Battle of the Finishers: India’s Quest for the Ultimate T20 World Cup Weapon

Rishabh Pant in an IPL game against Chennai Super Kings (Credit: @rishabhpant)

For the Indian team, preparations and trials for the T20 World Cup squad look a bit different than the other teams. Right before the Indian contingent heads into the marquee event, the players have one last turn to dance with destiny and impress the selectors in the fascinating Indian Premier League (IPL). 

This time around, the search is on for a finisher that will take India over the line stylishly andaggressively, but also responsibly. There are a few names that pop up immediately, but will they make the cut Will it be Rinku Singh? Or Jitesh Sharma? Perhaps even Rishabh Pant? 


Rinku Singh – a name burned in our minds 

Some moments in cricket are far too thrilling and exhilarating to forget. One such was Rinku Singh’s explosive performance against Gujarat Titans in 2023. Five sixes that changed the game and turned fate in KKR’s favour. What was once thought a lost match was turned upside down, single-handedly by Rinku. And it wasn’t the last time the 26-year-old impressed everyone. Throughout the 2023 season, he continued his red-hot form, seriously announcing his arrival in the finishing arena. 

In IPL 2023, he scored 474 runs in 14 matches at an average of 59.25 and a strike-rate of 149.53. That earned him a spot in the Indian team, where he once again lived up to expectations. In the 15 T20Is that he has played for India, he has scored 356 runs at an average of 89.00 and a strike-rate of 176.66. But he hasn’t continued the same momentum in IPL 2024. Or rather, he hasn’t found ample opportunity to show off his finishing skills. KKR’s top order has been successful, leaving no opportunity for Rinku to come in and hit big. 


Shivam Dube

Chennai Super Kings’ Shivam Dube too has been going strong in the contest for the finishing spot. His batting style is reminiscent of Yuvraj Singh. But it’s Dube’s ability to hit big off the spinners that has caught the eye of most. In IPL 2023, the CSK batter seriously impressed with his skills as he scored 418 runs in the 16 matches that he featured in at a strike-rate of 158.33. This year, he has averaged 60.50 in contrast to last season’s 38.00, scoring at a strike-rate of 163.51. Seriously giving his contenders a run for their money. 

Although, in a game against Delhi Capitals, it was observed that when he was pushed lower down the order, he couldn’t cope with the pressure. Dube went in when his team needed 117 runs in 10 overs, but could only manage to score 17 runs off 18 balls. 


Rishabh Pant

The story of the season – Rishabh Pant’s return from an horrific accident to blazing runs in the IPL. Pant has been just as good behind the wickets as he has been in front of them. When no one expected Pant to even be able to walk, in a matter of 14 months, the 26-year-old not only returned to captaincy but also to wicket-keeping and batting. So far in the IPL, he has seriously impressed everyone with his bat, scoring 210 runs in 7 matches. We’ve all been witness to Pant’s exploits in the past, in the IPL as well as for India. So it won’t be too far off to predict Pant making a comeback in the Indian colours if he continues his form. 


Jitesh Sharma

The Vidarbha wicketkeeper-batter who was once an opener was a revelation of IPL 2022. He scored 243 runs in 12 matches at a strike-rate of 163.64. In the next edition, Jitesh again came through with the bat as he scored 309 runs in 14 matches, earning his maiden India call-up. But since his India debut, Jitesh has failed to put in performances that would create lasting memories in the minds of selectors. This year in the IPL, he has only managed to score 115 runs in 7 matches, leaving the competition for the finisher spot wide open. 


As the T20 World Cup approaches, the hunt for India’s finisher intensifies, with players like Rinku, Dube, Pant and Jitesh all vying for the ‘finisher’ spot. While Rinku’s explosive performances in previous seasons have left a lasting impression, Dube’s recent surge in form and ability to handle spinners with ease cannot be ignored. Pant’s remarkable comeback story and consistent batting prowess add another dimension to the competition, while Jitesh, despite recent struggles, still remains in contention. With the IPL serving as the final stage for these players to stake their claim, the upcoming matches will undoubtedly be filled with excitement and anticipation as fans wait to see who will emerge as India’s ultimate finisher for the T20 World Cup.