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MAIN / Cricket / Best T20 Batsman: 10 Players Who Have Made It to the T20 Pantheon

T20 cricket is an exciting and highly interesting sport, and it has become the most-watched format of the game because of the excitement and entertainment it offers. With its high-octane action and aggressive play style, it requires excellent form and fitness from the cricketers who play it, and this is most applicable for batters.

When it comes to T20 batting, few can maintain the same skill and consistency as the T20 top 10 batsmen. It takes a special breed to be at the top of not just their game but the game as a whole for long enough to make it be considered the best T20 player of all time by some. In light of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, here is our list of the T20 top 10 batsmen of all time.

10 Best T20 Batsman of All Time – Ranking

The following is a table of our picks for the top 10 T20 batters of all time, along with their notable statistics in the format.

Pos

Name Matches Inns Runs Avg Str.
Rate
HS

1.

Chris Gayle 463 455 14,562 36.22 144.75 175*

2.

Virat Kohli 339 322 10,509 40.11 132.72

113

3. AB de Villiers 340 320 9,424 37.24 150.13

133*

4.

David Warner 324 323 10,735 38.20 141.28 135*
5. MS Dhoni 360 318 7,141 38.18 134.20

84*

6.

Brendon McCullum 370 364 9,922 29.97 136.49 58*
7. Rohit Sharma 383 370 10,161 31.45 133.55

118

8.

Kieron Pollard 592 526 11,571 31.10 151.09 104
9. Glenn Maxwell 356 335 8,085 28.17 151.60

154*

10. Kevin Pietersen 200 193 5,695 33.89 136.89

115*

1. Chris Gayle

  • Nickname: Universe Boss
  • Role: All-rounder
  • T20I Debut: February 2006 vs. New Zealand
  • Team: West Indies
  • Batting: Left-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm off break

Starting off our list is the big man himself. There’s a reason why Christopher Henry Gayle is referred to by the cricketing world as the “Universe Boss.” The man has hit no fewer than one thousand T20 sixes, with the person closest to him being his West Indies teammate Kieron Pollard with just over 750. Gayle is a beastly cricketer with the strength of an ox and the batting chops to make good use of that and is often touted as the world’s best T20 batsman.

Gayle has scored a phenomenal 14,562 runs in the shortest format of the game and has taken just 455 innings to do so at an average of 36.22. On top of this, Gayle has a robust strike rate of 144.75 and the highest score ever achieved by a cricketer at the top level – 175*. Although most of his exploits took place in the colors of the myriad of franchises he played for, Gayle was also a solid presence for the Windies.

2. Virat Kohli

  • Nickname: Chiku
  • Role: Batter
  • T20I Debut: June 2010 vs. Zimbabwe
  • Team: India
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium

Arguably India’s greatest player of the 21st century, Virat Kohli is often considered to be not just the world best T20 batsman of all time, but arguably the greatest batsman of all time across all three formats. Although he has hit a bit of rough form in the last 30 months or so, his numbers were so astronomical that they still keep him well-rooted on this list.

Kohli has less experience than Gayle – having played in far fewer international leagues than his predecessor on this list. However, he makes up for it with a phenomenal T20I record, where his average has only recently dipped below 50 after a pandemic and 2+ years of relatively mediocre performances. Across 322 T20 Innings, Kohli has piled up 10,509 runs at an average of 40.11, striking at 132.72 with a high score of 113.

3. AB de Villiers

  • Nickname: Mr 360°
  • Role: Batter, Wicket-keeper
  • T20I Debut: February 2006 vs. Australia
  • Team: South Africa
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium

The South African legend may come in third on this list, but he has a legendary record on his own. If Kohli is in the conversation about being the world’s best batsman in cricket history, de Villiers is most certainly in the same league. His T20 record isn’t as outlandishly illustrious, but he holds the record for the fastest century in ODIs, along with top-tier stats for both the longer formats of the game.

