What’s batting order (top, middle & lower order) does it matter & how to determine it in cricket?

In this article lets take a look at what batting order is in cricket and what is the difference between top order, middle order and lower order batsmen and whether batting order matters in cricket and how to determine it in detail.

This is the most comprehensive guide you can find related to batting order on the internet.

So without further ado lets get started

What is batting order & How does the batting order work in cricket?

In cricket, the batting order is the sequence in which batters play through their team’s innings, there always being two batters taking part at any one time. All eleven players in a team are required to bat if the innings is completed (i.e., if the innings does not close early due to a declaration or other factor in test cricket or the team has chased the target fast in second innings).

What is top order middle order and lower order in cricket?

To summarise it in simple words the basic meaning of all the terms of batting order is, the top order of cricket is first 1-3 batsman of the team and first & second batsman are called openers because they will open the innings of the team and the middle order comprises from 4 to 7 which will usually include any all rounder or any wicket keeper of the team & Lower order comprises from 8 to 11 and in this section of lower order it is only bowlers who will be listed.

For the sake of better understanding let’s take a look at an example of Indian cricket team and we will take a look at the Limited overs which is one day international cricket team of India at present.

  1. Rohit Sharma
  2. Shikhar Dhawan
  3. Virat Kohli
  4. Shreyas Iyer
  5. Rishabh pant
  6. Surya Kumar Yadav
  7. Shardul Thakur
  8. Ravindra Jadeja
  9. Mohammed Shami
  10. Jasprit bumrah
  11. Yuzvendra chahal

As you can clearly see in the above playing 11 of Indian cricket team of ODI matches the top 3 batsman who are Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are called openers because they will open the innings of the match from team India side and Virat Kohli is batting at Number 3 in the batting order and Iyer bats at 4 and so on so forth and the lower order players are called tailenders because they are the tail of any cricket team

The top 3 batsman are called top order batsman and starting from 4-7 are called a middle order batsman and this is where we have Rishabh pant who is a wicketkeeper of team India and shardul Thakur who is the all rounder of the team, and from 8 to 11 we have lower order batsman including all rounder Ravindra Jadeja and bowlers.

I hope now it makes sense for you of all the differences between top order middle order and lower order batsman in the cricket team.

It is very important to know that number 3 number 4 and number 5 batsman are most important in any cricket team apart from the openers because even if the openers lose the wicket in the initial stages of the game, the middle order batsman has to take the responsibility and not only manage innings, settle themselves on

The wicket but also have to take the innings forward and score runs in Limited overs format of the game and bowlers are selected in the lower order starting from 8 to 11 number because they have more specialisation of bowling compared to batting and they are not expected to score many runs and all the runs they score are considered bonus so they will be included down the order so that the best batsman in the team can play in the starting and most overs in the game to score maximum runs as possible.

A lower order batsman will often see themselves tasked with forming a partnership with a top/middle order player as they work their way towards a big score, so the lower order player’s main responsibility will be to remain at the crease.

The positions and batting order of players in Cricket is based upon best to average batting ability of the players in the team and playing at number 3,4,5 have the best batting ability in the team because they will be usually attacking in nature & crucial in any team.

Does batting order matter in cricket?

If I have to answer this question in simple words then I would say, YES, batting order definitely matters a lot in cricket.

Having the right players in the right positions in the order gives a batting side the best chance of constructing a strong innings, score high runs, and set the right target or chase the runs in second innings & win not just single matches or series but tournaments.

Let’s take a look at Test cricket for example, during the start of innings on day one in the test cricket because the ball which is used is red ball and it is fresh and hard so the red ball will usually swing and seam more on the day one because of hardness, because of this, the opening batsmen who are 1 & 2 of the opponent team has to have a good defence technique, disciplined, they must be able to play the ball which is swinging in the air and they also need to be a lot patient, determined, they should control their natural shots and leave the ball consistently in the first 10 to 15 overs of day one of the test match.

  • Click here to read why test match is so difficult but best format of the game in detail

In this case, because there are different kind of conditions such as ball is swinging In the air and there will be some help from the pitch like bounce then the batsman will have to adapt quickly so opening the innings of the test match requires different skill set compared to batting at number 4 or 5 because at that period the ball becomes a lot softer and there will be less help from the pitch so batting gets easy.

Correct batting order and sequence of players is very important in order to score good runs and win matches.

And it is also important to notice that the batting order & what player will play at what number in the team will depend upon the format of the game for example in Test cricket the batting order will be totally different and there will be different players in test team compared to ODI and T20 game.

For example, in test team the openers of the batting side will be a lot more patient and conservative and they will have strong defence technique because the ball will be moving a lot more in the air, there are plenty of over available to score runs and test game is a lot more difficult because

it is very long but when it comes to limited-overs of the game such as T20 because there are only 20 overs to play for both the team’s the opening batsman will focus less on defensive and, try to capitalise and score more runs in the 1st power play.

