The seventh edition of the IPL is on the home straight, and, in terms of big hitting, the 2014 tournament has been an absolute cracker.
After Match 48—a loss for the table-topping Kings XI Punjab to a resurgent Mumbai Indians—an incredible 533 sixes had been scored, per IPLT20.com.
With Punjab and Chennai having already confirmed their places in the knockout stages, the chase for the final two qualifying spots is on.
Let's take a look at who's leading the way in the batting stakes.
Here's a look at the players who have punished bowlers most frequently so far in IPL 2014—the batsmen with the most runs and the best averages after Wednesday's matches:
|IPL 2014: Highest Run Scorers|
|IPL 2014: Best Averages|
Glenn Maxwell has been the star man with the bat throughout this tournament and he continues to retain his place at the head of the race for the Orange Cap with his haul of 533 runs.
Along with David Miller and George Bailey, Maxwell makes up part of the most formidable middle order in the tournament.
Kings XI have been scoring for fun so far, recording an enormous total of 231 runs from their 20 overs as they beat Chennai Super Kings in early May.
Maxwell scored a fabulous 38-ball 90 in that game, as Punjab worked their way to the biggest total of the tournament so far.
Robin Uthappa has been the key man for Kolkata, who currently sit in the last qualifying spot with two games remaining for each side.
His team's official Twitter feed reports his recent imperious and record-breaking form:
If he carries on at this rate, he may well pip Maxwell to the post for most tournament runs, with many believing that he is playing his way into contention for an international call-up:
Leading the averages is Lendl Simmons, who became the first man to score a century in this year's tournament during Mumbai's win over Kings XI on Wednesday, per the IPL:
Brought into the tournament late as a replacement for Jalaj Saxena, the West Indian has made an instant impact as Mumbai have surged into fifth after a terrible opening to the campaign.
Rishi Dhawan's lofty position is the result of a string of not outs during the tournament, but JP Duminy's average is fully deserved.
The South African has been very consistent so far in a team that currently sit rock bottom of the table with just two wins from 12 matches.
The race is very much on for top run-scorer in IPL7, and although Maxwell looked to have the honour in the bag early on in the tournament, Uthappa or Dwayne Smith could unseat him with one big score.
However, it would be a brave man who would bet against the Australian ending the competition at the top of the batting pile.
Another leaderboard that Maxwell sits atop is the one for the most maximums. He has cleared the rope 35 times in his 12 innings so far.
Let's take a look at the most prolific six-hitters of the IPL:
|IPL 2014: Most Sixes|
|AB de Villiers||Bangalore||11||24|
Maxwell has some way to go to eclipse Chris Gayle's record of 59 sixes in the 2012 tournament, but you can bet that he will have added plenty more by the end of the tournament.
Dwayne Smith has been another consistent maximum man in the tournament so far, racking up 29 sixes—eight of which coming during his 51-ball 79 against Delhi Daredevils, per ESPNcricinfo.
It's no surprise to see Yuvraj Singh in there, the Indian middle-order batsmen is famed for his big hitting at international level as well as in the IPL.
Both he and fourth-placed AB de Villiers have impressive balls-to-sixes ratios in the tournament. Yuvraj's 26 have come from 242 balls faced, while De Villiers has 24 maximums from 230 balls, per IPLT20.com.
As ever, the IPL has provided rich entertainment with big hitting galore and rapid run-scoring to all corners of every ground.
The likes of Maxwell and Smith have caught the eye up to this point of the competition, but it will all count for little if their runs dry up at the business end of the tournament.
There is plenty more entertainment still to come as teams fight for their lives in the IPL.
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