Indian Premier League

IPL 2021 Special: Ranking and Rating the Openers of each Team

Punjab Kings, the team with the best set of openers as we look at the rating and ranking of openers of each team for IPL 2021. 

The openers are the go-getters in each team, or you can say the strikers in football terms. They are the ones who face the maximum number of deliveries, and more or less, the leading run-scorers in any IPL season would see the most number of players from the openers category. 

Such is the dominance of openers in the IPL that in 13 years of history, only once has the orange cap been won by a non-opener, and that is Kane Williamson in 2018. From the openers, David Warner has won the Orange cap the most number of times, three. He is followed by Chris Gayle with two and rest with one each. 

The 2021 edition of the IPL should see some really strong openers running the show. While not every opener would end up scoring huge runs, there would be a few who would end up competing for the orange cap. So, which are the top openers in each team, and how do the openers of each team stand as compared to others?

In this article, we would be rating and ranking the openers of each team for IPL 2021. In general, a team needs two solid openers, 1 good backup opener, and at least one decent backup opener. That’s how the opening combination of a team would look strong if it meets all these criteria. 


  • Openers are classified as best openers, Good backup opener, and other backup openers, and all are being rated on a scale of 10. However, for overall rating calculation, the weighted average is taken with higher weightage given to the best openers. 
  • All openers are relatively rated with respect to benchmark opener basis their last two IPL’s performance, and/or their current International and Domestic form. However, more weightage has been given to IPL performance. 
  • While any player can play an additional role as ‘other backup’, best players and good backups should have a unique set of players. Also, 6 is the least rating for any player in the squad. 

Benchmark Opener for IPL 2021: KL Rahul

Alright then, let’s look at the rating and ranking of openers of each Team for IPL 2021. 

#8: Kolkata Knight Riders – 8.31

Two Best Openers: Shubman Gill & Tim Seifert 

Good Backup Opener: Rahul Tripathi 

Other Backup Opener(s): Sunil Narine & Nitish Rana 

KKR have Shubman Gill and Tim Seifert as their two best openers. However, given their overseas players, it is unlikely that Tim Seifert would get a game unless the situation demands so. Overall, both these openers are making a name for themselves in international cricket, and thus have a rating of 8.5 and 8.25 respectively. 

Coming to good backup, KKR would have to rely upon another talented but inexperienced player, Rahul Tripathi. He has been around in IPL for a few years now, but haven’t had a compelling success as yet. Rahul has a rating of 8 as an opener. The other backup options include Nitish Rana and Sunil Narine, who have a rating of 8.5 and 7.5 respectively. 

Overall, Kolkata Knight Riders get a weighted average rating of 8.31 in the openers category.

#7: Chennai Super Kings – 8.33

Two Best Openers: Faf du Plessis & Robin Uthappa 

Good Backup Opener: Ruturaj Gaikwad

Other Backup Opener(s): Ambati Rayudu, M Jagadeesan, CH Nishaanth, Moeen Ali & Sam Curran

CSK have as many as 7 good openers in the squad, but their two best openers are Faf du Plessis and Robin Uthappa considering Ambati Rayudu and Moeen Ali are more middle-order batsmen, and are rated in that category first. Faf du Plessis is the team’s best opener with a rating of 9. Whereas Robin Uthappa, the team’s second-best opener has a rating of 8.

Coming to backups, Ruturaj Gaikwad is most-likely to open with Faf du Plessis, and he has a rating of 7.75. Ambati Rayudu is more of a middle-order batsman now, but he is good as an opener too with a rating of 8.5. The other backups, N Jagadeesan, CH Nishaanth, Moeen Ali, and Sam Curran have a rating of 6.75, 6, 8, and 7.5 respectively.

Overall, Chennai Super Kings get a weighted average rating of 8.33 in the openers category.

#6: Royal Challengers Bangalore – 8.48

Two Best Openers: Virat Kohli & Devdutt Padikkal 

Good Backup Opener: Finn Allen 

Other Backup Opener(s): Mohammed Azharuddeen

In the form of a major boost for RCB, Virat Kohli has confirmed to open for them in IPL 2021. This is certainly great news for RCB fans and cricket fans in general as it reminisces the 2016 edition of IPL where Virat Kohli ended up winning the Orange Cap after scoring a record 973 runs. While Virat opening does leave the middle-order vulnerable, it does strengthen the opening combination

Virat would open alongside Devdutt Padikkal, who himself has been in stunning form in the Domestic circuit and more importantly IPL 2020, where he finished as the leading run-scorer for RCB. Hence, Padikkal has a rating of 8.25. While Virat isn’t a regular opener, he is definitely more potent playing as an opener than in the middle-order. Hence, Virat has a rating of 9.75; second-best overall.  

RCB don’t have many backups in the openers category. Finn Allen, who replaced Joshua Philippe as the wicket-keeper opener in the squad is devoid of International and IPL experience even though his domestic form has been excellent. He has a rating of 8.25, whereas Mohd. Azharuddeen has a rating of 6.75 for his good domestic season.

Overall, Royal Challengers Bangalore get a weighted average rating of 8.48 in the openers category.

#5: Delhi Capitals – 8.69

Two Best Openers: Shikhar Dhawan & Prithvi Shaw 

Good Backup Opener: Ajinkya Rahane 

Other Backup Opener(s): Steve Smith & Marcus Stoinis

The loss of a strong middle-order batsman and their captain, Shreyas Iyer means Marcus Stoinis, who was expected to open for Delhi Capitals would now be mostly playing in the middle-order. That means DC’s two best openers are Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. Dhawan has been in scintillating form in IPL in the last few years, and has a rating of 9.5. Whereas Shaw’s rating is reduced a little to 8.25. 

