Death Overs Specialist Batsman in IPL
Also known as slog overs, death overs are the final four overs of a limit-overs match and also the most exciting overs. In T20 cricket, the final four overs, 16 to 20, are the death overs, in which the batsmen try to score as many runs possible by playing unorthodox shots, and the bowlers are usually on the receiving end of the carnage. In the Indian Premier League (IPL), the most dangerous batsman is the one who can have the maximum impact in these final overs. A death overs specialist batsman in IPL is key as he is the one who people come to watch.
Bowlers who concede less than seven runs per over in the death overs are considered the most economical bowlers, while batsmen who play fearlessly and go for big shots in the last four overs are called the death over specialist batsmen. The best death overs specialist batsman in IPL is AB de Villiers. He is lethal in the final four overs and has time and again shown his prowess in the league.
Let’s look at five batsmen who have scored maximum runs in the death overs in the most attended cricket league in the world.
Please note: All the stats below are updated till IPL 2021 Phase 1
Ab De Villiers – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Ab de Villiers is the third highest run-scorer in the IPL death overs with 1808 runs. The 360 degree batsman, who can send the ball flying to any part of the ground, has finished several games for RCB since joining them in 2011. He is one of the most successful batsmen in the league.
De Villiers’ unbeaten 133 against Mumbai Indians in 2015 is one of the best knocks in the tournament. It is also one among the three centuries he has in the IPL and his highest score in all T20s. Those 133 runs came in only 59 balls as de Villiers hit 19 boundaries and four maximums. Virat Kohli played a good second fiddle and the duo together stitched a 215-run partnership.
Among other wonderful knocks by de Villiers in the IPL is an unbeaten 105 against CSK in 2009, an unbeaten 89 against Hyderabad in 2014 and an unbeaten 79 against Gujarat Lions in 2016.
Overall, the batsman has played 175 IPL games, from which he has 5053 runs, three centuries, 40 fifties, 406 boundaries and 245 maximums. He is the best death over specialist batsman in IPL.
MS Dhoni – Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni is one of the best finishers in world cricket. Dhoni has scored 2805 runs in death overs in the IPL, which is the most by anyone in the tournament.
In IPL 2010, Dhoni slammed an unbeaten 54 in 29 balls against Punjab Kings to take Chennai over the line. He has done the same on many other occasions too – a 40-ball 70 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011 in a losing cause, 26-ball 51 against Mumbai Indians in 2013 in a losing cause, and an unbeaten 70 against RCB in 2018.
Dhoni’s most recent heroics in the death overs were seen in 2019 against Rajasthan Royals. Batting first, CSK lost early wickets and were struggling on 27 runs for the loss of three wickets in six overs before their captain came to rescue. Dhoni batted till the end, scoring a 46-ball 75, including a hat-trick of sixes against Jaydev Unadkat in the final over. CSK went on to win the match by eight runs. In all, the former India captain has 4544 runs from 182 IPL innings at a strike rate close to 138. This includes 22 half-centuries.
Rohit Sharma – Mumbai Indians
The most successful captain in the tournament and also the third highest run-scorer, Rohit Sharma has scored 1481 runs in death overs in the IPL. Since joining the Ambani-owned franchise in 2011, the top-order batter has been the team’s batting backbone and has produced several match-winning knocks for them.
Be it the 60-ball 109 vs KKR in 2012, the 26-ball 50 against CSK in 2015 or the 52-ball 94 against RCB in 2018. Rohit has produced at least one batting masterclass in each IPL season. The right-hander’s best season came in 2016, when he scored 489 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 132.88, which includes five half-centuries.
5480 runs, a century, 40 fifties and more than 200 sixes, Sharma has had a stellar IPL career so far.
Kieron Pollard – Mumbai Indians
One of the most destructive middle-order batsmen in the IPL, Kieron Pollard has won Mumbai Indians several matches with his heroics in the death overs. The West Indian has scored the second highest runs in death overs in IPL – 1892 – and has rescued the five-time champions every time the top order failed to perform.
One of Pollard’s best performances came in the final of 2013 when Mumbai faced off Chennai at Eden Gardens. Batting first, Mumbai were in a spot of bother with four wickets down for 54 runs in 10 overs, before Pollard walked in. Even as wickets kept falling at the other end, Pollard remained unbeaten on 60 off 32, hitting seven fours and three sixes. Mumbai posted 148, before restricting Chennai to 125 and winning the match and trophy by 23 runs.
Pollard has 3191 runs in 171 IPL matches at a strike rate of almost 150. He has also picked up 63 wickets.
Virat Kohli – Royal Challengers Bangalore
For most of his IPL career, Virat Kohli has either opened the batting, or came out at number 2 or 3. He batted at number 4 in only three seasons, and at number 5 one season. Despite playing at the top for 10 seasons, the RCB skipper is the fifth highest run-scorer in the death overs with 1268 runs.
113 off 50 balls against Punjab in IPL 2016 remains one of Kohli’s best knocks in the tournament. But his best knock in the death overs came against Gujarat that same season. Opening the innings with Chris Gayle, Kohli scored a 55-ball 109 before being dismissed on the second last ball of the last over. This was also his first IPL hundred, but it went in vain as Gujarat won by six wickets.
Kohli is the tournament’s all-time highest run-scorer with 6076 runs.