The Indian Premier League has seen some of the world's elite batsmen produce the kind of big-hitting entertainment that fans love over the past month.
The heaviest hitters have come from all corners of the globe to compete in the IPL and this season's pursuit of the Orange Cap—the award for the highest run scorer—is being strongly contested.
Kolkata Knight Riders claimed a win over the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, which sees their chances of making the play-offs improve dramatically. Here's a look at how the top batsmen have performed in the tournament so far.
|Glenn Maxwell||Kings XI Punjab||10||517||95|
|Dwayne Smith||Chennai Super Kings||10||440||79|
|Robin Uthappa||Kolkata Knight Riders||10||382||80|
|David Warner||Sunrisers Hyderabad||10||341||65|
|Brendon McCullum||Chennai Super Kings||10||333||71 (Not Out)|
Glenn Maxwell remains perched in a league of his own as things stand, with the league-leading Kings XI Punjab reaping the rewards.
Maxwell's tally of 517 runs is 77 more than current runner-up Dwayne Smith, and it would require a substantial drop in playing time for the Australian to risk seeing his supremacy fade.
Behind those two lies Robin Uthappa, who—after hitting 80 runs off 52 balls in Wednesday's clash against the Mumbai Indians—looks in far better shape to make a late run at the post-season honours, scoring 382 in his 10 innings thus far.
ESPN Cricinfo was quick to take note of the Indian's consistency this season for the Knight Riders:
47, 45, 47, 46 and now 57* - Robin Uthappa's IPL is looking good. http://t.co/w3WF6JrJWx— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) May 14, 2014
And it's two more Australasian stars who complete the reigning top five, with Australia's David Warner and New Zealand's Brendon McCullum poised on 341 and 333 runs, respectively.
Orange Cap Contenders
Those names mentioned above will surely consider themselves to be the favourites for the Orange Cap, but can we expect to see others come into the reckoning with just under a fortnight of the regular campaign remaining?
AB de Villiers possesses the eighth-highest strike rate in the IPL as things stand (158.29), and only three more players in the league have managed to best his tally of three 50-plus finishes this term. What's more, the South African has only played nine innings compared to the 10 that most of his rivals have featured in and still managed to knock 315 runs.
With 295 runs to his name, another dark horse worth watching is De Villiers' Bangalore team-mate Yuvraj Singh, who has recorded 24 sixes this season, the third-highest amount of any player in the competition.
Singh is currently acres away from Maxwell in the standings, admittedly, but things can change drastically by the game in the IPL, and a little luck would go a long way for the Indian all-rounder.
Highest Batting Averages
|Naman Ojha||Sunrisers Hyderabad||6||141||4||70.50|
|Kedar Jadhav||Delhi Daredevils||6||139||4||69.50|
|JP Duminy||Delhi Daredevils||10||332||5||66.40|
|Glenn Maxwell||Kings XI Punjab||10||517||0||51.70|
|MS Dhoni||Chennai Super Kings||10||195||6||48.75|
Despite leading the league in overall runs scored, Maxwell's 517 has come by way of sporadic spikes in his batting, having knocked two scores of 95 and an additional total of 90 thus far—meaning his batting average of 51.70 is only the fourth best in the division.
Instead, Hyderabad's Naman Ojha boasts the best average at 70.50, but the fact he's played just six innings means he's prevented from stepping further into the Orange Cap race.
It's a similar story for Delhi Daredevils batsman Kedar Jadhav, who is just shy of Ojha with an average of 69.50 after facing 88 balls in six innings.
Cricket Country's Navneet Mundhra believes the Daredevils' misuse of their biggest talents has affected their season for the worse:
It has costed Delhi Daredevils at least 4-5 matches for not sending JP Duminy at no.3 and Kedar Jadhav at 4. Mayank Agarwal over Duminy?— Navneet Mundhra (@navneet_mundhra) May 13, 2014
Jadhav's Delhi team-mate JP Duminy is the more ideal blend of weighted involvement and consistent scoring figures, with his 10 innings producing a run total of 332 at an average of 66.40.