Ajinkya Rahane is the team’s good backup opener with a rating of 8. He might not open for Delhi Capitals, but just in case things don’t work out well with Shaw, he can be a valuable option. The other backup openers are mostly going to play in the middle-order. Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis are good as openers, and have a rating of 8.5 and 9 respectively. 

Overall, Delhi Capitals get a weighted average rating of 8.69 in the openers category.

#4: Rajasthan Royals – 8.71

Two Best Openers: Jos Buttler & Sanju Samson

Good Backup Opener: Liam Livingstone

Other Backup Opener(s): Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra & Ben Stokes. 

In the absence of Jofra Archer, Rajasthan Royals would be itching to play either David Miller or Liam Livingstone in the playing 11 to strengthen their fragile batting line-up. Hence, it is a golden opportunity for captain Sanju Samson to lead from the front as the team’s primary opener along with Jos Buttler. Looking at their performance in the past, Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson have a rating of 9.25 and 8.75 respectively. 

Liam Livingstone is the team’s good backup option, and given this is his debut IPL season, his international and domestic appearance gets him a rating of 8.25. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Manan Vohra are the team’s other backup options with a rating of 7 each. Meanwhile, RR can also try Ben Stokes as an opener, who has a rating of 8.5.

Overall, Rajasthan Royals get a weighted average rating of 8.71 in the openers category.

#3: Sunrisers Hyderabad – 9.04

Two Best Openers: David Warner & Jonny Bairstow 

Good Backup Opener: Jason Roy

Other Backup Opener(s): Wriddhiman Saha, Sreevats Goswami, Abhishek Sharma & Kane Williamson 

SRH do have two solid openers in the form of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, but it is unlikely to see them opening together given how valuable Kane Williamson has been for them in the middle-order and how good Jason Holder has been for them as an all-rounder. Nevertheless, being the team’s best openers, David Warner and Jonny Bairstow have a rating of 9.75 and 8.75 respectively. 

Jason Roy, the team’s good back-up opener came-in as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh, who opted out due to personal reasons. He comes with good International and decent IPL experience, and has a rating of 8.5 to his name. It would be interesting to see how he fits in the playing 11 in the presence of so many strong overseas options. 

Meanwhile, Wriddhiman Saha had a short but sweet stint in IPL 2020, and that should encourage the team to open him alongside David Warner. He has a rating of 8.25. Whereas SRH’s other backups, Sreevats Goswami and Kane Williamson has a rating of 7.75 and 9.25 respectively.

Overall, Sunrisers Hyderabad get a weighted average rating of 9.02 in the openers category.

#2: Mumbai Indians – 9.08

Two Best Openers: Rohit Sharma & Quinton de Kock

Good Backup Opener: Chris Lynn

Other Backup Opener(s): Suryakmar Yadav, Ishan Kishan  & Aditya Tare 

One of the best openers to be present in a team, Mumbai Indians have five solid openers in the squad; all of whom are in stunning form and can single-handedly win matches on their own. Starting with Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock as the best openers, Quinton de Kock has a rating of 9.5 and Rohit Sharma has a rating of 9.25.

Rohit is a big brand name in the International circuit, but his IPL form in the last two years has been below-par, and thus has a slightly less rating of 9.25. Meanwhile, Chris Lynn is MI’s good back-up option, who can be utilized in case Quinton isn’t available. He has a rating of 8.5 as an opener.

Coming to other backups, MI have the dynamic duo of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav. While both are mostly going to play in the middle-order, they have all the quality to play as an opener. Coming to rating, Suryakumar has a rating of 8.75, whereas Ishan Kishan has a rating of 8.5.   

Overall, Mumbai Indians get a weighted average rating of 9.08 in the openers category.

#1: Punjab Kings – 9.17

Two Best Openers: KL Rahul & Mayank Agarwal

Good Backup Opener: Dawid Malan

Other Backup Opener(s): Chris Gayle & Prabsimran Singh 

When you have KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, and Dawid Malan in the ranks, you got to be the strongest opening contingent in the tournament. Starting with KL Rahul, who is the benchmark for all openers. KL has been the most consistent batsman in IPL and International circuit in the last 3 years, and thus has a perfect 10 rating. His deputy, Mayank Agarwal was been fabulous in IPL 2020, and has a rating of 8.75. 

Coming to backups, PBKS have World’s number 1 T20I player, Dawid Malan in the roster. It would be interesting to see how PBKS accommodate Dawid Malan as he would most likely play in the middle-order. Nevertheless, he brings a rating of 8.75 with him. Coming to other backup openers, PBKS have universe Boss, Chris Gayle, who should most-likely play at 3 like last year. He has a rating of 9 as an opener, whereas Prabsimran Singh has a rating of 6.75 as an opener 

Overall, Punjab Kings get a weighted average rating of 9.17 in the openers category; the best among all the teams. 

So, that completes the rating and ranking of openers of each team for IPL 2021. It would be interesting to see who dominates the charts in IPL 2021. 

Thanks for reading! Looking at the rating and ranking of openers for IPL 2021, which team do you think has the best set of openers? Please email your thoughts to

ALSO READ: IPL 2021 Exclusive: Ranking the Best Playing XI of all the Teams

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