In the Indian Premier League, the middle overs are regarded as the easiest time to bowl for a variety of reasons. Batsmen tend to slow down after the powerplay in a bid to get settled at the crease. Also, the ball gets old and more often than not there is some help in India for spinners. All these factors add up to even the best of hitters having a low strike rate in the middle overs. Batsmen who can accelerate with ease in the middle overs are extremely rare. In this article, we will look at five batsmen with the best strike rate in the middle overs in the IPL.
Note:- The middle overs refer to overs 7 to 16. Only batsmen who have played a minimum of 500 balls in the middle overs have been considered for this article. This article was written before the start of game number 40 of IPL 2021.
#5 Shane Watson – 155.34
All of Watson’s best IPL knocks have a set template. He starts relatively slow in the powerplay and then explodes in the middle overs. His innings in the 2018 IPL final followed an exactly similar pattern. He struggled to put bat to ball in the powerplay but all of a sudden looked in imperious form once the field spread out. He has scored 2164 runs in the middle overs, including 119 sixes.
#4 Glenn Maxwell – 155.67
Maxwell made a name for himself as a middle overs’ destructor with his ruthless hitting against spin. He can play literally every shot in the book, and his unorthodox style often confuses the bowlers. Maxwell has 1289 runs in the middle overs, including 88 fours and 88 sixes. In his overall IPL career, Maxwell has 1805 runs at a strike rate of 151.68.
#3 Andre Russell – 157.24
In the IPL, Russell has the third-highest strike rate in the middle overs, largely due to his phenomenal power. Russell makes six-hitting look ridiculously easy, irrespective of the size of the boundaries. He has scored 923 runs in the middle overs, but has run two only on 20 occasions in 61 innings. This stat clearly shows how often Russell has relied on his strength in the middle overs.
Russell has scored 72 sixes and 64 fours in the middle overs. In his overall IPL career, Russell strikes at 178.57 and has scored 1700 runs.
#2 Chris Gayle – 159.12
The Universe Boss has 2188 runs in the middle overs, including a record tally of 179 sixes. Like Watson, Gayle takes some time to settle at the crease and likes targeting the spinners after the powerplay. His brutal power makes it impossible for the spinners to pitch the ball up even with five fielders in the boundary.
At Punjab Kings, Gayle has re-invented himself at the one-down position, playing slower than usual. In his overall IPL career, Gayle averages 40 and strikes at 149.11.
#1 Virender Sehwag – 173.54
Topping the list of batsmen with the best strike rate in the middle overs of IPL is the legendary Virender Sehwag. His boundary hitting in the powerplay has made people overlook his outstanding record in the middle overs. He has scored 1102 runs from overs 7 to 16, including 101 fours and 57 sixes. He scores a lot of fours even after the powerplay ends, which speaks volumes of his ability to pick the gap to perfection.
Sehwag was 29 when the first IPL started, but that did not stop him from creating a legacy in the world’s premier T-20 tournament. He averages 27.56 and strikes at 155 in his overall IPL career.