At the same time batting order is also very important for example in Test cricket, if wrong type of players who are more attacking and less patient and conservative starts to play at top order then it is more likely that wickets will fall faster even though there is more chances of getting runs and when one or two wickets fall faster in the initial stages and

the openers get bowled out of the game then the middle order batsman will have to struggle in order to settle on the wicket and also face the new ball which is swinging in the air, and middle order batsman will usually have more attacking nature so they would try to hit shots or miss time the ball and get caught & lose their wicket and this can affect in scoring few runs in the first innings of the test match which can hurt the team while playing the second innings and set a challenging score for the opponent team in the second innings.

This is the reason why correct batting order is very important so that the right batsman will play at the right situation which can help team score more runs and move forward and also win matches.

In my opinion batting order can make or break the team and chances of victory or defeat because in batting order strengths and weaknesses of players will be considered and the players can get a chance to play with their strengths to get best potential out.

How to determine & decide batting order in cricket?

To answer it in brief words,

The batting order in cricket is determined and decided by the captain and head coach of the team considering various factors.

And the decision of whether a batsman will bat at number 3 or 5 or in the top order will be taken largely by the captain and head coach along with the player after a lot of discussions and detailed analysis of the players skills and abilities.


For example Virat Kohli is one of the most destructive and most aggressive batsman you can find in the 21st century in cricket but he only likes to play at Number 3 in the Limited overs format like ODI and T20 because he is more aggressive and attacking batsman and has less defensive technique whereas


Dean Elgar who’s opening Batsman and captain of South Africa test cricket team bats At number 2 for South African cricket because he is more defensive and very less aggressive and he has more patient batsmen, controls his natural shots,  and is an opener.

This is to let you know that the decision of batting order and whether a batsman will play at a particular number will be decided by the captain, head coach and batting coach along with the players ability, keeping in mind the various factors of the game such as format of the game, records of the batsman against any bowler, bowlers bowling in the game, etc

Can you change the batting order in cricket match?

Of course, yes, the team has all the rights and liberty to change the batting order at any time in the cricket match and let me give you one Epic instance where the batting order has been changed during the Match which has been a remarkable moment for millions of people.

In 2011 World Cup final match between India and Sri Lanka which was hosted in the wankedhe stadium located in Mumbai of India, Sri Lankan team had won the toss and elected to bat first and they have set the target of 274 runs after playing 50 overs and losing 6 wickets and

team India had to start the second innings, chase & score 275 runs to win the match and win the World Cup but after the fall of 3rd wicket, Yuvraj Singh who was the number 4 batsman of team India (and probably best all rounder in the international cricket at that time) had to play but


MS Dhoni who was the captain of the Indian cricket team who was leading the team in 2011 World Cup promoted himself to bat at number 4 over Yuvraj Singh because of a few reasons like there was a lot of pressure of runs at that moment and

it was a critical moment of the match because muththaiya Muralitharan who was the top spinner of the opponent team started his spell of bowling but fortunately MS Dhoni had faced against the spinner a lot in the IPL franchise in nets because both of them were playing under the same franchise of CSK so Dhoni has promoted himself and it was a big turning point which no one expected but resulted in the victory of the match and India has won its second world cup in 2011 under the leadership of MS Dhoni and Dhoni had scored over 91 runs out of 79 deliveries was also selected as man of the match in the final of World Cup.

This is important for you to know that it is also very often in batting side of the team to frequently change the batting order depending upon the conditions, situation of the game, the bowlers bowling and if you frequently watch test cricket in your television then you must have noticed that during the end of day in last hour or half an hour of the test match,

fast bowlers come out to bat especially in the second innings of the match over the other batsmen and they are called night watchman and they do this in order to end the day game & obviously the wicket of pure batsmen is more valuable for batting side so that he can score more runs in the next day match over that of a batsmen who is a bowler.

The batting order of the team will also change if the player gets injured or hurt, or the openers of the batting side lose their wicket early in the match like in Test cricket then the senior most cricketer will come out to bat and

there will be change in batting order so that the senior player can use his experience to absorb the pressure and build any partnership with other players and take the innings forward, & batting order will change when the openners build incredible partnership and the Innings will come to an end then at end of innings attacking batsman will be promoted to score more runs if there are plenty of the wickets left in the team.

& It is good for the batting side if one of the two batsmen currently batting is right-handed, and the other left-handed. This makes it more difficult for bowlers to settle into a constant rhythm of line, as they have to keep changing their line every time the batsmen swap ends. For this reason, captains occasionally make small changes in the batting order to ensure the incoming batsman will form a right/left combination with the not out batsman

With that said let’s end the article.


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