back them for the first few games.
Here we predict the opening combination of all teams in the IPL 2020:
RCB – Parthiv Patel, Aaron Finch
In the auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) made some very promising buys. They bought three batsmen, including a couple of Australians and both of them are openers. Josh Phillipe and Aaron Finch were those purchases. Meanwhile, they also have the likes of Devdutt Padikkal and Parthiv Patel in their ranks and Virat Kohli has also opened the batting in the past.
However, for now, it looks like Finch and Patel might walk out to open the batting. Patel is the only recognised Indian wicket-keeper and hence, he is likely to start in the XI. Moreover, he was very good in the 2019 IPL. The Gujarat left-hander was the third-highest run-getter for RCB as he made 373 runs at a strike-rate of 139.17.
On the other hand, Finch is a gun T20 player. He is an experienced player and has a career T20 strike-rate of 143.68. In fact, Finch can take some pressure off Kohli and AB de Villiers and be that change in the RCB camp.
CSK – Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis
For the last couple of seasons, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been going in with a set opening combination. They did have Ambati Rayudu open along with Shane Watson in 2018 when Faf du Plessis wasn’t around. However, in 2019, it was du Plessis and Watson who opened in most games.
It will most likely be the same in 2020 as well. If both of them are fit and available, the experienced duo is likely to open the batting for CSK. The South African skipper was CSK’s second-best batsman after MS Dhoni last year. He scored 396 runs at an average of 36.00 in 12 innings. Meanwhile, Watson blew hot and cold throughout the season.
Moreover, both of them are big-match players and have stepped up when CSK were in trouble as well. Hence, CSK are likely to continue to trust them at the top of the order.
SRH – David Warner, Jonny Bairstow
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) probably have the most destructive opening pair in the tournament. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow form a potent pair and they were simply brilliant individually as well last year. In fact, no other pair came close to matching their record.
Warner smashed 692 runs and ran away with the Orange Cap. Bairstow played just 10 games and yet scored 445 runs. Be the averages, the strike-rates and the big scores, the Warner-Bairstow partnership had everything. As a pair, they smoked four hundred-run partnerships.
Overall, they aggregated for more than 70% of the runs that SRH scored. They were one of the big reasons why the Orange Army qualified for the playoffs as well. A blistering start at the top was almost a guarantee. This year would be no different and the Warner-Bairstow duo are set to open again for SRH.
KXIP – Chris Gayle, KL Rahul
If there is one team that matches Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on the opening front as far as firepower is concerned, then it is Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). In Chris Gayle and KL Rahul, they have a dynamic and destructive opening pair. Both of them can single-handedly win games for KXIP.
In fact, Rahul and Gayle have been the two most consistent players for Punjab over the last couple of years. No other player is even close to their run tally. Rahul has amassed 1252 runs at an average of 54.43 and a strike-rate of 146.60. At the same time, the Universe Boss averages 40.86 while scoring 858 runs which have come at a strike-rate 150.26.
Thus, the Gayle-Rahul pair will continue to open this year as well. They are two of the biggest match-winners in the KXIP ranks and will be crucial to their fortunes in the upcoming season as well.
DC – Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan
Delhi Capitals (DC) have quite a few options up their sleeve. They have as many as six players who open the batting regularly in T20 cricket. They have the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Jason Roy, Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis in their ranks. However, like last year, Delhi might opt for an all-Indian opening pair.
But that won’t be an easy choice either. They have brought in Rahane through the trading window and that makes things very interesting. Dhawan and Shaw opened last year. While Dhawan was solid as he got 521 runs at the top of the order, Shaw blew hot and cold (353 runs in the season).
With Rahane’s inclusion, it will be interesting to see whom they opt for. Will it be the experienced Rahane or the flamboyance of young Prithvi Shaw? It may just be the latter as Delhi might look to go all guns blazing at the top and have Rahane at 3 and Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant to follow. This might be the batting order DC might go in with.
MI – Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma
Before the 2019 season, Quinton de Kock’s trade might’ve been the best thing that has happened to the Mumbai Indians (MI). The South African stumper was traded away by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and MI gleefully accepted the deal. He was brilliant last season as he amassed 529 runs and was MI’s best batsman of the tournament.
De Kock opened the batting with Rohit Sharma who generally prefers to bat down at 3 or 4. However, he decided to open last season and it may well continue this year as well. Despite not having an outstanding tournament, the MI skipper scored 405 runs and threatened to score big every time. Rohit is one player who can turn the game on its head in no time irrespective of the situation.
Thus, de Kock and Rohit combined well last season and look set to continue this year as well. However, MI might just have a temptation to open with Chris Lynn who has been in destructive form. If that happens, Rohit might drop down but that can also affect the balance of the side and thus, the Rohit-de Kock combo might open.
RR – Jos Buttler, Robin Uthappa
Last season, there was one problem for Rajasthan Royals (RR). Everyone wanted to bat in the top four. The likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith and even Ben Stokes. However, a couple of them have been left out and a couple of interesting choices have been made. All the batsmen RR picked in this auction were top-order players.
Robin Uthappa and Yashasvi Jaiswal are openers as well and RR are once again going to have a headache handling their top four. While Buttler is fixed, there might be a toss-up between Uthappa and Jaiswal. Uthappa hasn’t had the best of times in the recent past while Jaiswal is a rising star and has been very impressive.
However, RR might just go with the experience of Uthappa at the start of the tournament. Buttler might go all out and Uthappa will play second fiddle. It looks like an interesting matchup and it’ll be intriguing to see the Buttler-Uthappa pair open for RR in the 2020 season of the IPL.
KKR – Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi
For the last couple of years, it was Chris Lynn doing all the talking at the top of the order for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). He had Sunil Narine for the most part of it but halfway through the 2019 season, KKR realised Shubman Gill is too good a player to be kept in the middle-order. Hence, he was moved up and it worked as well.
However, with Lynn not with KKR anymore and the Narine experiment finally over, KKR will likely have a new opening combination this time around. Gill who scored 296 runs and was impressive last year is almost confirmed to open. However, there might be a slight debate over his opening partner. There is Tom Banton but if he plays, it means that Eoin Morgan might have to sit out with Narine, Andre Russell and Pat Cummins likely to fill in the other three overseas slots.
Thus, Rahul Tripathi could be the one opening with Gill. He caught everybody’s eye in 2017 with his stroke-filled batting and consistency. However, since then, Tripathi has never had a fixed batting position and has largely played in the middle. Thus, the Maharashtra player could be batting at the top and it could well bring the best out of him as well.
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.
- Aaron Finch names three cricketers who can replace David Warner in third ODI against India
- IPL 2020: Reason why SRH dropped Jonny Bairstow from the playing XI against DC
- IPL 2020: Match 22, SRH vs KXIP – Match Impact Ratings
- Cricketing Trends on Social Media Today
- India vs Australia, 2020: 1st ODI – Australia’s big chase without losing a wicket, Warner’s record hundred, Finch-Warner pair records and more stats