Ranking the Top 50 Players in IPL History

Tim Collins@@TimDCollinsFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2014

Ranking the Top 50 Players in IPL History

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    Mahesh Kumar A

    Cricket's richest competition has once again arrived, with the 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League set to begin on Wednesday.

    Following on from the success of the ICC World Twenty20, the planet's most explosive and skilful stars will shed their nation's colours for the uniforms of eight glamorous and powerful IPL franchises.

    But before this year's competition gets underway, let's look back and examine the finest players to have ever competed in cricket's modern-age phenomenon, by ranking the top 50 IPL players of all time.

    Both the rankings and the methodology used to determine them are presented across the following slides.

    Note: Images of some players competing in the IPL were unavailable at the time of writing.

Calculating the Rankings Step 1: Determining a Player's Role

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    Tom Shaw/Getty Images

    Accumulated statistics form the basis of the statistical formula used to determine these rankings, but it's important to identify a player's true role before evaluating which statistics hold a relevance to each particular player.

    For instance, a strike bowler should be judged on his bowling statistics alone to prevent his ranking from being harmed by a handful on inconsequential low scores with the bat. The same should apply for a top-order batsman who bowls the odd over from time to time. 

    Therefore, each player is only judged by the statistics that apply to his given role in the side, with the bulk of players being assessed as purely batsmen or bowlers. 

    A player is only determined to be an all-rounder if he has batted and bowled in at least 66 percent of his total matches played.

    All other players are judged purely as batsmen and bowlers, and therefore, only the relevant statistics will be examined.

Calculating the Rankings Step 2: Points Allocation

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    Bikas Das

    As with all rankings systems, it was critically important to remove the heavy bias of opinion from these rankings by formulating an algorithm that could objectively evaluate the performances of each player.

    The first step in that process was to award points for each basic statistic accumulated by each player across the six completed IPL seasons to date.

    The points awarded for each basic statistic are listed below:


Calculating the Rankings Step 3: Rate of Performance

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    Saurabh Das

    Given the time constraints inherent in Twenty20 cricket and its emphasis on the rate of scoring, it was vital that each player's accumulated statistics were measured against strike rates (for batsmen) and economy rates (for bowlers).

    To do this, it was necessary to establish a "par" measurement, by averaging the strike rates and economy rates of all players across the six completed IPL seasons.


    With those "par" numbers attained, each player had his statistics measured against the rate at which they were accumulated.

    Batting Examples:

    Batsman 12,250114.62122.840.93 (114.62/122.84)2,092.5
    Batsman 21,950147.81122.841.20 (147.81/122.84)2,340

    Bowling Examples:

    Bowler 11,7808.767.670.88 (7.67/8.76)1,566.4
    Bowler 21,6006.417.671.20 (7.67/6.41)1,920

    As you can see, performing this step ensures that quick scoring and tight bowling are rewarded, reflecting the standout factors that are inherent in Twenty20 cricket.

Calculating the Rankings Step 4: Adjusted Points Per Innings

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    Rajanish Kakade

    The final step in the algorithm averages a player's Adjusted Points Total across the number of innings that are relevant to that player.

    This ensures that players are judged on a per-innings basis, rather than raw, accumulated totals.

    To do this, the Adjusted Points Totals from each player's batting and/or bowling statistics are divided by the number of innings to determine each player's Adjusted Points Per Innings.

    Example (All-Rounder):


    For a player to qualify he must have played in a minimum of 14 IPL matches, which represents the minimum amount of matches played by a franchise in one full IPL season.

Limitations of the Ranking Algorithm

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    Mahesh Kumar A

    Every statistical algorithm has its limitations and this one is no exception.

    However, it's important to outline the limitations that are inherent in this objective ranking system.

    1. The formula can't account for the match situation. Therefore, runs and wickets compiled in pressured situations don't carry more significance than those accumulated at other times.

    2. The system can only judge a player on the accumulated statistics identified in the points-allocation slide. For example, a bowler who goes wicketless in an impressive spell will receive fewer points than a bowler who claims two fortunate wickets in an otherwise loose spell.

    3. In using par-adjusted strikes rates, the algorithm cannot determine if a player was forced to operate in a defensive manner following the loss of wickets.

