The Indian Premier League (IPL) is known for producing some of the most exciting T20 cricket matches in the world. While bowlers try various tactics and techniques to outwit the batsmen, some players have consistently dominated the bowlers through their explosive batting. Here is a look at the 10 most dangerous batsmen in the history of the IPL based on their performances, strike rates, and ability to single-handedly win matches for their teams.
10. Kieron Pollard (MI)
The big-hitting West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard has been a vital member of the Mumbai Indians team for over a decade. Known for his clean striking ability, Pollard has amassed over 3000 runs in the IPL at a strike rate of 147.32. He is also the only player to hit over 200 sixes in the tournament. Pollard’s brute strength allows him to effortlessly clear the ropes and his presence at the crease strikes fear into opposition bowlers. In the 2019 season, he smashed an unbeaten 83 off just 31 balls against CSK, the fastest fifty in the history of the IPL. At number 10, Pollard makes it to the list thanks to his consistency and match-winning abilities over the years.
9. Suresh Raina (CSK)
One of the finest T20 batsmen of all time, Suresh Raina has been Chennai Super Kings’ backbone with the bat for over a decade. Nicknamed ‘Mr. IPL’, Raina holds the record for most runs in the IPL (5528) and is the first player to score 500+ runs in five IPL seasons. A technically sound batsman, Raina is capable of scoring quickly through clever rotation of strike and an array of shots all around the ground. His highest score of 101 not out came off just 60 balls against the RCB in 2018. Raina has won countless matches for CSK with his calm yet aggressive batting and makes the list due to his consistency and big match temperament over the years.
8. Shikhar Dhawan (DC/SRH)
The aggressive left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan has been one of the most prolific run scorers in the IPL. Known for his fast starts, Dhawan holds the record for the fastest IPL century (off just 52 balls) which he scored for the Delhi Capitals in 2020. He is the only batsman to score over 500+ runs in 5 different IPL seasons. Dhawan’s attacking stroke play allows him to score quickly while his immaculate timing makes him a treat to watch. He has several IPL centuries to his name and is one of the few Indian batsmen who can dominate international-level bowling attacks in the powerplay overs. Dhawan’s ability to take the attack to the opposition early on makes him a dangerous opener in the list.
7. MS Dhoni (CSK)
The legendary MS Dhoni needs no introduction. As the CSK skipper, ‘Thala’ Dhoni has almost single-handedly won many matches for his franchise with his calm, calculated batting. While he may not score at the fastest strike rates, Dhoni is arguably the most intelligent batsman of all time in T20 cricket. He has an uncanny ability to read match situations and paces his innings accordingly. Dhoni holds the record for most IPL sixes by an Indian and is the only captain to win the IPL title multiple times (4 titles with CSK). His penchant for last-over finishes is well documented. At number 7, Dhoni makes the list due to his unparalleled match awareness and ice-cool temperament under pressure.
6. Rohit Sharma (MI)
The ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma is the most successful IPL captain of all time, having led Mumbai Indians to a record 5 titles. As an opener, Rohit strikes fear into bowlers with his effortless hitting ability all around the ground. He holds the record for most IPL centuries (5) and is the leading run scorer in the tournament with over 6000 runs. Rohit’s batting strike rate of over 130 shows his ability to score quickly. His 140 off just 113 balls against the RCB in 2013 remains the highest individual score in IPL history. Rohit has won countless matches for MI from hopeless positions thanks to his classy stroke-play. Without a doubt, he is one of the most dangerous opening batsmen in the league.
5. Andre Russell (KKR)
The muscle-bound West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell is arguably the most destructive batsman in T20 cricket history. With his monstrous hitting ability, Russell has the strength and power to clear any ground with ease. In the 2018 season, he smashed 52 sixes – the most by any batsman in a single IPL season. His strike rate of 182.8 is the highest among batsmen with over 1000 runs. Russell’s pyrotechnics at the death overs have bailed KKR out of tough situations on numerous occasions. He holds the IPL record for the fastest fifty (off just 14 balls) and his whirlwind knock of 80 from just 40 balls against RCB in 2017 epitomizes his big-hitting abilities. Without a doubt, Russell is the most dangerous power hitter in the league.
4. David Warner (DC/SRH)
The Australian opener David Warner has been one of the most consistent run scorers in the IPL over the last decade. Known for his aggressive batting, Warner holds the record for the highest individual IPL score – an unbeaten 128 against the RCB in 2017. He also holds the record for most IPL fifties (52) and is the only player to win the Orange Cap (most runs in a season) thrice. Warner’s ability to take the attack to the opposition from ball one makes him a nightmare for bowlers. His strike rate of over 140 shows his intent to score quickly. Warner almost single-handedly won the IPL title for SRH in 2016, scoring 848 runs – the most runs in a single season. Without a doubt, he is one of the most dangerous opening batsmen in the league.
3. Chris Gayle (RCB/KXIP)
The self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle is arguably the most destructive batsman of all time in limited overs cricket. With his monstrous hitting abilities, the tall West Indian batsman has struck fear into bowlers across the globe. In the IPL as well, Gayle has produced numerous match-winning performances. He holds the record for the highest individual IPL score – an unbeaten 175 against the Pune Warriors in 2013. Gayle also has the highest strike rate (151.82) among batsmen with over 1000 runs. His ability to effortlessly clear boundaries at will makes him one of the most dangerous batsmen to face in the death overs. At number 3, Gayle makes the list thanks to his big-hitting prowess and match-winning abilities over the years.
2. Virat Kohli (RCB)
The modern-day great Virat Kohli has been the most consistent run-scorer in all formats for over a decade. As the RCB skipper, Kohli’s batting has almost single-handedly carried his franchise for many years. He holds the record for the most IPL runs (6483) and is the only player with over 1000 runs in a single season, achieved a record 4 times. Kohli’s batting strike rate of over 130 shows his ability to score quickly while his highest score of 113* came off just 58 balls. His wide array of shots all around the ground and immaculate hand-eye coordination make him a treat to watch. Time and again, Kohli has won lost causes for RCB through his masterful innings. Without a doubt, he is one of the most dangerous batsmen in the league.
1. AB de Villiers (RCB)
At number one, we have the South African batting maestro AB de Villiers, arguably the greatest limited-overs batsman of all time. With his 360-degree batting abilities, de Villiers has produced numerous match-winning innings for RCB over the years. He holds the record for the fastest fifty (off just 17 balls) and hundred (off just 31 balls) in IPL history. de Villiers’ batting strike rate of over 150 is the highest among all batsmen in the IPL, a testament to his ability to effortlessly score at a rapid pace. His wide array of shots, including the famous scoop shot over the wicketkeeper’s head, make him a nightmare for opposition bowlers. On numerous occasions, de Villiers has single-handedly won seemingly lost matches for RCB through his pyrotechnics. Without a doubt, he is the most dangerous batsman in the history of the IPL.
In conclusion, while there have been many great batsmen over the years in the IPL, these 10 stand out due to their consistency, ability to change matches single-handedly, and sheer dominance over bowlers through their explosive batting. The likes of Pollard, Raina, Dhawan, Dhoni, Rohit, Russell, Warner, Gayle, Kohli and of course, the incomparable AB de Villiers have time and again