On Monday, in the third T20I against West Indies, Martin Guptill scored 15 runs and leapfrogged Indian captain Rohit Sharma to become the highest run-scorer in the shortest format of the game. Both Guptill and Rohit are engaged in a cat-and-mouse race, and a week ago, it was the Indian batter who overtook the Kiwi batter. There’s a difference of just 10 runs between them, and the race will be over only when one of them decides to hang up their boots.
The list of the highest run-scorers in this relatively new format is dominated by the opening batters. While opening the innings is arguably the most thankless job in Test cricket, things are a bit different in T20I, where the openers have more time than anyone else. Six among the ten highest run-scorers in the list currently open the innings for their respective sides. Moreover, among the lower-order batters, only Eoin Morgan boasts a commendable strike rate.
Let’s take a look at the seven highest run-scorers in T20I cricket.
Having amassed 2684 runs at a strike rate of 140, David Warner is ranked seventh in the list of highest run-getter in T20I cricket. Warner’s only century in this format came against Sri Lanka in 2019, when he slammed an unbeaten 100 in just 56 deliveries. England is the only opposition that has managed to keep him quiet on a consistent basis, allowing just 218 runs in close to 200 balls.
Only Virat Kohli boasts a better average than Babar Azam among the leading run-getters. Azam, who is currently the number one T20I batter in the world, has totaled 2686 runs in 74 matches. While his consistency is unparalleled, his strike rate has divided opinions over his utility in T20I cricket. Nonetheless, Azam remains one of the most prolific run-scorer across format, and provides solidity to Pakistan’s fragile batting setup.
Along with Warner, Aaron Finch forms the formidable opening duo in white-ball cricket for Australia. Moreover, Finch’s strike rate of 145 is second to none among the top ten highest run-getters. He also averages north of 50 against three nations – Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and England. However, he has struggled to pile up runs of late, and his form will be crucial for Australia when they began the defense of the T20I World Cup on their home soil.
Ireland’s swashbuckling batter Paul Stirling is the most surprising name on the list, having scored 2995 runs in 113 matches at a strike rate of 134. A vast majority of his runs have come against Afghanistan, against whom he has also faced the most number of the balls. Stirling, now 31, has shown no signs of slowing down, as he continues to form the crux of Ireland’s batting unit.
Even though former India skipper Virat Kohli is going through the worst patch, his average in T20I hasn’t yet dipped below 50. Moreover, he is the only batter to average over 50 in this format after playing 99 games. Kohli’s 3308 runs at a strike rate of 137 speaks volume about his consistency, but will he be able to regain the form ahead of the World Cup?
Rohit Sharma tends to struggle with his franchise Mumbai Indians, but when it comes to international cricket, he always brings his A-game. He comes across as a different beast in T20I, more often than not giving India a breezy start with his versatile strokeplay. Considering his form and the number of games India is supposed to play in the upcoming months, Rohit may well become the first batter to breach the 4000-run mark in T20I.
There’s not much cricket left in Martin Guptill, and he is already pondering retirement in the near future. But going to the World Cup in Australia, Guptill will hold the key for Kane Williamson’s side. Guptill has scored 3497 runs in 121 matches at a strike rate of 135.
Lead Image: Rohit Sharma/Twitter