    4. The system can't account for the varying degrees of scoring that occur in different conditions and venues.

    5. By judging players on a per-innings basis, this system will inherently favour those who have competed in fewer innings, as it's easier to maintain higher levels of performance across shorter time periods.

    6. Another downfall of evaluating players on a per-innings basis is that all-rounders are hurt by their performances in a match representing two separate scores rather than one. 

    7. The system also can't take into account unbeaten innings, meaning the average-boosting effects of not outs mean little here.

50. Yo Mahesh

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    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils

    Innings: 17

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.18

    A name rather unfamiliar with fans outside of India, Yo Mahesh made an immediate impact in the IPL with the Delhi Daredevils under the guidance of former Australian paceman Glenn McGrath.

    In 13 matches with the Delhi-based outfit, Mahesh claimed 18 wickets at a superb strike rate of 15.7—the second-best mark in franchise history.

    In 2011, the quick-armed speedster was signed by the Chennai Super Kings, but he failed to secure a regular place and hasn't played in the IPL since 2012.

49. Steven Smith

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    Team(s): Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Pune Warriors, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Innings: 21

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.37

    Steven Smith will represent his fourth IPL franchise in the 2014 edition of the tournament, joining the Rajasthan Royals after an impressive summer in Australia and South Africa.

    In a short and interrupted IPL career, the 24-year-old has compiled 521 runs at an average of 40.07, to go along with an impressive strike rate of 130.57.

    In addition to his batting, Smith's dynamic fielding and useful leg-spin should see the Australian become a key component in this year's Rajasthan side.

48. Azhar Mahmood

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    Team(s): Kings XI Punjab

    Innings: 42

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.45

    Azhar Mahmood was an extremely useful all-rounder for Kings XI Punjab in 2012 and 2013, accumulating 382 runs and 29 wickets in his 22 appearances for the team.

    Included in that run tally are two impressive 50s, while his IPL economy rate of 7.61 sneaks in under the competition's par measure.

    However, with the franchise failing to make it to the semi-finals since the competition's inaugural season, the former Pakistani hasn't been re-signed by the team, and he finds himself unwanted for the 2014 edition.

47. Pragyan Ojha

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    Themba Hadebe

    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians

    Innings: 77

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.52

    The fourth highest wicket-taker in IPL history, Pragyan Ojha has been an incredibly consistent performer for the Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians.

    Across 79 matches, the slow left-armer has 85 wickets at an economy rate of 7.18 and an average of 22.69.

    Counting against Ojha is these rankings, however, is his lack of match-winning performances—the 27-year-old is yet to claim more than three wickets in an innings, with his best figures of 3/11 some way behind the leading bowlers on this list.

46. Sanath Jayasuriya

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    Themba Hadebe

    Team(s): Mumbai Indians

    Innings: 51

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.68

    It's unfortunate that the T20 boom arrived during the twilight of Sanath Jayasuriya's career, for few players of previous generations have been as perfectly suited to the format as the mighty Sri Lankan.

    Yet, during a short stint with the Mumbai Indians, the dashing left-hander reminded us of his incredible talents, smashing 768 runs at a strike rate of 144.36.

    The most unforgettable of his performances was a blistering and unbeaten 114 that came from just 48 balls against the Chennai Super Kings in 2008.

45. Ravichandran Ashwin

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    Saurabh Das

    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings

    Innings: 65

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.79

    Ravichandran Ashwin is perhaps one of the more unfortunate casualties of the formula used to determine these rankings, such has been his impact on the T20 game.

    With 65 IPL wickets at a sublime economy rate of 6.34, the off-spinner has been one of the most effective bowlers in the tournament's history and a significant contributor to the ongoing success of the Chennai Super Kings.

    However, his inflated strike rate of 22.3 across his 67 matches (less than one wicket per match) and a failure to capture any four or five-wicket hauls means Ashwin falls behind some of the other prolific bowlers on this list.

44. Mahela Jayawardene

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Kochi Tuskers Kerala

    Innings: 78

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 27.04

    With his fluent and stylish approach, Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene has been a successful batsman for three IPL franchises across all six seasons of the competition.