AB has 9,424 runs to his name across 320 innings at an average of 37.24, boasting a high score of 133*. The Protea has a strike rate of a mind-numbing 150.13 and has one of the best strike rates in the IPL. Although his stats for his country are overshadowed by those for clubs (much like Gayle), his contribution to South African cricket cannot be overstated, despite how things ended between him and Cricket South Africa.

4. David Warner

  • Nickname: Lloyd, The Reverend
  • Role: Batter
  • T20I Debut: January 2009 vs. South Africa
  • Team: Australia
  • Batting: Left-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm leg break

One of three people on this list to have played a number of T20 innings falling in the 320s, Warner has just as powerful a presence on the field as anyone else on this list. The left-handed opener was one of the heroes of Australia’s recent ICC T20 World Cup triumph and has also won the IPL and its orange cap multiple times. Undoubtedly one of the most reliable batters in world cricket, Warner is someone an opposition captain invariably fears.

Across his 323 T20 innings, Warner has accumulated 10,735 runs at 38.20, striking at 141.28. Warner’s highest score is a dominating 135*, and his contributions to clubs and country are close together in terms of skill level. He might have had a bit of poor form following the pandemic, but he has risen back up aged 35 to prove that class is permanent.

5. MS Dhoni

  • Nickname: Mahi, Captain Cool
  • Role: Wicket-keeper Batter
  • T20I Debut: December 2006 vs. South Africa
  • Team: India
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium

For quite a while in the 2010s, MS Dhoni was considered the best T20 batsman of India. However, considering how he performed, he could have been the top T20 batsman in the world. It seemed that former India and perennial Chennai Super Kings captain could do no wrong as he chased down target after seemingly-impossible-target in ridiculous ways to prove any critics wrong. Even recently, at over 40, he captained his club to an improbable IPL victory with a mixture of grizzled veterans and fresh youngsters.

Dhoni’s 318 T20 innings have brought forth 7,141 runs, and although that might seem tame by comparison to some others on this list, the fact that he remained not out in 131 of those innings makes his average a solid 38.18. Dhoni’s strike rate has fallen as he has aged, but even now, it’s a decent 134.20. The only thing Dhoni lacks is a T20 century, with his highest score being 84*.

6. Brendon McCullum

  • Nickname: B-Mac, Baz
  • Role: Wicketkeeper Batter
  • T20I Debut: February 2005 vs. Australia
  • Team: New Zealand
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm off break, Right-arm medium

Although his numbers aren’t as impressive as most top-level T20 players nowadays, McCullum was one of the players who turned both T20s, and IPL matches into what they are today. In the very first match of the IPL, he fired his way to a monstrous 158*, creating a record that would stand for 5 years, and, even after 14 years and thousands of cricketers having had a go at it, that innings is still among the top 10 T20 batting performances of all time.

McCullum played 364 innings to score 9,922 T20 runs, falling just short of an important landmark. His highest ever T20 score was the aforementioned 158* for Kolkata Knight Riders. McCullum averaged only 29.97 across all T20s, but his average for his country was quite a lot higher with 35.66. The Kiwi keeper’s strike rate was 136.49, and he was an imposing presence for the Black Caps and the many clubs and franchises he played for.

7. Rohit Sharma

  • Nickname: Hitman, Ro.
  • Role: Batter
  • T20I Debut: September 2007 vs. England
  • Team: India
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm off break

The Indian opener and recently-made captain has troves of experience and boasts the highest individual ODI score in the history of the game. Rohit Sharma might not be as outright popular as Virat Kohli due to his relatively low social media presence and lack of conventional good looks, but he is as integral a cog in both the India and Mumbai Indians machines as anyone else.

In 370 innings, Rohit Sharma has made 10,161 runs at 31.45 with a strike rate of 133.55. His highest score in T20s is 118. Sharma began his career playing for the long-defunct Deccan Chargers, but he has been a Mumbai Indians man for a while. Widely known as a chilled-out personality, he is one of the most consistent players when playing at home in any format.

