The T20 cricket has seen a tremendous evolution since its inception in 2003. Perhaps the biggest change in the T20 cricket came when India won the 2007 World T20 in South Africa and that gave a burst in popularity to the format in the largest market for cricket and then the Indian Premier League was born.
Since then, many T20 leagues have mushroomed all over the world, but the IPL, the BBL, and the T20 Blast remain popular given the number of international players they showcase and the quality of cricket. This format has never felt like it is reaching its saturation, but in 16 years, many players have established themselves as perhaps the pioneers of the format.
Here we are going to rate the 10 current best batsmen in the T20 format
10. Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina has been a pioneer of T20 format ever since he became the first Indian batsman to hit a century in T20I format in 2010 T20 World Cup. He has played his whole T20 career for Uttar Pradesh, India, and Chennai Super Kings and was the leading run-getter in T20s for India for a very long time. He has scored more than 350 runs in every IPL season he has played in.
Raina is a legitimate great of the 20-over format. Add his right-arm off-spin to the mix and his electrifying fielding to the mix and you have the perfect mold of what a T20 player should be. His enthusiasm is infectious on the field and the positive vibes he sends throughout the squad is something that has helped him gain love all over the world.
Raina was the first Indian batsman to hit a century in all three formats of international cricket. Though he has struggled with form and fitness for some time now, he is ready to come back into the India colors and the team can only benefit from the experience the 32-year-old brings to the table.
9. Andre Russell
Andre Russell has redefined what a finisher can do in the T20 format. The burly right-hander has 5065 runs in 306 matches in the format and also has 276 wickets to his name. He has won many of his teams matches from impossible situations with the bat and his ability to bowl at over 90 mph speeds makes him a valuable asset to whichever team he plays for.
He took the IPL 2019 by storm by scoring 510 runs at an astonishing strike rate of 204.81 with 52 sixes. He has the fastest century in CPL history and has been part of almost every T20 league in the world and despite a recent bout of injuries, has established himself as perhaps the greatest all-rounder in the history of the T20 cricket.
Russell is perhaps an amazing athlete in the field as well and hits the ball hard enough to make the inanimate thing scream for mercy. The Jamaican has become a mercenary for hire in the format and is doing his work to entertain the legion of fans.
8. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is the blueprint on whom every aspiring batsman needs to model themselves on. His range of strokeplay extends from classic cover drive to an amazing flick over midwicket. He is the highest run-getter for India in the T20 format.
He is also the highest run-getter for India in T20Is and is the only batsman to average over 50 in all three international formats. The Indian run-machine scored four centuries in one IPL season in 2016 and scored 973 runs in that tournament.
Kohli has made T20 cricket beautiful with all the classic shots being transformed into aggression but without losing the attractiveness of them. Even when he plays an odd-looking shot, it is usually an eye-pleasing one and this has made him successful and possibly an all-time great in the T20 format.
7. Alex Hales
Alex Hales recently found himself in hot soup due to him being dropped from England’s World Cup squad due to his recreational drug use. He was the first England player to make T20I hundred and first to get out on the score of 99 in the format.
Hales has been instrumental in England becoming a one-day powerhouse and his opening partnership with Jason Roy has changed the fortune of England team and Hales has amazing control over his shots over the top. Hales has played in BBL, BPL, IPL, and CPL as well in the world and has performed extremely well in most of the opportunities he has gotten.
The 6ft 5in batsman has been waiting to get an opportunity to get back into the England team and showcase his strengths on the world stage again. His T20 numbers are solid with his strike rate being 142.38 with 223 sixes and 672 fours to his name.
6. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is one of the most successful batsmen in the Indian Premier League and for Mumbai and India as well. He has 8312 runs in 318 matches with 6 centuries, out of which he has a record four tons for India in T20Is. He also holds the record for the joint-fastest century in T20 internationals- 35 balls.
He is the most successful captain in IPL history with four title wins and five wins overall. Ever since he opened for India in limited-overs, Sharma has made the most of the majority of overs he gets to bat. A wonderful cricketing mind, he has masterminded many wins for India and MI over the years and his calmness in tense situations have been lauded by everyone.