    In 80 matches, the right-hander has piled on 1,802 runs at an average of 28.60, which includes 10 fifties and one glorious hundred—an innings that propelled Kings XI Punjab past the Kolkata Knight Riders in their chase of 201 during the 2010 season.

    The only factor holding Jayawardene back in these rankings is a somewhat subdued strike rate (123.26) in comparison to the most explosive batsmen on this list.

43. Rahul Dravid

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    Team(s): Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Innings: 82

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 28.09

    Rahul Dravid certainly wasn't the prototypical T20 batsmen, but the prolific Indian right-hander still managed to become an important figure for his sides during his IPL career.

    Despite a relatively sluggish strike rate of 115.52, Dravid relentlessly piled on the runs to finish with a tally of 2,174 at an average of 28.23—a number more impressive than it seems given that he finished not out only five times in 82 innings.

    As Rajasthan's captain, Dravid was also hugely influential in his team's run to the semi-finals in 2013, a run that saw the former Indian powerhouse compile four important fifties. 

42. Kumar Sangakkara

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    Mahesh Kumar A

    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Innings: 68

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 28.10

    Another veteran on this list, Kumar Sangakkara enjoyed a blistering opening to his IPL career, before tailing off somewhat in the years since 2008.

    In the inaugural season with the Deccan Chargers, the Sri Lankan thumped 320 runs at an average of 35.55 and a strike rate of 161.61 to become one of the format's finest batsmen.

    Collectively, Sangakkara's IPL run tally sits at 1,687 at an average of 25.95, but he has failed to recapture the form he displayed in the competition's first edition.

41. Amit Singh

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    Aman Sharma

    Team(s): Rajasthan Royals

    Innings: 23

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 28.41

    Amit Singh rose to prominence when the right-arm medium-pacer was signed by the Rajasthan Royals in 2009. That saw him embark on a successful stint with the franchise.

    In 23 appearances, Singh claimed 28 wickets at a strike rate of 16.8, which included best figures of 4/19.

    However, Singh will notoriously be remembered as one of the central figures in the spot-fixing scandal that marred the 2013 edition of the IPL. In September, the Indian was banned from cricket for five years, after it had been revealed that he was one of the bookies involved in the operation.

40. Shakib Al Hasan

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    Rajanish Kakade

    Team(s): Kolkata Knight Riders

    Innings: 25

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 28.70

    Despite being Bangladesh's pre-eminent all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan has exerted most of his influence in the IPL with the ball in hand.

    In only 15 matches, Shakib has 23 wickets at a superb average of 16.08. To make that more impressive, the Bangladeshi's economy rate has been a miserly 6.66.

    On a per-innings basis, however, Al Hasan's ranking is hurt due to 10 innings with the bat which have produced just 120 runs. If he were to be judged as a bowler alone, he'd find himself among the top 20 but having batted in 67 percent of his matches, he's classed as a all-rounder here, and thus, he is judged by both statistical components.

39. Parvinder Awana

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    Manish Swarup

    Team(s): Kings XI Punjab

    Innings: 26

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 28.88

    Another player barely known outside of Indian, Parvinder Awana has proved to be valuable wicket-taking option for Kings XI Punjab in his two seasons with the franchise. 

    Across 26 appearances, the medium-pacer has claimed an impressive 32 wickets at a strike rate of just 18.9. The right-armer has also claimed a valuable four-wicket haul, boosting his ranking here.

    Ahead of the 2014 season, Kings XI Punjab has re-signed Awana, indicating that he's viewed as an important part of the team's aspirations again this year.

38. Ryan Harris

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    Themba Hadebe

    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab

    Innings: 37

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 28.90

    Injuries have ruined Ryan Harris' limited-overs career, with the speedster intent on prolonging his Test career at the expense of his participation in other formats

    However, during his brief involvement in the Indian Premier League, Harris was impressive in claiming 45 wickets from 37 innings with the ball at a strike rate of 18.5.

    While an economy rate of 7.55 is surprisingly high for someone blessed with Harris' accuracy, the bustling right-armer is among those to have claimed a four-wicket haul when he captured 4/34 during an impressive 2012 campaign.