8. Kieron Pollard

  • Nickname: Polly
  • Role: All-rounder
  • T20I Debut: June 2008 vs. Australia
  • Team: West Indies
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium

There is no shortage of bulky West Indians when it comes to T20 cricket, and Kieron Pollard is no exception. An immensely powerful hitter, Pollard can turn the tide of a match in the blink of an eye. He is one of only three batters to have hit 6 sixes in an over in an international T20, and that’s just a small taste of what he’s capable of when he gets in the groove. Pollard is one of the most destructive players out there and is a permanent danger as long as he’s at the crease.

Pollard has played the most top-level T20 matches of any player in world cricket with 592, and he has batted in 526 of those. Considering the fact that he usually bats pretty late down the order, his 11,571 runs are nothing short of fantastic. He averages 31.10 and has a crazy strike rate of 151.09. Incredible stats for any player, and that’s not even counting his considerable exploits with the ball.

9. Glenn Maxwell

  • Nickname: Maxi
  • Role: All-rounder
  • T20I Debut: September 2012 vs. Pakistan
  • Team: Australia
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm off break

One of the most dangerous T20 players in the world, Maxwell can flip a match around with either bat or ball. A deadly cricketer when in form, the Australian has all the makings of a superb cricketer in either white-ball format, averaging well over 100 in both. The only real problem with Maxwell is his relative lack of consistency, and had he been a bit more regular with his magnificent performances, he would have featured much higher on this list for sure.

Glenn Maxwell has played 335 innings, scored 8,085 runs at 28.17 per innings, and has the proud distinction of having the highest strike rate on this list with 151.60. The right-handed all-rounder is arguably slightly more consistent for his national team as his average would show, but there have been seasons when he has gone off the rails for a franchise here and a franchise there.

10. Kevin Pietersen

  • Nickname: KP
  • Role: Batter
  • T20I Debut: June 2005 vs. Australia
  • Team: England
  • Batting: Right-handed
  • Bowling: Right-arm off break

The English cricketer may be known better for his online banter nowadays, but during his playing days, he was one hell of a batter. Pietersen is both loved and hated – both for his outspoken nature and often controversial opinions and statements and his occasionally irresponsibly shot selection at moments when he should have opted for something different. KP wasn’t just a T20 maestro, though, as his skills spanned all three formats.

Kevin Pietersen played 193 T20 innings, and in that time, he scored 5,695 runs at 33.89. His highest score was 115*, and his strike rate was 136.89 – excellent for the time period in which he played most of his cricket. His performances may have faded from the memories of most, but true cricket fans still remember how dangerous he could be on a good day.

How to Choose the Best T20 Batsman?

Did You Know: Cricket experts define the best T20 batsman by analyzing their wickets taken and runs scored, rating of the batsman dismissed, and considering other factors, including strike rate.

Choosing the top 10 T20 batsmen is not just about how many runs a batter has scored or their average, or their strike rate, but by taking into account a combination of all of these.

Runs Scored

Obviously, a batter is nothing if they haven’t been making the score ticking. The runs scored by a batter played a big part in putting them on this list.

Batting Average

Consistency is key, and the batting average was the most important factor in making our list of the 10 best T20 batsmen in the world.

Strike Rate

Hitting hard is the name of the game in T20, and fast scorers are obviously prioritized in any discussion about the top T20 batsman in the world.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about the best T20 batsmen.

Who is the best T20 batsman of all time?

While the answer is not concrete, Chris Gayle is at the top of almost any T20 batsman ranking.

Who is the most dangerous batsman in T20?

It’s Chris Gayle, but Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, and AB de Villiers come close to being the most dangerous batsmen in T20.

Which T20 batsman has the highest score in T20?

Chris Gayle with his 175* for Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Pune Warriors in 2013.

Conclusion

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