The Indian Premier League (IPL) is often accused for being a batsman’s paradise as most of the matches see a ton of runs being scored. Over the last nine years, the tournament has been some brilliant batting performances and this season should be no different.
Here’s a look at the top ten batsmen who can dominate IPL 2017:
AB de Villiers (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
The fact that the South Africa ODI skipper has taken a prolonged break from Test cricket and decided to focus only on limited-overs cricket will be an advantage for him at the IPL. He is already a star in India due to his IPL exploits and the crowd at Bangalore, home to RCB, loves him as was proven when he toured with the Proteas in December 2015 for the Tests. He has over 3000 runs in 120 IPL matches with a strike rate close to 150.
Karun Nair (Delhi Daredevils)
Among the young India batsmen, he is one of the most exciting prospects with his triple century against England at Chennai propelling him to instant stardom. Despite a lackluster 2015 season, the Karnataka lad was picked by Delhi Daredevils in 2016 at a price of R4 crore even though his base price was R10 lakh. The youngster scored three fifties and aggregated over 350 runs last season. A previous stint with Rajasthan Royals, in 2014, was also productive as he scored over 300 runs.
Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
IPL’s top run-getter is arguably the hottest property in world cricket. He has over 4000 runs under his belt and has hammered four centuries, second only to RCB teammate Chris Gayle who has five. Kohli, who scored astounding 973 runs last year, has been in the middle of a brilliant season in Tests, having scored double centuries in four consecutive Test series. But a slump in form against Australia apart from being targeted by Australian media should fire him at the IPL, provided his shoulder doesn’t give a big problem.
Steven Smith (Rising Pune Supergiant)
The Aussie captain is in rich vein of form in Test cricket. Although he hasn’t played a T20 International for about a year, he has plenty of experience in IPL. He has over 1200 runs in 54 matches and averages over 36 with a strike rate of 135. Last year, he struck a hundred as well. Replacing MS Dhoni as skipper, Smith will have to lead from the front and prove his worth with the bat.
David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
He led Sunrisers Hyderabad to a title win in IPL 2016 by contributing 848 runs, second only to Kohli’s 973. This season, Warner had been struggling before he struck form towards the end of Australian summer. But he hasn’t been able to master the Indian bowling in the Test series. His strength, stroke-play, has been curtailed by the slow Indian wickets. But the true, batting-friendly pitches at IPL should suit his style.
Glenn Maxwell (Kings XI Punjab)
For a man of his calibre, Glenn Maxwell’s performance in IPL has been below par. He has managed just six half-centuries in 43 games spread over five years. But for his performance in 2014 (552 runs at a strike rate of 187 with four fifties), the numbers would have been abysmal. Many times he has just thrown his wicket away, a trait best exemplified in the 2015 World Cup semifinal against India. The willingness to be patient is something he’s learnt, as was evident during the Ranchi Test where he curbed his instincts to score a century. This IPL season should see a changed Maxwell.
Jos Buttler (Mumbai Indians)
The England wicketkeeper-batsman holds the record for fastest century for England in ODI cricket. Buttler’s experience with the Mumbai Indians last year wasn’t memorable. He managed just 255 runs in 14 matches without a single fifty. He also didn’t have a particularly good time in the ODIs and T20Is against India during the short series recently. But his 51-ball 90 in August last year had helped England post the highest total in One-day Internationals. His presence adds more firepower to Rohit Sharma’s squad.
Eoin Morgan (Kings XI Punjab)
Him becoming the England skipper is the best thing to have happened to the Three Lions in limited overs cricket after their early exit from 2015 World Cup. They have suddenly become a contender in every major tournament. Kings XI Punjab, who finished rock bottom last year and lack star attractions, will hope Morgan can lend the Midas touch to KXIP too. His overall performance in IPL has been very ordinary and last year at the Sunrisers Hyderabad, he was pretty poor, scoring just eight fours and four sixes and aggregating 123 in seven matches.
Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders)
The Kolkata Knight Riders skipper has been a consistent performer for his team. Along with Robin Uttappa, he forms one of the most reliable opening pairs in the competition. With 3634 runs in the IPL till now, the Delhi batsman is a seasoned veteran and this year, he will surely be looking to guide his team to a record-equalling third IPL crown.
Asela Gunaratne (Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians were probably very lucky to have got a batsman of his ability for just R30 lakh. Gunaratne’s presence in this list could surprise many. But some of his innings this year have been the only bright spots in an otherwise depressing Sri Lankan cricket. Gunaratne hammered a century in Sri Lanka’s loss to South Africa in February at Centurion. But standout was his back-to-back innings in the T20Is against Australia that won Sri Lanka the series. First, he made a 37-ball half century and then followed it up with 46-ball 84.