Powerplay dilemma to haunt World Cup captains

World cup

Batting powerplay can be a double-edged sword and the popular perception is that the captains will need to handle it with care in the World Cup.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), in its bid to spice up the 50-over version, currently allows fielding restrictions for 20 overs in an innings, which is divided into three blocks.

The first 10 overs in each innings allow just two fielders outside the 30-yard circle while captains are allowed to have three fielders outside during the other two blocks of five overs each -- termed bowling and batting powerplays.

On the subcontinent wickets, the powerplay overs can turn out to be a deciding factor during the World Cup and batsmen, eager to take advantage of fielding restrictions, have to guard against recklessness.

The powerplays are going to be very crucial in this World Cup. It can prove to be the difference, former Indian opener and commentator Arun Lal told Reuters.

Captains have often struggled with the timing of the batting powerplay and teams have lost wickets in a heap to fall short of desired totals in the end.

Even now teams don't know when to take it. It is a double-edged sword, Lal said.

Many times it backfires on you and you actually play into the hands of the opposition.

It's a difficult thing to master and I haven't seen lot of teams being able to decide when exactly to take it.

The captains mostly prefer to take the bowling one straight after the mandatory first 10 overs of powerplay to take advantage of the hardness of the new ball.

But the jury is out on the ideal time to take batting powerplay.

A lot of teams have waited till the end to opt for the five-over restrictions and some have taken it immediately after the mandatory change of the ball in the 34th over.

... contd.

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