Shift in Jos Buttler’s approach to chasing shows evolution of T20 batting

What should be at the forefront of a batsman’s mind during a T20 run chase?

Conventional wisdom would suggest that the answer is the required run-rate, but for the world’s best players, that might not be the case anymore. Instead, batsmen are now thinking in terms of the boundary equation: how many balls do I have left, and how many boundaries do I need to hit off them?

It was a method embraced by the West Indies side that won World T20 titles in 2012 and 2016: while their opponents fretted over minimising dot balls and their speed between the wickets, West Indies focused on clearing the ropes, recognising that the risk was merited by the pay-off. Across the three tournaments between 2012 and 2016, West Indies hit 121 sixes; no other team managed 90.

And while West Indies’ own focus on six-hitting has continued, epitomised by Kieron Pollard‘s six sixes in an over off Akila Dananjaya last week, other teams and players have wised up. Jos Buttler, renowned as one of the world’s best batsmen in limited-overs chases, revealed his own mindset shift during England’s T20I series in South Africa last year.

“I’ve almost changed the way I look at T20 batting a bit from the last IPL, watching the West Indian guys who back their six-hitting a lot,” Buttler said. “So if I’m getting a bit stuck, [I’m now] looking at my score and thinking if I hit the next two balls for six, suddenly I’ll jump into a different position.”

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