Best Opening Batsmen In IPL – All-Time
In T20 cricket, getting off to a great start is vital. Whether you are batting or bowling. A fast start means that you have to catch up less ground towards the end. The best opening batsmen in IPL history have historically started rapidly in the power play, before constructing a top quality innings in the middle overs.
The likes of Shane Watson, Quinton De Kock and Ajinkya Rahane have all been fantastic opening batsmen for their respective franchises. Despite this, they just miss out from the top 5 of all-time.
So, who makes the list, in terms of best IPL openers ever?
1. Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle during his peak years was an absolute beast. He scored runs both incredibly consistently and rapidly for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Along with Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, he formed one of the best top-orders ever seen in both IPL and T20 history.
“I still have five more years of cricket.” says Chris Gayle.
Even his last few years at Kings XI Punjab have been healthy, with little signs of his ability fading. Gayle’s strength perhaps is strength itself. He is a very muscular individual, who still has the ability to clear the boundary at will.
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Overall, Gayle has played 132 IPL matches and scored 4772 runs at a batting average of 41.13. His strike rate of 150.11 is the best out of any player on this list. Gayle’s 175 against the Pune Warriors India is one of the greatest IPL innings of all-time and still remains the highest IPL score in history.
Chris Gayle is number one on our list of “Top 5 best opening batsmen in IPL history.”
2. David Warner
In the last few seasons of the Indian Premier League, David Warner has been the most consistent batsman – never mind opener. He holds the record for the most half-centuries in IPL history – 48.
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Warner has the ability to go berserk and explode when required. However, his greatest strength is the fact that he is able to play accordingly to the situation more often than not. This means that he is very reliable and also very versatile.
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Warner scored 848 runs in the 2016 edition of the IPL and led the Sunrisers Hyderabad to glory. Overall, he has played 142 games and scored 5254 runs at a batting average of 42.71 and at a strike rate of 141.54.
David Warner is number two on our list of “Top 5 best opening batsmen in IPL history.”
3. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma has been superb for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, both as a batsman and as a captain. In the last two years, he has perhaps been overshadowed by his partner Quinton De Kock but this has only added to the team strength. Mumbai Indians have won the last two editions of the IPL.
His pull shot is often a delight to watch and he has the ability to play that shot against the quickest bowlers. Overall Rohit Sharma has played 200 games in the IPL and scored 5230 runs at a batting average of 31.31 and at a strike rate of 130.61
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He has scored a couple of half-centuries in IPL finals, which has helped his side win.
Rohit Sharma is number three on our list of “Top 5 best opening batsmen in IPL history.”
4. Shikhar Dhawan
Perhaps underrated amongst modern day opening batsmen in the Indian Premier League due to the nature that he goes about his batting. But make no mistake, he is an all-time IPL great already.
In 176 IPL games, Shikhar Dhawan has scored 5197 runs at a batting average of 34.41 and at a strike rate of 126.87. He scored 501 runs in the 2016 IPL and along with his opening partner David Warner, helped haul the Sunrisers Hyderabad to the title.
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His move to the Delhi Capitals has also been fruitful. In IPL 2020 he scored 548 runs to help DC reach final of the tournament. This included back-to-back centuries against the Chennai Super Kings and the Kings XI Punjab.
Shikhar Dhawan is number four on our list of “Top 5 best opening batsmen in IPL history.”
5. Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir symbolises the Kolkata Knight Riders like few others. It was his captaincy that helped them win two titles in three years. As an opening batsman, he led from the front and was one of the best IPL openers during his career.
In 2012, he scored 590 runs to help KKR win the title. He was a very solid opening batsman, who didn’t necessarily play very quick but helped the team build a platform from which the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell could launch from.
“Stokes best cricketer in the world.” says Gautam Gambhir
His overall record reads 4217 runs in 154 IPL games at a batting average of 31.01 and at a strike rate of 123.88.
Gautam Gambhir is number five on our list of “Top 5 best opening batsmen in IPL history.”
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