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Indian Premier League 2023

India finally have a rich pool of IPL finishers and it is exactly what the national team needs

The emergence of a number of Indian youngsters in the Indian Premier League with supreme hitting skills in the death is just what the national T20I set-up needs.
Sarah Waris by Sarah Waris
@swaris16 4 minute read

The emergence of a number of Indian youngsters in the Indian Premier League with supreme hitting skills at the death is just what the national T20I set-up needs, writes Sarah Waris.

India’s talent depth has always remained enviable, but a deeper analysis will indicate a lack of middle-order options with big-hitting skills even as there has always been an overflow of opening candidates. This paucity has often left India desperate, reflected in the selection of a far-from-fit Hardik Pandya in the 2021 T20 World Cup. Pandya also had a poor IPL that year, where he averaged 14.11 with the bat and did not bowl a single delivery, and the rush to select an out-of-form injured player was questioned.

Last year, India went back to 37-year-old Dinesh Karthik for the 2022 T20 World Cup. While it was a reward for the keeper’s perseverance and hard work during the IPL, it also showed how India were short of players excelling in the finisher’s role, as the side hurriedly recalled a previously out-of-favour option a few months before a big tournament. India have also tried Deepak Hooda, a top-order batter, as a finisher in the recent past.


Since the start of 2020, India’s T20I team has been heavily reliant on the top order, with batters from Nos. 1-3 scoring 6,292 runs at a strike rate of just over 138.49 – the second-best among the top ten countries. However, often, the team has been unable to build onto the start, with the late middle-order (Nos 5-7) only striking at 136.23. That puts pressure on the top three to continue to the end – a far-from-ideal scenario in the format as wicket conservation then becomes a priority.

In the last two T20 World Cups, India’s batters from 5-7 have made runs at a strike rate of 112.25 and an average of 15.77. The lack of a final flourish with the bat has been a major reason for the side’s dismal showing, but there were also hardly any fringe players to fill in the gaps.

Move to IPL 2023, where uncapped late-order hitters are making names for themselves.

Rinku Singh is the highest run-scorer among lower-order batters in this IPL, with a strike rate over 148. A total of eight players have managed more than 100 runs at the specified positions, with a strike rate in excess of 150 – four of whom are Indians. Three are uncapped – Tilak Varma, Jitesh Sharma and Ayush Badoni, with Rinku just behind.

Batting positions are often subject to change and hence, we also take a look at the best performers in the death overs, where the pressure is at an all-time high.

Rinku, who slammed five consecutive sixes against Gujarat Titans to help his team chase down 29 in the last five balls, heads the list of the most runs made between overs 16-20 this IPL, scoring 193 runs at a strike rate of 185.58. His average of 48.25 indicates that he has been able to match consistency with big-hitting, a rare combination.

This year, eight uncapped Indian stars have a strike rate of 150+ in the last four overs of the innings, with five players also making more than 100 runs, showing how they have been doing the job consistently for their respective sides. The likes of Rahul Tewatia, Abhinav Manohar and Shahrukh Khan have not had adequate chances to impress, facing 31, 31 and 48 deliveries, respectively, but they have not disappointed when presented with chances.

Go back to IPL 2019, the last time the league was played in a home-and-away format. The only Indian late middle-order batters (5-7) to make more than 200 runs and have a strike rate in excess of 140 were Hardik and Rishabh Pant.

The batters with 100+ runs in the death and have a strike rate in excess of 150 were Pant (215 runs, SR: 236.26), Karthik (128 runs; SR: 213.33), Hardik (297 runs; SR: 196.69), MS Dhoni (268 runs; SR: 170.7) and KL Rahul (128 runs; SR: 164.10). All of them had either already played for India or were currently in the team, but there were no youngsters on the horizon. Since then, Rahul has mysteriously chosen to adopt a conservative approach, Karthik was given a go for India but failed to leave an impact, Dhoni has not played any T20Is, and Pant failed to crack the format. Hardik continues to be a part of the team, but his troubles against high-pace have seen him struggle at the death.

The influx of finishers, who have the ability to score big runs quickly without being fazed by the asking rate, is good news for the Indian team who are remedying their T20I side after the 2022 disaster. Jitesh, who was given a call-up to the squad, is also a wicketkeeper as is Dhruv Jurel. They are good options to have in the absence of Pant for the foreseeable future. With India’s hesitation to select Sanju Samson in the XI and Ishan Kishan’s inconsistencies, India can give them a look-in.

Tewatia, Rinku and Tilak are left-handers and will solve a lot of India’s issues. The lack of a left-handed option lower down the order affected India in the 2022 T20 World Cup, where the side was forced to play Axar Patel at No.7 for his batting prowess on wickets that did not suit his bowling style. It also forced Yuzvendra Chahal to sit on the bench throughout.

It would be premature to sing the praises of the upcoming finishers, and exciting candidates from the IPL have often fizzled away on the international stage in the recent past. However, the young hitters have been impressing consistently game after game for the last two seasons against the very best bowlers, standing up when their teams are in deep trouble. India suddenly have a rich reserve of finishers, something which was once a dream. Maximising the available resources, though, will be key.

To bet on the IPL with our Match Centre partners bet365, head here.

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