37. Owais Shah

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    Mahesh Kumar A

    Team(s): Delhi Daredevils, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Kolkata Knight RidersRajasthan Royals

    Innings: 22

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 29.17

    Despite bouncing from franchise to franchise, Owais Shah has been a valuable asset for teams in the IPL during his stint in the T20 competition.

    In 23 matches, the right-handed Englishman has collected 506 runs with four fifties at a strike rate of 130.08.

    It was in 2012 that Shah really made his impact in India, scoring 340 runs in the middle order for the Rajasthan Royals, which included a brilliant 76 from 42 balls against Lasith Malinga's Mumbai Indians and a thunderous 60 from 26 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

36. Brendon McCullum

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    Saurabh Das

    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Kolkata Knight Riders

    Innings: 48

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 29.54

    Brendon McCullum hasn't quite reached the heights of his T20 international form in the IPL to date.

    The New Zealander is, of course, the leading T20 run-scorer on the international stage, but his 1,239 runs at a strike rate of 123.16 from 48 IPL matches is quite a way short of his record in Kiwi colours.

    Yet, although his average of 27.53 isn't stellar, McCullum's rating is boosted here by the colossal 158 not out from 73 deliveries he smashed in the inaugural edition of the tournament—the first century ever witnessed in the IPL.

35. Munaf Patel

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals

    Innings: 61

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 29.72

    One of only 13 men with more than 70 IPL wickets, Munaf Patel was once an incisive seamer for the Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals.

    Across 61 matches, Patel claimed 73 wickets at a strike rate of 17.9, which included the capture of two four-wicket hauls and an elusive five-wicket haul. 

    However, Patel's career has been dogged by injury in recent years, and after failing to live up to his $700,000 price tag in 2011, the seamer has been left out of this year's IPL tournament.

34. JP Duminy

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    Rajanish Kakade

    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Innings: 38

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.10

    South Africa's JP Duminy has been among his nation's leading limited-overs batsmen for some time, with the left-hander's consistency earning him regular selection in the IPL.

    Indeed, during his 39-match career, Duminy has amassed 978 runs with eight fifties at an outstanding average of 36.22.

    While his strike rate of 119.27 is lower than many on this list, the South African's ability to absorb pressure and excel in difficult circumstances is perhaps his finest attribute—something that was made evident in his calm 74 to lead Deccan past Bangalore when none of his teammates passed 16 in 2012.

33. Murali Vijay

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    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils

    Innings: 64

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.50

    One of only four men to score two or more centuries in the IPL, Murali Vijay continues to be regarded among the best T20 batsmen in India. 

    In 64 matches, Vijay has raced to 1,600 runs at a strike rate of 127.89, which has included two centuries and seven fifties.

    The emphatic 127 from just 56 balls against Rajasthan for Chennai in 2010 is still considered as one of the best innings witnessed in the IPL's history.

32. Aaron Finch

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Delhi Daredevils, Pune Warriors, Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Innings: 23

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.65

    Aaron Finch has earned himself a big reputation in T20 cricket in recent years, with his exploits in Australian colours propelling him to the pinnacle of the format's international batting rankings.

    However, Finch hasn't quite transferred that irresistible international form into the IPL as yet, with his 23 matches to date having yielded 579 runs with four fifties at a strike rate of 127.53.

    In the 2014 player auction, Finch was purchased by Sunrisers Hyderabad, and he will be looking to improve on his performances for Australia in the ICC World Twenty20.

31. Ajinkya Rahane

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals

    Innings: 50

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.67

    Ajinkya Rahane is not regarded as the most explosive of batsmen, but the Indian right-hander is among the most consistent in T20 cricket.

    In his IPL career, Rahane has amassed 1,316 runs from 54 matches at an impressive average of 31.33.

    And although his strike rate of 116.56 is considerably lower than others on this list, Rahane's blistering 103 not out from 60 deliveries against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2012 showed the slight right-hander can match it with the best of them.

30. Dale Steyn

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    Mahesh Kumar A

    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Innings: 69

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.74

    At first glance, it's impossible to understand how Dale Steyn finds himself in the bottom half of these 50 players.

    With 78 wickets from 69 matches at a sublime economy rate of 6.34, the South African's record appears to stack up with the rest of them.