32-year-old Sharma’s is going to be one of the most sought batsmen in next year’s T20 World Cup. He can hold both anchor or go berserk right from the start and either way the opposition has a big problem on their hands, once he gets past the initial jitters.
5. Jos Buttler
England’s Jos Buttler is an excellent batsman and wicketkeeper with 5708 runs in 249 matches and 239 sixes to his name. He is yet to score a century in the format, given that he is usually asked to bat lower down the order.
However, Rajasthan Royals promoted him to open in IPL 2019 and the rest is history as they say as he got the freedom to dominate the bowlers from the word go. He has the strike rate of 144.43 and his strokeplay is full of exciting shots that have made him a must-have a player in almost every T20 leagues. This has seen him play in Bangladesh, India, Australia, and England for various franchises.
Buttler is extremely safe behind the stumps with the gloves and is an amazing leader in the team, having captained England on multiple occasions with success. The England keeper has been amongst the best in the world in the 20-over format and deserves a spot in this list.
4. Aaron Finch
Australia’s Aaron Finch is the only batsman to hit two scores of over 150 in T20 history and both came in international 20-over matches. He has the highest score in T20I history of 172, which is just 3 runs shy of Gayle’s all-time record of 175*.
Apart from this, Finch’s antics have got him 8233 T20 runs in 266 matches at a strike rate of 143.53 and has 344 sixes and 798 fours to his name. Finch is an extremely dangerous batsman in this format, given his ability to hit over the top in the first six overs. He has experience of playing for various franchises in IPL, New Zealand, England, and his home Australia.
He is an exceptional fielder anywhere in the field and has amazing captaincy skills, taking Australia to ICC World Cup 2019 semi-finals and will most likely captain the Kangaroos in 2020 T20 World Cup as well in the home. Whatever happens, Finch is considered a threat by every opposition, no matter where he plays.
3. AB de Villiers
Former South African batsman AB de Villiers rewrote the batting manual of cricket, especially the T20 version, thanks to his 360-degree strokeplay and his electrifying fielding has earned him the adoration of fans all over the world. Though he has retired from international cricket, he is still active in T20 franchise leagues.
De Villiers has 8186 runs in 295 matches with four centuries at a strike rate of 149.84 with 663 fours and 380 sixes. He is adored in India for his amazing batting for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, has played in PSL for Lahore Qalandars, in T20 Blast, the Mzansi T20 League and other tournaments.
His way of making runs all over the field makes it difficult for the bowler to set a field and bowl to a particular line. He is an exceptional fielder anywhere in the field with a dead accurate arm which hits the stumps more often than not and if necessary, can keep wickets as well.
2. Babar Azam
The only Pakistani in this list, Babar Azam has shown that you don’t need brute force in the format to become successful. A talented player with a traditional technique, Azam has been amazing the PSL since its inception and even in the T20 Blast in England. His strike rate of 124.13 may not be big by today’s standard, but it shows he can score at a good pace with minimal risk.
He is the no.1 ranked batsman in ICC T20I rankings and has been plying his trade all around the world like CPL, BPL, and other leagues apart from playing for Islamabad. Azam recently scored a century to help his T20 Blast team Somerset and everyone enjoyed the cleanliness with which he hit the ball.
You will not see the reverse hits, the ramp shots or the reverse flicks from Azam, but his cover drives and pull shots are enough to take your breath away. He is young and has a long career ahead to make the most of his talent and cement his place in the T20 format forever.
1. Chris Gayle
Only two words can explain Chris Gayle in T20 cricket is that he is the ‘Universe Boss’, as he embraced the format earlier than others. He was the first to hit a century in T20Is, first to hit two centuries in T20I World Cups and was the first to make 10,000 runs in the format.
He took IPL by storm in 2011 and never looked back, scoring 6 centuries in the league, has the highest score of 175* and has a staggering 1965 boundaries so far. Gayle is the first legit superstar of the T20s and has played in practically every T20 league in the world and has scored a century in each one of them, given that he has 22 tons.
The strike rate of the big man has been 147.20 and he legitimized how openers go about their work in the first 6 overs. The Jamaican batsman is still going strong and the two-time World T20 champion may add more runs to his kitty before hanging up his boots.
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