It was back in February 2005 that the first-ever men’s T20 international was played in the history of cricket. In the last 16 years, it has become arguably the most popular format of the game. Batters have found ways to innovate, adapt and find new ways of scoring runs. The scoring rates have gone through the roof and batting has evolved in a massive way.
A total of 1164 T20Is have been played in the last 16 years and as many as 65 batsmen have amassed 1000+ runs in their T20I careers. But out of those, only 11 of those have gone past the 2000-run mark and only one has breached the 3000-run mark. Here, we take a look at the top five run-getters in the history of men’s T20I cricket.
Virat Kohli – 3159 runs
There is absolutely no surprise that Virat Kohli is at the top of the tree as far as the most runs are concerned in men’s T20I cricket. He has been supremely consistent in all three formats and he is the only cricketer in the world to average in excess of 50 in each of the three formats. Kohli isn’t your typical T20 batsman. He doesn’t really muscle the ball or plays the lap or the reserve sweep. He doesn’t really hit a lot of sixes either. However, the Indian skipper just finds a way and invariably scores big runs.
Kohli is the first and only male player to have scaled the 3000-run mark in T20Is. He has amassed a staggering 3159 runs at an average of 52.65 and he is striking at 139.04. The Delhi-born lad has smashed 28 half-centuries, which is not only the most fifties in the history of T20I cricket but also the most number of 50+ scores. Moreover, Kohli has won two Man of the Tournament awards in the last two ICC T20 World Cups (2014 and 2016).
Martin Guptill – 2939 runs
Martin Guptill is not often lauded for his exploits in white-ball cricket over the last decade or so. But be it in ODI cricket or T20Is, Guptill has been a pretty consistent player at the top of the order for New Zealand. He made his debut across all three formats in the span of three months back in 2009 and became a regular in both ODIs and T20Is in his very first year of international cricket.
In the shortest format, Guptill has the second most runs for any male cricketer. He has amassed 2939 runs at an average of 32.29 and has a strike-rate of 136.82. Moreover, he has recorded 17 half-centuries and a couple of hundreds as well. In addition to this, the Auckland-born opener has the ability to find the fence regularly as well. He has smashed 147 sixes, which is the most for any player in the history of T20I cricket and is 14 ahead of the second-best. He also has the second most number of fours in the T20I cricket history – 256.
Rohit Sharma – 2864 runs
Early on in his career, Rohit Sharma could make the world sit up and take notice at his brilliance or slash him for throwing his wicket away. The ability was evident but consistency just wasn’t there. He showed flashes of brilliance but could never really make it big until the time he started opening the batting in 2013.
Moving to the top of the order changed his life and career and the Mumbai-born batsman hasn’t looked back since. Right from the start of his career, Rohit has had the tendency of playing some match-winning knocks and he did play some in T20I cricket as well.
Till 2013, Rohit scored at most one fifty in a calendar year but since the start of 2014, he started becoming a lot more consistent. He has scored 17 out of his 22 fifties and all of his four hundreds opening the batting. Moreover, almost 84% of his T20I runs have come when he has batted at the top of the order. Overall, he has aggregated 2864 runs at an average of 32.54 and a strike-rate of 138.96. Furthermore, his four hundreds are the most in the history of T20I cricket. Also, with 133 sixes, he is second on the list of most sixes in T20I history.
Mohammad Hafeez – 2388 runs
It was way back in 2003 that Mohammad Hafeez made his first appearance for Pakistan in international cricket. He was constantly in and out of the Pakistan squad across all three formats in the first 7-8 years but since 2010 and 2011, he has been a regular member of the Pakistan side. The veteran off-spinning all-rounder has been a pretty consistent performer for Pakistan across all three formats over the last decade.
Be it with bat or ball, Hafeez has constantly delivered. In T20I cricket, he has been pretty good. He has mustered 2388 runs at an average of 27.13, which puts him on the fourth spot on the list of most runs in the history of T20Is in men’s cricket. With the ball, he has picked up 55 wickets at an economy of 6.55. Hafeez is the only all-rounder in world cricket to score in excess of 2000 runs and take 50 wickets.
Aaron Finch – 2346 runs
Aaron Finch isn’t really rated very highly around the world among the opening batsmen in white-ball cricket. However, he has been pretty consistent at the top of the order for Australia in both ODIs and T20Is. In fact, his T20 game is slightly underrated and he is a gun opening batsman. He has constantly got big runs and has performed well for Australia over the years.
The current Australian white-ball captain has accumulated 2346 runs at an average of 38.45. Moreover, he has a superb strike rate of 152.14. That strike rate is the third-best for any male cricketer with more than 1500 runs in T20I cricket. In addition to this, Finch is the only player in the history of T20I cricket to make two scores in excess of 150. He is also one of the only six male cricketers to have hit more than 100 sixes in T20Is.