    However, what hurts Steyn in these rankings is the speed with which he claims his victims in the IPL. Without any four or five-wicket hauls and a strike rate of 20.4, the speedster is well behind some of his competitors when wicket-taking is measured on a per-innings basis as it is here.

29. Ravi Bopara

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    Tom Shaw/Getty Images

    Team(s): Kings XI Punjab

    Innings: 14

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 31.07

    Ravi Bopara is recognised as an all-rounder but having bowled in only 47 percent of his IPL matches, the Englishman is viewed as a batsman in these rankings (see Slide 2 for details).

    That is something that is beneficial to Bopara, as his brief 15-match IPL career to date has yielded 386 runs with three fifties at an average of 29.69, which like Rahul Dravid's, is more impressive than it looks due to Bopara finishing not out only once.

    However, despite his versatility, Bopara went unsold in the recent IPL auction, meaning the Englishman won't be on show in India this year.

28. Virat Kohli

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    Saurabh Das

    Team(s): Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Innings: 85

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 31.19

    Just how did Virat Kohli manage to come in at No. 28 on this list? Strike rate is the answer.

    While the precocious Indian has compiled 2,273 runs at an average of 31.56, Kohli's strike rate sits just above the tournament's average at 124.13.

    Furthermore, Kohli's average is boosted by 13 not outs during his IPL career, which is something this formula can't account for when evaluating players on the raw values of each innings.

27. Anil Kumble

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    Team(s): Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Innings: 42

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 31.72

    Despite entering the IPL in the twilight of his career, Anil Kumble's fast and accurate spin bowling proved to be a valuable weapon for his side in the competition's early seasons.

    In 42 appearances, the former Indian captain claimed 45 wickets, which included two four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul; doing so at a superb economy rate of 6.58.

    In fact, Kumble's incredible 5/5 performance against the Rajasthan Royals in 2009 is still considered as one of the finest bowling performances the IPL has ever seen.

26. AB De Villiers

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    Team(s): Delhi Daredevils, Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Innings: 66

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 32.65

    Like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers finds himself lower on this list than expected, due to the South African recording 18 not outs in 66 innings—the bulk of which have been very brief cameos when playing in the middle order.

    De Villiers' record suggests as much, with his 1,662 runs at an average of 34.62 being enhanced by the sheer number of unbeaten innings. Were you to simply average his runs across all innings regardless of not outs, his per-innings contribution would be 25.18.

    That's not to suggest that De Villiers hasn't been stellar—he most definitely has. With an IPL strike rate of 134.90 to go along with 10 fifties and one century, the South African has been a star in India.

25. Amit Mishra

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    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Innings: 76

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 32.99

    The second-leading wicket-taker in the IPL's history, Amit Mishra has been a prolific and extremely effective spinner in India's domestic T20 league.

    Across 76 matches, the leg-spinner has claimed 95 wickets at an average of 20.25, which has included two four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul. 

    Along with an economy rate of 6.93 and two of the finest bowling performances seen in the IPL, Mishra's record is up there with the best of them.

24. Sreenath Aravind

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Innings: 14

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 33.07

    Put simply, Sreenath Aravind is the biggest beneficiary of the formula used in these rankings.

    While 21 wickets from 14 matches at a strike rate of just 14.0 appears impressive, Aravind's economy rate of 8.48 is the worst mark of any bowler on this list.

    But due to a small sample size (his 14 matches just scrape past the qualification mark), the seamer's per-innings influence has been substantial, meaning Aravind has been propelled fortuitously ahead of others in these rankings.

23. Kevon Cooper

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Team(s): Rajasthan Royals

    Innings: 20

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 33.25

    Kevon Cooper is another player to benefit from a small sample size, having made just 20 appearances for the Rajasthan Royals.

    In those matches, the right-arm medium-pacer has claimed 29 victims at a superb strike rate of 16.1. Among that tally is a four-wicket haul, which also helps to boost his rating here.

    Cooper will wear the Royals colours again in 2014, and although he's made a successful start to his IPL career, he'll undoubtedly want to improve on his two campaigns in India thus far. 

22. Shikhar Dhawan

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    Mahesh Kumar A

    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Innings: 67

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 33.48

    Shikhar Dhawan has been out of favour in the India T20 team in recent times, but the left-handed opener is the owner of a magnificent IPL record. 

