Batting in T20 cricket is largely about power-hitting and the ability to regularly knock off boundaries, although as shown in the recent T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia that there is merit in a batter anchoring the innings and exploding in the death overs when pitches are spicy and help bowlers.
When it comes to the IPL, though, where the pitches are generally flat and batting friendly – with the exception of the Chepauk surface in recent years, it is imperative for the franchises to fill as many strongmen who can clear the ropes as possible in their line-ups.
The IPL has seen most of the best T20 players in the world perform over the past 15 seasons, with several batters excelling in power-hitting across different phases of the game.
Here are the 5 most dangerous batsmen in the history of the IPL:
Arguably the greatest-ever T20 batter, Chris Gayle took the IPL by storm when he joined RCB in 2011 and finished as the Orange Cap winner for two consecutive seasons, and then in 2013, hit the highest individual score in the IPL – 175* (66) vs Pune.
Forget at his best, even during the dwindling years of his IPL career, Gayle continued to intimidate bowlers, and his wicket always remained a prized scalp for an opposition.
Gayle was not just all brawn; he was smart too: his strike rate in the IPL in the middle overs is 159, which meant he was difficult to contain in the middle phase of the match once he saw off the new ball threat. In 141 IPL innings, the left-handed Jamaican has smashed the most sixes in the IPL – 357, which is 106 sixes more than the second-best.
Another West Indian batter whose presence at the crease sent shivers down the bowlers is KKR’s, Andre Russell. The fearsome marauder of the cricket ball, Russell’s IPL strike rate of 177 is the highest strike rate in the league for all batters who have scored a minimum of 1000 runs in the IPL.
Russell, who has walloped 175 sixes in 82 IPL knocks, is one of the most dangerous batters in the death overs, as attested by his slog overs strike rate of 209 – the second-highest in the league among batters with at least 200 runs in this phase.
AB de Villiers
The South African magician who ruled the hearts of the Indians for over a decade, AB de Villiers is perhaps the most versatile batter in the history of the IPL.
ABD was a fast starter, as highlighted by his strike rate of 138 in the middle overs and then was incredibly challenging to bowl to in the death overs, where he had a strike rate of 232 – the highest in the history of the IPL for batters who scored a minimum of 200 runs in this end phase of the innings.
He was challenging to bowl to because of the freakish nature of his stroke-making and accessing parts of the ground previously not seen with such perfect and bold execution. De Villiers is, in true essence, the first-ever 360° batsman who changed the way T20 was played.
While fans do remember Virender Sehwag for his vibes factor as a daredevil opener willing to take the attack to the bowlers from the outset of his innings, there is also a great deal of statistical height that the former Delhi opener attained.
Sehwag’s phase-wise strike rate in the IPL is just astonishing: strike rate of 144 in the powerplay; 173 in the middle-overs, the highest in the IPL among batters with at least 300 runs in this period; and strike rate of 220 in the death overs. This tells the story that Sehwag didn’t let the opposition breathe at any time of the game until he was at the crease.
His overall strike rate of 155 is also the third-highest in the IPL among batters who scored a minimum of 1000 runs.
Sunil Narine is probably the most mercurial, boom-or-bust opener this league has seen. He plays his shots; either he will continue to hit boundaries or he will get out, there is no in-between that.
Gambhir and KKR unlocked Narine’s potential as an opener and created a monster at the top of the order. Narine hit his 1025 IPL runs at a strike rate of 162 – the second-highest strike rate for a batter with a minimum of 1000 runs in the IPL.
To prove his worth at the top: Narine’s strike rate of 173 in the powerplay is the highest among batters with min 200 runs in the first six overs, giving rapid starts to his side without taking up balls.
Hitting fours and sixes is the only currency in T20 cricket. Batters now even specialize in doing this job in different phases of the game; the skill set required to plunder runs in the powerplay is different from hitting the gaps and clearing the fence in the middle- and death-overs.
Who has hit the most sixes in the IPL?
Chris Gayle has sent the ball flying over the boundary rope 357 times in the IPL, which is the most in the tournament’s history.
Which batsman has the highest strike rate in the IPL?
KKR’s Andre Russell has a strike rate of 177 in the IPL, which is the highest strike rate in the league for a batter with at least 1000 runs in the IPL.