T20 cricket is close to celebrating its 20th anniversary. Over the past two decades the format has caught the imagination of the cricketing world, providing wonderful entertainment, close matches and giving rise to the Indian Premier League and a load of other great domestic franchise tournaments, plus producing some extremely exciting World Cups.
But from among the batsmen, who has really stood out? Who has scored mountains of runs, who has done so in style and who has taken T20 batting to another level?
There’s only one place to start when it comes to T20 batting and it’s with the Universe Boss himself. Let’s bat!
With his bulging biceps, huge bat and love of hitting sixes, this is a format that was just made for West Indies legend and 10CRIC Ambassador, Chris Gayle.
While other players were trying to work out how to go about batting in T20, Gayle already seemed to have it all worked out. Very good balls were defended with respect or left alone while anything wide, too short or too full was always going to disappear. It was this approach that allowed Gayle to hit over 14,500 runs in all T20 cricket, almost 3000 more than anyone else.
He’s played in just about every T20 league in the world and won two World Cups with the West Indies. Along the way Gayle struck an extraordinary 22 centuries, 88 fifties and has smashed over a thousand sixes; the centuries and sixes are both world records.
We may not see so much more of Chris Gayle anymore, but it was certainly great while it lasted.
While Gayle is the ultimate opener, Pollard is the deadly finisher.
Fellow West Indian Pollard is cut from the same cloth as Gayle: also a huge man with unbelievable power, he also believes that boundary hitting is the way to go in T20 cricket and no ground is big enough for Pollard when he gets going. But whereas many batsmen like to slog hard and hope for the best, Pollard has an extremely solid technique based on keeping still and very often hitting straight.
Whereas Gayle is the ultimate opener, Pollard is the deadly finisher. Usually batting at five or six, he’s particularly dangerous in the death overs when the field is spread and desperately trying to cut off boundaries. Where he’s particularly good is at getting the job done, especially with a target in sight batting second. Pollard has a great knack for accelerating at the end and knowing exactly when to fire.
With over 11,0000 runs to his name, Kieron Pollard is the third highest scorer in T20 cricket, and like Gayle, has played all around the world.
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AB de Villiers (Mr 360′)
Not boasting quite the same natural power as the first two, AB de Villiers needed to find other ways to score as quickly as some of the world’s other great batsmen.
Rather than trying to bulk up his body to hit the ball further and harder, de Villiers worked out that the key was to score in as many areas of the ground as possible. And for the last two decades, he did. Whether it was classic cover drives, big straight drives down the ground, cuts through point or flicks through midwicket, de Villiers scored runs in just about every area of every cricket field. And that included playing a series of innovative shots like scoops over his head or outrageous reverse sweeps for six.
That all led to him being nicknamed ‘Mr 360’ for his talent to score 360 degrees around the ground. He was an absolute legend at the Royal Challengers Bangalore – in many ways even better and more popular in the eyes of RCB fans than Virat Kohli himself.
AB de Villiers never won the IPL with RCB and often playing for good, but not brilliant South African sides, he didn’t get much joy at World Cups, either. But in his pomp and when in the mood, there were few better to watch.
Most runs scored in ICC T20 World Cup 2021
Azam is way down the list for most T20 runs compared to some of the other names here. But that’s for two good reasons.
- First, he’s still only 27 whereas the likes of Gayle is over 40 and Pollard is 34. Meaning he hasn’t played for nearly as long as them.
- Second, Azam doesn’t play IPL (he’s not allowed to as a Pakistani player) nor does he play in other franchise leagues round the world.
Babar Azam plays less T20, but the record books don’t lie. His average is 45.17 in T20Is and 45.16 in domestic T20 which is superb, and he’s hit seven centuries in total.
The curious thing about his batting is that at times it looks like he’s in Test match mode. Not in terms of strike rate but in terms of his shot selection, with classic shots played with a straight bat always preferred to ugly hoicks and aerial shots. Azam is a good example of scoring quickly while taking little or no risks.
Was Top Scorer at the 2021 World Cup, proof of how heavily he scores, even on the biggest stages.
Sharma has done it all and won it all in T20 cricket. One of the most prolific T20 batsmen out there.
He was part of the India team that won the inaugural World Cup, then playing mostly as a middle-order batsman. He was also part of the Deccan Chargers side who won the 2009 IPL, before going to captain Mumbai to a record four IPL titles.
But Rohit Sharma hasn’t just been on winning teams, he’s been one of the most prolific T20 batsmen out there. Like Pollard, he’s a beautiful timer of the ball and it’s vey often that, rather than power, that causes the ball to sail over the boundary so nicely. But he’s also strong at rotating the strike and knowing where to find gaps. All of which has contributed to him scoring a remarkable four T20I centuries, to go with six at domestic level.
Rohit Sharma is currently third for most IPL runs and with at least three or four more years left in him, could well be top of the charts by the time he hangs up his bat.
T20 cricket is the most fun format of the game thanks to all the greatest T20 batsmen out there. Stay tuned for our exciting batting contests coming up soon! Then get ready to face off 10CRIC’s exclusive Telegram quiz and grab one of our exclusive prizes! Subscribe to our Telegram channel now!
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