The role of an opener in T20s is extremely crucial as they set the tempo for the team to put up a commanding total on the board for the bowlers to defend. With most fielders inside the circle and the new ball coming onto the bat nicely, the number of runs scored during the powerplay overs could turn out to be the deciding factor in the fate of a contest.
These circumstances make it necessary for teams to get off to a strong start and opener Mandeep Singh provided just that in KXIP's match against the Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad in the 2012 edition of the VIVO Indian Premier League. On a tough batting surface, Mandeep got stuck in, despite others struggling to capitalize on their starts, and smashed a classy 75 runs off just 48 balls that helped the team pose a challenging total of 170.
In just the second over of the contest, Mandeep stamped his authority over the innings, picking apart bowler Veer Pratap Singh for 16 runs in just four balls, the highlight of which was a classy upper cut that flew into the stands for a six. In the following over, Mandeep continued his onslaught and showed the elegant side of his game, clipping Abhishek Jhunjhunwala's delivery down to third man for a boundary.
Despite Shaun Marsh and Nitin Saini losing their wickets in quick succession, Mandeep kept scoring at an aggressive rate and made his intent clear with a big six off Amit Mishra's bowling over mid-wicket, keeping the Deccan Chargers players always chasing the game. While the rest of batting order toiled to get their timing right, Mandeep kept rotating the strike with ease and picked off any loose deliveries on offer, almost making it seem as if he was batting on a different surface altogether.
Right after David Hussey departed for a hard-fought 16 off 16 balls, Mandeep responded with two back-to-back fours off Mishra's bowling as the Deccan Chargers bowling attack failed to come up with an answer to Mandeep's assault. Veer Pratap Singh faced the brunt of Mandeep's batting masterclass as he pulled him for a six over long leg in the pacer's final over and ended his spell by smoking another loose delivery over long off for a boundary.
Batting on 75 and looking in prime form to score his maiden IPL ton, a slower full-length delivery from Ashish Reddy got the better of Mandeep, as the ball crept under his slog-sweep attempt dislodging the stump and ending an excellent inning from the batsman. A quickfire 28 from David Miller propelled KXIP to a competitive total of 170; and excellent bowling performances from Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana limited the home team to just 145 in their batting effort.
No hundred for the kid, but very well played Mandeep Singh. #IPL— Saurabh Malhotra (@MalhotraSaurabh) May 8, 2012
No player from either team managed to score over 30 runs in the contest and hence, for his innings 75 runs with the bat, Mandeep Singh was rightfully adjudged the Man of the Match.
"I'm really satisfied, as from the beginning of the tournament I wanted to stay till the 15th over, and I got the runs for the team," Mandeep summed up. "I wanted to bat normally and in the end it was good."
very easy to judge the #VWPP today. only mandeep singh really stood out. he is a fine young player.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 8, 2012