    Across 68 matches, Dhawan has scorched his way to 1,851 runs at an average of 32.47, which has included 16 fifties. While a strike rate of 122.42 is right on the tournament average, the left-hander's consistency has been indispensable in recent seasons.

    In 2014, Dhawan will be among the key figures for a new-look Sunrisers Hyderabad team.

21. Sachin Tendulkar

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    Team(s): Mumbai Indians

    Innings: 78

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 33.88

    Like other players of his generation, Sachin Tendulkar participated in the IPL during the twilight years of his career. It's tantalising to imagine what Tendulkar might have achieved in the format had he tackled the glamorous competition during his prime.

    Despite that, the Indian maestro still triumphed in the competition, amassing 2,334 runs in 78 matches at an average of 34.83.

    Along with 13 fifties, Tendulkar also clubbed a memorable unbeaten 100 from just 66 balls against Kochi in 2011. 

    The only factor counting against his ranking here is his modest strike rate of 119.81.

20. Mitchell Johnson

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    Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Team(s): Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians

    Innings: 17

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 33.97

    Mitchell Johnson has only played 17 IPL matches, but much like he did to England and South Africa this winter, the left-armer has terrorised the front-foot happy T20 batsmen in India.

    With 24 wickets from his limited match tally, the Australian speedster was among the most prolific wicket-takers in 2013, helped by his solid economy rate of 7.17.

    In fact, Johnson's savagery formed a key component in the Mumbai Indians' run to IPL glory in last year's edition.

19. Rohit Sharma

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    Rajanish Kakade

    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians

    Innings: 93

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 34.20

    Another of the prolific Indians, Rohit Sharma has been one of his nation's standout top-order performers since debuting in the IPL in 2008.

    From 97 matches, the smooth right-hander has cruised his way to 2,513 runs at an average of 32.63. And unlike some of his other aforementioned compatriots, Sharma's strike rate of 129.66 is comfortably above the tournament's all-time average.

    No innings summed up the 26-year-old's talent better than his unbeaten 109 from 60 deliveries against the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012.

18. Doug Bollinger

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings

    Innings: 27

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 34.33

    For a variety of reasons, Doug Bollinger has always been dismissed as a truly elite performer. Yet his IPL record suggests he's been a brilliant seamer in the IPL.

    From only 27 matches, the left-arm Australian quick has claimed 37 scalps, which includes a four-wicket haul that saw Bollinger claim 4/13 to push Chennai into the final of the 2010 tournament, which the team eventually went on to win.

    With an impressive strike rate of 15.5, Bollinger's wicket-taking capacity is rivalled by few, making his exclusion from the 2014 IPL a strange one.

17. Adam Gilchrist

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    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab

    Innings: 80

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 34.42

    It was inevitable that Adam Gilchrist would shine in the T20 arena and in the IPL the former Australian star did just that.

    From 80 appearances with the Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab, Gilchrist clubbed 2,069 runs at a strike rate of 138.39. In that tally are 11 fifties and two fabulous hundreds—one of which saw the Australian reach 106 not out from only 53 deliveries.

    Given his flamboyant approach, it's no surprise that Gilchrist's average of 27.22 is lower than that of others on this list. But that fact does little to diminish his record in the world's richest tournament.

16. Shane Watson

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    Mahesh Kumar A

    Team(s): Rajasthan Royals

    Innings: 105

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 34.83

    If Shane Watson was judged as a batsman only, he would be ranked at No. 5 on this list.

    Such has been the consistent brutality of his batting, Watson's record of 1,785 runs at an average of 39.66 and a strike rate of 145.59 is simply outstanding.

    However, given that he's bowled in 93 percent of his matches, the Australian is judged as an all-rounder in these rankings, which hurts him somewhat.

    Although Watson has claimed 48 wickets in his 55 matches, he's done so at a moderate strike rate of 22.1 and an economy of rate 7.16.

    With players being judged on a per-innings basis to level to playing field as best as possible, Watson's phenomenal achievements with the bat are lessened to a degree.

