10 most destructive batsmen in IPL 2015
Five of the 10 most destructive batsmen in IPL 2015 (from left): AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag, Brendon McCullum and Glenn Maxwell

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has seen numerous batsmen set the stage alight with their mastery. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks the 10 most dangerous batsmen in the IPL 2015 and explains why they are the most feared in the tournament. Some of them may not yet have shown their explosive class thus far in the tournament, but such is their reputation, that they send a chill down the bowlers’ spine when they are at the crease in a T20 game.

The 10 in no particular order:

 

1:  VirenderSehwag

Sehwag

VirenderSehwag plays his game irrespective of the format. A true mark of his greatness is the way he approached Test cricket. In a format where batsmen take time to settle down, he has an astonishing strike-rate over 80, spread over 104 Tests. His strike-rate in IPL is a staggering 156.31 in 100 matches. Although his average of 28.66 indicates that he hasn’t been very consistent, he can win a game single-handedly for his team with his belligerence at the top. Pace or spin, Sehwag is ready to fight fire with fire. Back in 2011, he scored a magnificent 119 against a Deccan Chargers attack comprising Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra. Then in 2014, his 122 helped Kings XI Punjab beat Chennai Super Kings for a berth in the final. That ton came off only 50 balls.

 
2:  Chris Gayle

Chris gayle

He is the undisputed King of IPL. At the time of writing, he is facing flak for his bizarre innings of 10 of 24 balls against Mumbai Indians, but there is no denying the damage he can do. Gayle is one man who takes his time early on and then shifts gears to smash the bowlers around and more than make up for lost time. Gayle makes it into the list for his sheer dominance. In 71 matches, he has hit 2835 runs at an average of 47.25. Bring the strike-rate of 153.40 into perspective and you have perhaps the greatest-ever T20 batsman. Gayle has smashed as many as four tons and 17 fifties, winning the Orange Cap twice. Who can forget that whirlwind 175 not out, the first 100 of which came in only 30 balls!

 
3:  AB de Villiers

De Villiers

If any man can turn it around in a matter of minutes, it is AB de Villiers. Over the last few months, his aura has magnified, thanks to the 31-ball One-Day International (ODI) ton and then another blazing century against West Indies. No matter where you bowl, he will come up with the most audacious shots to find the boundary. Getting down on one knee, he can cart the pacers behind the wicket. In the IPL, he has maintained a career strike-rate of 141.68. It isn’t only about the strike-rate but the demoralising impact of his blade. He carted 41 in 11 balls during his latest outing against Mumbai Indian and almost made the seemingly impossible look a reality. Not to forget the way he tore apart Steyn in two encounters across two editions. The world’s best fast bowler was made to look ordinary as the yorkers too disappeared into the fence and beyond.

 
4:  Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina

The leading run-scorer in the IPL and Chennai Super Kings’ batting lynchpin, Suresh Raina is one of the most consistent and destructive batsmen in the IPL. When compared to Gayle’s brute force, Raina has more of a silken touch and makes it look very easy. Even when he is smashing it around, you do not sense an aura of destructiveness, but the numbers speak the tale. Though he has one ton and numerous fifties, the innings that would stand out in memory is his 87 off only 25 balls against Kings XI Punjab in the playoff last year. That knock helped them score over a 100 inside the powerplay. Raina has maintained a strike-rate of 141.42 over 119 matches, where he has batted at No. 3 in most games.

 
5:  MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni

The Chennai Super Kings skipper has not been in the best form off late, struggling to find his attacking touch. However, when he walks out in the slog overs, every bowler is nervous for he can send the ball into orbit at will. Batting in the middle-order, Dhoni has 15 fifties and averages over 40, which is remarkable. Then comes the strike-rate of 140.91. He can tear into any bowling to shreds on his day. During the IPL 2012 playoff against Mumbai Indians, he smashed a quick fifty, which included a helicopter shot for a six off LasithMalinga’s Yorker. Not many can do that. Bring the many last-over finishes against all odds into perspective, and you know why Dhoni is dangerous.

 
6:  Kieron Pollard

Keiron Pollard

Pollard seems to have found consistency in the ongoing season, but teams have always been wary of his presence in the middle-order. Mumbai Indians perhaps were uncertain about his role as they left him too late too often. In recent times, he has walked in earlier than expected and managed to capitalise on the time in hand. He has maintained a strike-rate of 147.47. There have been numerous fleeting infernos in Pollard’s IPL career, but his most remarkable contribution came in the IPL 2013 final, when he combined aggression and caution to guide Mumbai Indians out of trouble. Ultimately, his effort played a big role in winning the game for them. Pollard can do some serious damage at the death if he gets his eye in.

 

 

7:  David Miller

David Miller

The young South Africa was quite an unknown quantity for the first few seasons. He became a big name to reckon with when he hit a ton off 38 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2013. He hasn’t looked back since. The left-handed Miller is an aggressive batsman and can be a big asset in the middle order. He was one of the two players retained by Kings XI Punjab ahead of the IPL 2014. He has not disappointed his owners. He averages 44.08 in the middle-order and has maintained a strike-rate touching 150. He can also be dependable, whereby he knocks it around to begin with before teeing off. Such batsmen present a very tough proposition for captains.

 
8:  Brendon McCullum

McCullum

It may surprise many that Brendon McCullum has a strike-rate in the mid-120s in the IPL. Someone like a Shane Watson, who has a more dependable aura, has a much higher number when compared to McCullum. Perhaps it is because he had a few quiet seasons in the IPL. Today, he remains one of the most feared batsmen in the world and has found consistency like never before. In 2008, he welcomed the IPL with a blazing 158 not out in the first game. That has remained his magnum opus in the IPL, but his recent ton against Sunrisers Hyderabad shows that he is ready to make up for lost time. Early in the innings, he is a dangerous batsman for he can set it up for his team in a few overs.

 

 

9:  Glenn Maxwell

Maxwell

Glenn Maxwell was picked for USD 1 million in 2013 by the Mumbai Indians, but a year down the line, he made a mark with the Kings XI Punjab, winning the Player of the Tournament. Maxwell has maintained a strike-rate of 176.07 in the IPL and is their main batsman at No. 4. He would have liked to be more consistent following the IPL 2014, but there is always a danger lurking with him in the middle order. He can play the slogs, reverse-sweeps of spinners and pacers alike.

 

 

10:  Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma

Like Raina, Rohit Sharma has also thrived in the IPL. What makes him dangerous is his flexibility in the tournament. He can walk in at No. 3 and smash it, open the batting, or even come down the order. For a measure of Rohit’s destructive abilities, you have to look beyond the figures and bring into consideration the value he can bring. There are times when he plays shots no other person can. For example, he scooped a yorker to mid-wicket for six off a fast-bowler during a recent game. He can set an innings for you or finish it. This is what makes him a very dangerous batsman in the format.

 

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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45. The above article was first published in CricketCountry)