LAHORE-One of the most crucial aspects in T20 cricket is to start strongly as gaining an early momentum in an innings that spans only 20 overs often provides an upper hand over opposition.
Whether it has been Test cricket or ODIs, the openers have always had their work cut out as they are required to provide solid platforms to those next in the batting order. T20 cricket has added a layer of difficulty as the format demands the runs to be scored at a brisk rate all the while ensuring the wickets stay intact in the Powerplay.
As the T20 format continues to evolve, there are various methods and philosophies opening batters have deployed to deliver the goods for their sides. PCB Digital spoke to Fakhar Zaman, Muhammad Haris and Sharjeel Khan. The three batters have established themselves as attacking openers and will be in action in the PSL 8, which commences on February 13 in Multan.
Fakhar, whose 73 are the most sixes behind Islamabad United’s Asif Ali’s 79, said: “As an opener, I try to exploit the opening six overs as there are gaps with two fielders outside the 30-yard circle. I try to go for boundaries from the very first ball and make the most of the good balls by rotating the strike. I think having an attacking mindset is of the utmost important. The approach usually differs in the second innings as you are going after a target. So I will try to give my best in the PSL 8.”
Haris, who turns 22 on 30 March, said: “It is very important to anticipate so I am continuously reading the fields. I see which two fielders are outside the circle and that helps me predict what two to three balls the bowler is looking to deliver and that is how I plan my shots. Thankfully, the success rate to date is around 80 percent for me. “You need a strong and solid technique to be aggressive and attack the bowler. For me it is about dominating the bowler no matter who he is.”
Sharjeel, who since his return to the PSL in 2020 has been in Karachi Kings, said: “I believe 70 to 80 percent of the match is defined by how the first six overs go. What I have learned over the years that a team which has the most boundaries wins the match, so I try to milk the first six overs. “I am also looking to lay a solid platform for my side and if I continue to bat after the completion of the first six overs then I look to make sure that I carry that momentum.”
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