Batting Powerplay and When Teams Need to Take It
What is Batting Powerplay in the game of cricket? When must teams take the batting powerplay to benefit the most?
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Batting powerplay was recently introduced since October 2008 in the game of cricket. It started from the series between Bangladesh and New Zealand. It allows the team batting to decide the continuous range of 5 overs when the field restrictions apply. The captain informs the umpire at the beginning of the over when they wish to take the powerplay. The field restriction limits only 3 fielders to field outside the 30 yard circle during the batting powerplay.
Teams have been unable to decide when to take the batting powerplay to maximize from it. Some teams postpone taking the batting powerplay towards the end of the innings. Thus they take it from the 46th to 50th over. However at times it is not a very good decision as there are chances that very few wickets are left at the end and the tailenders are unable to take advantage of the field restriction. It can also happen that the players batting are not very aggressive and thus are unable to take advantage of the batting powerplay.
In order to score the maximum runs during a batting powerplay teams need to take it as far as possible either when the most aggressive batsmen are batting or when 2 well set players are at the crease.
For instance if Virender Sehwag or Yuvraj Singh is batting for India or if Shahid Afridi is batting for Pakistan or if Mahela Jaywardene is batting for Sri Lanka or if Ricky Ponting is batting for Australia, that is the best time for the team to take the batting powerplay as these players are attacking batsmen and can take advantage of the field restriction.
Otherwise if a partnership has build up between two batsmen and the team bowling is under pressure then the batting powerplay can be exercised to put further pressure on the bowling team. The two set players can then take calculated risk to score at a faster rate.
Other strategy which a team can apply when they have taken the batting powerplay is to send a pinch hitter who can try and take some risks. Thus if India has lost a wicket during the batting powerplay for instance, they could send in Harbajan Singh instead of following their normal batting order.
Teams sometimes try to take the batting powerplay when the 5th bowler is bowling. Teams need to consider the bowlers whom they would like to target and this also could be one of the strategies while deciding when they want to take the batting powerplay.
Teams need to target a scoring rate of say 7 to 8 runs an over during the batting powerplay. Thus it is important for the batsmen to take calculated risk and not to pressurize themselves to score boundaries of each delivery.
ICC wanted to make the middle overs interesting when they introduced the batting powerplay in the game of one day international cricket. However since most teams take the batting powerplay only towards the end of the innings that has not happened. It is also seen in many instances that the team bowling ends up taking advantage of the batting powerplay as they are able to take a couple of wickets during this block of five overs.
Teams need to consider various factors while taking the batting powerplay. Overall a team must have more than one strategy when they would like to take the batting powerplay and take it based on the match circumstances rather than waiting towards the end to take it.