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T20 World Cup: The 5 Best Batsmen of all Time

8 Oct 2022

To date, there have been seven T20 World Cups, producing just one repeat winner, the West Indies. 

Across those seven tournaments, the world’s best T20 batsmen have driven, cut, pulled, swept, reverse-swept and flicked their way to vital innings under the utmost pressure, to big scores and match-winning contributions.

Nine centuries have been scored, with only Chris Gayle managing to hit two. 

And right now, we’re going to name our T20 World Cup Top 5 batsmen.

The rules for selection are simple. 

There are no rules other than that these batting performances need to have been on display during one or more World Cups.

We’re about to list the top 5 and if online cricket betting is your thing, then these players are good choices for the top batsman market too!

Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) - Run Machine 

The brilliant Sri Lankan right-hander wouldn’t have been the most obvious player to have become a T20 star when the format was invented in the mid-noughties. 

Mostly known as a stylish, patient, elegant batsman capable of playing long Test innings and eye-catching ODI ones, he was no natural T20 player. 

But then again, Jayawardene is no ordinary player. 

He reinvented himself as a T20 cricketer and adopted shots like the reverse sweep and over-the-head flick that he’d never played before in longer formats, to go with his more familiar breathtaking cover drives and late cuts. 

He also decided he wanted to open the batting rather than bat at four or five and the results more than justified his promotion up the order.

At the 2010 World Cup he became just the third player to score a T20 World Cup century, scoring exactly 100 against Zimbabwe. 

He was an important part of the Sri Lanka side that made and lost the 2009 final to Pakistan, also top-scoring for his team in both the semi and final of the 2012 World Cup, where they went on to lose to the West Indies.

But he won it at the third time of asking in 2014, beating India in the final this time. 

The match was to be his last-ever T20I and he remains the highest run scorer in the T20 World Cup with 1016 runs. 

Chris Gayle (West Indies) - Record-Breaker 

The start of every big tournament needs someone to do something special just to get the juices flowing. 

And that’s what the organisers were hoping for when the West Indies played South Africa in the opening match of the first-ever T20 World Cup in 2007, a match played at The Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Enter Chris Gayle. 

He scored 177 off just 57 balls, including seven fours and ten sixes, at a strike rate of 205. 

As it happens, the Windies lost the game with Herschelle Gibbs replying with a brilliant 90 not out of his own for the hosts.

But it was a sign of things to come for Gayle. 

Having played in every edition between 2007 and 2016, he went on to set several records. 

At the 2016 World Cup he became the first (and up to now only) batsman to score two WC centuries, hitting a mesmerising 100 not out off 48 balls, as the West Indies aced a chase against England. It was also the fastest of the seven WC centuries so far. 

His 61 WC sixes are also a record, as are his 11 sixes in one innings, which he struck in that century against England. 

He’s the second highest runscorer in the WC with 965 and one of just 10 players to have won the World Cup twice. 

Virat Kohli (India) - Prolific Strokemaker 

Luckily for Virat Kohli, he was just emerging as an international batsman when the T20 format was really kicking off.

Meaning that as the T20 game evolved, so did Kohli’s T20 game. 

He missed the first two World Cups because he hadn’t yet broken into the India side by then, meaning he wasn’t part of India’s winning team back in 2007.

But he quickly made up for the lost time. 

He currently holds the record for most WC fifties (10 in 19 innings), the highest average (76) and most man-of-the-match awards, with five. 

He’s also the only player to have two Player of the Tournament awards, winning them consecutively in 2014 and 2016. And this despite India not winning the tournament on either occasion.

And he’s scored all those runs in style. 

Driving through the covers, cutting through point, flicking through mid-wicket, his runs have been pleasing on the eye, to go with his hard and quick running between the wickets.

He’s still waiting for his first World Cup winner’s medal, though.

Michael Hussey (Australia) - Mr Cricket goes into Freak Mode

Michael Hussey, known as Mr Cricket, only ever played 21 T20I matches across the 2007 and 2012 World Cups. 

And in those 21 matches, he only batted 16 times, scoring ‘just’ 437 runs. 

So why does he make our list? 

Two reasons. 

The first is that his average of 54.62 is the second-highest at World Cups after that of Kohli and he’s one of only two players to average over 50 at T20’s biggest tournament.

But the bigger reason is that he’s responsible for playing what is arguably the best knock of any at the tournament. 

In the second semi-final of the 2010 World Cup in the West Indies, Australia were chasing a very steep 191/6 against Pakistan. 

Things went from bad to worse when the set Cameron White got out to leave Australia reeling on 139/6, needing 48 runs from their last three. 

Two balls later, Steve Smith got out. With just the tail for company, Hussey had to go for broke. 

He did. 

A six in the eighteenth over got him going and he also struck fours from the first and last balls of the 19th over. 

18 needed off the last over and crucially, Hussey got the strike back after Mitchell Johnson ran a bye. 

17 needed with five balls to go. He didn’t need all five. 

Facing Saeed Ajmal, Hussey went six, six, four and six to end the match with a ball to spare. 

"He’s an absolute freak," said his skipper Michael Clarke after the match. 

Few disagreed. 

Marlon Samuels (West Indies) - Man for the Big Moments 

To play one extraordinary innings in a big match at the World Cup is one thing. 

To do so twice in your career, in the biggest game of them all - the final - and single-handedly win them both and be voted man-of-the-match on each occasion, is almost unthinkable. 

But not if you’re Marlon Samuels. 

2012 Final in Colombo

In the 2012 final in Colombo against hosts Sri Lanka, Samuels came in at number three and for the most part of the innings, watched as great West Indies batters like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell came and went. 

Samuels stayed. 

As wickets tumbled around him, he kept his cool and bided his time, only occasionally going for the big shot. 

But by the start of the 17th Over, enough was enough. He hit Lasith Malinga (no less) for 18 off the over, including striking two huge sixes. 

When he was dismissed in the next over he had hit 78 off 56. To put it into context, given the Windies ended on 137, he had scored 57% of his team’s runs.

137 didn’t look enough at the halfway mark but in the end, Sri Lanka got nowhere near chasing that. 

They were bowled out for just 101 and for good measure, Samuels also bowled 1-15 off four overs.

That he scored almost as many runs as the whole Sri Lankan side tells its own story. 

Four years later in Kolkata, he was at it again.

And this time under even more pressure, because the Windies were two down chasing 156 and scoreboard pressure, was an additional factor in it all. 

No problem. 

Once again, Samuels bided his time, accelerated as the innings progressed and was unbeaten on 85 off 66 when Carlos 'Remember the name’ Brathwaite hit the hapless Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes. 

Brathwaite's was the iconic moment but Samuels was once again the match-winner and consequently, the man-of-the-match. 

As he sat down for his post-match interview with the world’s press, pads still on and with his spikes perched on the table in front of him, he spoke. 

He called out those who had doubted the West Indies and in the case of the namechecked pair, his nemeses Shane Warne and Ben Stokes, those who had doubted him personally. 

He wasn’t the most gracious in victory but then again, he’d pretty much earned the right to do as he pleased. For the second time in his career.

At Pure Win, we will be covering every World Cup game in our cricket betting tips so make sure to check back regularly for the hottest predictions and the best winner market odds in India!

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