It is that time of the year when the T20 carnival is all set to begin with the much awaited IPL 2017 about to commence in over a week’s time. Indian Premier League, ever since its inception in 2008, has been a stepping stone for a lot of upcoming players. It provides them with an opportunity to share the dressing room with international stars and learn the finer points of the game.
The slam-bang format of the game has helped the art of batting evolve over the years. Now with shots all-round the park possible, it becomes a dreadful place for the bowlers.
Talking about shots all around the park, here are five batsmen with highest strike rates in the history of IPL, with a minimum of 1000 runs.
#5 Yusuf Pathan
The tall right-handed batsman was one of the star performers for Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition of the IPL. He smashed the then-fastest half-century of the season in just 21 balls against the Deccan Chargers. Along with his batting prowess, he is very handy with his off-spin bowling as well.
The 34-year-old was adjudged the Man of the Match in the finals of the first season against the Chennai Super Kings. In the 2010 season, Pathan was at his aggressive best as he scored a century in just 37 balls against the Mumbai Indians
In the 2011 Player Auction, he was roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders for his all-round abilities with the bat and the ball. He has since been an integral part of the Knight Riders camp. He also bettered his record and smashed the fastest fifty of the IPL in just 15 balls in the 2014 season.
In 134 matches, he has scored 2761 runs at a strike rate of 146.78, which makes him one of the most explosive batters in the tournament.
#4 Kieron Pollard
The exciting all-rounder is one of the finest players to emerge from the Caribbean islands. His hard hitting abilities made him a hot prospect for the franchises in the 2010 auction. After an intense bidding, Pollard eventually went to Mumbai Indians via a secret tie-breaker.
His performance with the bat in the 2013 finals against Chennai Super Kings helped Mumbai Indians secure their maiden IPL title. He scored an unbeaten 60 off 32 balls to help the team recover from early setbacks and reach a respectable target of 148.
Pollard has been one of the pillars of the MI setup scoring 1958 runs with a strike rate of 147.99 in 106 matches. His experience in the shortest format of the game will surely be a boon for the MI dugout.
#3 AB de Villiers
It is no surprise that the superman of world cricket features in this list. There is nothing on the cricket field which AB de Villiers cannot do. It might be his explosive and unorthodox batting, his wicket-keeping skills or his electric fielding, he is the kind of player any franchise would love to have.
In the first three editions of the tournament, the South African was part of the Delhi Daredevils batting unit. The Royal Challengers Bangalore spent 1.1 Million USD for his services in the 2011 Player Auction.
The 33-year-old has been one of the most consistent performers in the IPL with 3257 runs at a strike rate of 149.33 in 120 matches. In the 2015 edition, Mumbai Indians were at the receiving end of his explosive batting as he scored 133 in 59 balls at the Wankhede Stadium.
#2 Chris Gayle
The 37-year-old is regarded as the most destructive batsmen in world cricket. A nightmare for any bowling unit, Gayle has been one of the most prolific run-getters in the IPL with a strike rate of 153.28.
He made his debut for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2009 season and went on to play seven matches for them in the 2009 and 2010 editions. However, the franchise decided not to retain any of their players ahead of the fourth season. The player auction of 2011 sprung a huge surprise as the big-hitting West Indian went unsold.
Midway through the fourth season of the tournament, an injury opened the door for Gayle as he was named as named the replacement for Dirk Nannes in the Royal Challengers Bangalore team.
Since then, he has become a mainstay in the batting line-up of the Bengaluru outfit. In the 2013 season of the IPL, Gayle smashed his way to an unbeaten 175 from 66 balls against the Pune Warriors India. During this knock, his century in 30 balls is also the fastest hundred in the history of the tournament.
#1 Virender Sehwag
The hard-hitting former India batsman started his IPL career as the icon player of the Delhi Daredevils in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
In 104 matches, he has been instrumental in giving his team explosive starts at the top of the order and has scored 2728 runs at a strike rate of 155.44 with a highest score of 122. The Nawab of Najafgarh was bought by the Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 player auction and since then has been part of their set-up.
Post his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2015, he was appointed as their mentor for the 2016 season. The batting sensation continues to be the star post retirement with his witty comments on social media.
For the tenth edition of the tournament, he has been appointed as the head of cricket operations and strategy of Kings XI Punjab.