Cricket Stats

KL Rahul as Opener vs Middle-order ODI Stats Comparison

KL Rahul as an Opener vs as a middle-order ODI batter brings for an interesting stats comparison. 

With India playing the Zimbabwe ODI series from August 18, the biggest conundrum that India would face is the position at which KL Rahul bats. Team India’s Captain, KL Rahul is one of the few players across the teams to have adapted his game for Middle-order and opening position.

KL Rahul began as an opener in ODIs in 2016, but since then has been used as an opener and in the middle-order. While KL Rahul has played as an opener whenever Rohit or Dhawan wasn’t there, he has played in the middle-order otherwise. 

In the last two years, KL Rahul has been seen playing in the middle-order. But the last time he captained India in the South Africa ODI series, he surprisingly decided to open. With RO and SD as confirmed openers for the World Cup 2023, should KL Rahul continue to open or play at his usual position?

We may not know what KL Rahul and management are thinking, but the answer may also lie in the stats. So, in this article, we do the ODI stats comparison for KL Rahul as an Opener vs as a middle-order batter.

KL Rahul as Opener in ODIs

Inns: 21 // Runs: 884 // Avg: 46.5 // SR: 80.6 // Hs: 111 // 50+: 9 // Consistency: 47.6% 

KL Rahul as an opener has been a decent batter. He has scored 884 runs from 21 innings at an average of 46.5. But what concerns the most is KL Rahul’s strike rate. It won’t be rude to say, but KL Rahul’s strike rate of 80.6 as an opener in ODIs is poor.

KL Rahul is a slow starter in ODIs, and the knocks where he has scored less than 50 runs, his strike rate drops to just 63.6; shockingly low. Interestingly, KL Rahul has 3 centuries to his name, but none of his centuries has come at a strike rate of 100+. In fact, KL Rahul has never scored at a strike rate of 100+ as an opener in ODIs.  

KL Rahul in Middle-order in ODIs

Inns: 20 // Runs: 750 // Avg: 46.9 // SR: 100.4 // Hs: 112 // 50+: 6 // Consistency: 44.4% 

Comparing his performance in Middle-order vs as Opener, the results are quite different. He has played a similar number of innings in the middle-order. In that, he has scored 750 runs at a similar average of 46.9. But what separates his performance in Middle-order vs as opener is his strike rate. 

He has scored 750 runs at a strike rate of 100.4; that’s 24.6% more than his strike rate as an opener. In addition, all his 50+ scores have come at a strike rate of 90+ with all his 4 fifties coming at a strike rate of 100+. 

So, having seen the stats, one thing is clear. KL Rahul is a far better player when he plays in the middle-order in ODIs. With ODI World Cup 2023 approaching soon, RO and SD are almost our confirmed openers. So, should KL Rahul play in the middle-order or as an Opener for the Zimbabwe tour?

Thanks for reading! Looking at KL Rahul stats in ODIs, which position should he bat? Opener or Middle-order? Please email your thoughts to

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Adesh Kothari

Adesh is an author at Cric8fanatic with over 20 years of experience following Cricket. Cricket to him is like what 'Football is to Lionel Messi', 'Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar', 'Dancing is to Michael Jackson', and what 'Acting is to Clint Eastwood'. Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.