Champions League T20 has kicked off in brand fashion with Royals’ dominance at Jaipur, Mahi excitement at Ranchi, and a last over stunner delivered for Sunrisers by Thisara Perera at Mohali. Batsmen have already started waving their bats and it’s time for us to have a look at the top 10 batsmen whom the bowlers should be wary of.
Joseph Antony Burns [Brisbane Heat]
This 24 year Queenslander has been a promising young batsman for Australia for quite a while now and he is pursuing that final push in the first class cricket to catch the attention of selectors. Elegant on the eye with his pleasing batting style, Burns ended up being the second highest run-scorer for Brisbane heat in Big Bash 2012-13. Also, not to forget his breezy 27-ball 43 run contribution in the final which saw Brisbane Heat triumph.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Chennai Super Kings]
Dhoni, the captain cool and Jharkhand powerhouse, is yet to deliver a series winning performance in T20 tournaments. Although he holds a record for the only captain to have contributed 300+ runs in all IPL seasons, one can sense the absence in T20 matches of such consistent dominance that Dhoni delivers in the ODI format. Chennai Super Kings, buoyed by the proud possession of batting superstars like Mike Hussey and Suresh Raina, shall hope that the Mahi-copter lands every night at CLT20!
Sanju Samson [Rajasthan Royals]
Sanju Vishwanath Samson, the 18 year old Keralite, has emerged onto the international scenario in IPL 2013. His composure and sense for the pulse of the game are quite commendable for a teenager. One should admit that he had earned that spot at No.3 ahead of Shane Watson, for his presence seems to invariably settle the innings for Royals during the mid course of the game. Growing from strength to strength, Sanju Samson is definitely a prospect for the future. Hoping for more from the youngest batsman to score 50+ in IPL and CLT20!
Rohit Sharma [Mumbai Indians]
This bloke reminds me a lot of Brian Lara in the ease with which he faces up to the fiercest of the pace bowlers around the world. His talent hasn’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet! Inspired by his leadership, Mumbai Indians have tasted the first fruit at home in IPL 2013 when they have taken the mighty Chennai Super Kings down. Captaincy seems to have brought a sense of responsibility in Rohit Sharma and one can’t help wonder if his success at international scenario also needs a similar pattern to follow. Above all, it is an absolute treat to watch when Rohit effortlessly caresses the ball all across the park both on front and back foot. Long Live Rohit!
Alviro Petersen [Lions]
32 year old Alviro Petersen, the regular in South African international colors, is widely known for his cover drives and onside flicks and glances. While recent form with the bat for South Africa has left a lot to be desired, the Lions would be hoping that their leader comes to the party along with the veteran Neil McKenzie and young wicket keeper Quinton de Kock. His dominance and persistence at the top is key if the Lions are to triumph.
Brendon McCullum [Otago]
What can one say about this 27 year old Otago born wicket keeper batsman. Scintillating in his ground strokes and sharp in hand eye coordination, McCullum is one of a kind wicket keeper batsman. One might opine that Brendon has under achieved for Newzealand, but he appears to be emerging with time. Shedding gloves was one such statement to the Newzealand cricket that he was there to pile runs for the team. Cricket lovers in India should be yearning for those blistering performances from his bat, which has set the roof off in Bangalore during the inaugural edition of IPL in 2008.
Shikhar Dhawan [Sunrisers Hyderabad]
Shikhar, the mustache man, has been making quite a talk in India. He has burst into the international scene with his donning performances with bat for India in longer and LOI formats. He has followed that with good form in IPL 2013 as well, indicating that his motivation for runs is as good in franchise colors as in Indian colors. For a change, he shall be under the pump of a pressure called captaincy. Though his performances as captain and batsman in the qualifiers has sent a strong message to the contenders in the CLT20, it remains interesting to be seen if he can hit that magical mixture all batman-captains struggle to attain.
AB DeVilliers [The Ultimate Titans]
It is widely believed that this man, Abraham Benjamin DeVilliers, can smack Dale Steyn for a six in sleeping posture! While some of that could be an exaggeration, don’t be surprised if he actually manages to pull it off one day in this edition of CLT20. Being one of the few talented and complete players around, it is hard to think of a bamboozling pitch, scaring bowler, overwhelming boundary, impenetrable field placement, assured audience and an off day when AB DeVlliers is at the crease.
SC salutes two modern game champions…
Misbah-ul-Haq [Faisalabad Wolves]
Well this was an easy pick, wasn’t it? Misbah has been in prime form heading into CLT20 league matches with blistering knocks that saw his Wolf pack gain respect in the qualifying group. Authentic stroke making ability, all round game gelled with a sensible, calculative approach is a perfect combination a batsman can seek in a T20 format, where a calm head is as precious as adrenaline rush. Wolves are lucky to have an alpha wolf, that is Misbah!
Kumar Sangakkara [Kandurata Maroons]
Sangakkara is arguably the best all-format-batsman Sri Lanka has ever produced. He was visibly raring to do well for the Maroons, after his commitment towards Lankan franchise had been questioned by the SLC Board in sarcastically allowing Sanga to choose a side of his own for CLT20 2013. He was alive when Maroons have taken on his IPL home team Sunrisers, but had to lose it eventually to a mustache man in a captain-dominated game. With the support of another run machine in Upul Tharanga, Sangakkara would be dearly loving to lift the CLT20 trophy for Kandurata one day.