Best Finisher in IPL
Over the years, we have seen some of the biggest targets successfully chased in the Indian Premier League (IPL), thanks to the finishers who finished things off in style. Some of the world’s best batsmen in the IPL have played a blinder in the death overs to take their team over the line. The highest total chased in the history of the tournament is by Rajasthan Royals – 223 runs – against Punjab Kings in 2020, while some of the other highest totals chased are 219, 215 and 209. But, who is the best finisher in IPL history?
While the likes of Andre Russell, AB de Villiers, Kieron Pollard have all shown their finishing prowess, the best finisher in IPL history is undoubtedly the former Indian limited overs team captain MS Dhoni.
Furthermore, here are five batsmen who have played the role of a finisher for their team to perfection in the IPL.
MS Dhoni – Chennai Super Kings
The Chennai captain and former India captain is no longer the finisher he was in his prime, but he still remains one of the best finishers of all-time in both IPL and international cricket. In his heydays, Dhoni hitting the bowlers for boundaries – especially his trademark helicopter shot – was a common sight. Dhoni has remained not out in 70 of his 186 IPL innings – the most by any batsman in the tournament, and has an IPL career strike rate of 136.64.
Dhoni’s unbeaten 54 against Punjab Kings in 2010 is one of the many innings where he did what he did the best – finished the match. Chasing 193, CSK needed 16 in the final over bowled by Irfan Pathan. Dhoni, however, needed only 3 balls to do it. He hit one four and two sixes and helped his side qualify for the semi-final.
He did something similar in 2016 for Rising Pune Supergiant against Punjab. Pune needed 12 runs off two balls and Dhoni smashed two sixes off Axar Patel to seal the deal. Most recently in 2018, he hit a 34-ball 70 and helped CSK chase 45 off the last 18 balls.
The three-time IPL trophy winning captain has 4677 runs in 186 IPL innings. This includes 23 half-centuries. MS Dhoni has been of best finishers in world cricket and is undoubtedly the best finisher in IPL.
Andre Russell – Kolkata Knight Riders
Need 20 off the last 50 balls? Trust Andre Russell to do it, irrespective of who the bowler is. The all-rounder was in the form of his life in IPL 2019 – piling up one good knock after another. Chasing a target of 206 runs against RCB, KKR needed 52 runs off the last 16 balls. Russell bludgeoned the cricket ball to all corners of the ground and scored a 13-ball 48, not sparing any bowler. In the last 9 balls he faced, he hit – 6,6,6,1,6,6,6,4,6.
Not only does this knock remain Russell’s best, but also one of the best in 13 years of the IPL. That same season, with his destructive batting, he scored a 25-ball 65 in another game against RCB, and an unbeaten 80 off 40 balls against Mumbai Indians. Russel has the highest strike rate and is one of the cleanest hitters of the ball.
Although Russell has remained unbeaten only 11 times in 68 IPL innings, he has accelerated KKR’s run-rate in the death overs several times. Winner of two MVP awards, Russell made his IPL debut in 2012 and has won two titles with them.
Apart from scoring 1680 runs at the tournament’s best strike rate of almost 178, Russell has also picked up 68 wickets for the franchise. Russell remains of the finest finishers in IPL and white ball cricket.
Kieron Pollard – Mumbai Indians
What Russell is to KKR, his fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard, is to Mumbai Indians. Along with Hardik Pandya, Pollard has formed a destructive finishing duo for the five-time champions. Pollard has finished off several games with his brutal power hitting and has managed to make it look effortless.
The unbeaten 64 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2012 is one innings that comes to mind. Pollard walked in when Mumbai struggled on 68/3 and scored 64 runs off 33 balls at a strike rate of 193.94, which included 6 fours and 4 sixes. His innings took Mumbai to a total of 197/6 in 20 overs, in reply to which Hyderabad managed 170.
Another of his terrific knocks came against the same team in 2013. Chasing 179, Mumbai were helped by Pollard’s unbeaten 66 off 27 balls, which finished the chase with three balls to spare. The swashbuckling batsman batted a strike rate of 244.44 while playing several unorthodox shots. A 31-ball 83 against Punjab in 2019 is also one of Pollard’s top IPL knocks in a run chase.
He has played 154 IPL innings for Mumbai, scoring more than 3000 runs at a strike rate of more than 150. Pollard has a calm head and his six hitting ability is second to one. This is why he is considered one of the greatest finisher in IPL.
Ab de Villiers – Royal Challengers Bangalore
The second biggest name in the RCB team after Virat Kohli, Ab de Villiers, is the sixth-highest run-scorer in the IPL. He has been particularly impressive in the death overs, in which he averages over 35 with a strike rate close to 200. He has also hit the second most number of 6s in the tournament’s history. With quite a few unconventional shots in his bags, de Villiers can hit the ball to nearly every part of the ground.
An unbeaten 79 off 47 balls is one of de Villiers’ best innings in the IPL. Batting first, the now-defunct Gujarat Lions posted 158 runs on the board before Dhaval Kulkarni dismantled RCB’s top order under five overs. By the time de Villiers came out to bat, Kohli, Gayle, Rahul and Sachin Baby had all gone back to the dugout. The equation came down to RCB needing 63 off the last six overs. Batting with the tail, de Villiers scored 79* off 47, hitting five sixes and as many fours and taking his side over the line.
Other knocks by de Villiers that stand out are a 41-ball 89* against Hyderabad in 2014, 17-ball 47* against Deccan Chargers in 2012 and 109* off 52 in 2016 against Gujarat.
Conclusion of Best Finisher in IPL
While the topic of the best finisher in IPL remains a bone of contention among fans, there is little doubt that MS Dhoni is the best finisher in IPL history.
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