15. MS Dhoni

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    Themba Hadebe

    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings

    Innings: 84

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 35.13

    It's unfortunate that this system can't account for one's finishing ability, for MS Dhoni is among the most influential players to have ever competed in the IPL.

    Along with leading the Chennai Super Kings to two tournament victories, the Indian leader has smashed his way to 2,243 runs from 96 matches at a strike rate of 141.15.

    Like Virat Kohli, Dhoni's sublime average of 38.01 is boosted by a plethora of unbeaten innings (25 not outs), meaning his average is disproportionate to his raw per-innings contribution.

    If this ranking formula could factor in unbeaten innings and one's finishing ability, Dhoni would find himself considerably higher on this list.

14. David Warner

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    Team(s): Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Innings: 55

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 35.17

    David Warner has been an irresistible talent in T20 cricket ever since he made a spectacular debut for Australia in 2009.

    During his IPL career, the left-hander has been just as explosive, clubbing 1,435 runs from 55 matches at a strike rate of 133.11.

    Helping to propel Warner above others in these rankings are the number of milestones the Australian has reached—10 fifties and two centuries from just 55 innings represents one of the best milestone ratios in the tournament's history.

    Undoubtedly Warner's best performance in the IPL was his colossal 109 not out from just 54 balls against the Deccan Chargers in 2012.

13. Gautam Gambhir

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    Saurabh Das

    Team(s): Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders

    Innings: 87

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 35.32

    No player in IPL history has reached more batting milestones than Gautam Gambhir.

    With 20 fifties from his 87 innings, the Indian left-hander has accumulated 2,471 runs at an average of 31.67—a figure that includes just nine not outs.

    Gambhir was also instrumental in leading the Kolkata Knight Riders to the title in 2012, and he will look to do the same thing again as captain in 2014.

12. Mohit Sharma

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    Gallo Images/Getty Images

    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings

    Innings: 15

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 35.76

    Despite Mohit Sharma's IPL record being only brief, it is nonetheless impressive.

    Making his tournament debut last season with the Chennai Super Kings, the right-armer was outstanding in claiming 20 wickets from 15 appearances at an average of 16.30 and a strike rate of 15.2—the second-best mark in franchise history.

    Making that record more impressive is the seamer's economy rate, which at 6.43, is among the best figures in the tournament for seam-up bowlers.

    In 2014, Sharma will lead the way for his side with the ball, and he will look to build on an impressive debut campaign.

11. Lasith Malinga

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    Rajanish Kakade

    Team(s): Mumbai Indians

    Innings: 73

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 39.27

    Lasith Malinga is the undisputed king of T20 seam bowling, with his exploits in the IPL trumping all those counterparts who have endured the same length of time.

    In 73 matches, the slingy right-armer has claimed a tournament-high 103 wickets at an average of just 17.95 and a strike rate of 16.4. Adding to those numbers are the two four-wickets hauls and one five-wicket haul Malinga has claimed, all while operating at an economy rate of 6.54.

    The only thing preventing Malinga from appearing higher in these rankings is the inherent advantage given to batsmen in this system, given that it's easier to bat well above the average strike rate than it is to bowl below the average economy rate.

10. Suresh Raina

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings

    Innings: 95

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 40.00

    The leading run-scorer in IPL history, Suresh Raina continues to be a prolific batsmen for the Chennai Super Kings.

    One of the few stars to have remained with his original team, the left-hander has raced to 2,802 runs from 95 innings at an average of 35.02 and a strike rate of 141.37.

    Raina has also amassed 18 fifties and one glittering hundred—an innings that saw the relentless run-maker finish with 100 not out from just 53 balls in last year's tournament.

    As the most experienced IPL player in this year's tournament, Raina will be critical in Chennai's push for a third title in 2014.

9. Kevin Pietersen

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    Team(s): Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Innings: 21

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 41.55

    Due to the unfortunate timing of the IPL for English players, Kevin Pietersen's IPL career has been rather stunted.

    However, after being dumped from the England setup in the wake of his team's Ashes capitulation, that's set to change.

    Pietersen will captain the Delhi Daredevils in the 2014 edition, and he will look to build upon an already stellar record that includes 634 runs with three fifties and one century at a strike rate of 141.20.

    You certainly wouldn't bet against him turning this year's IPL on its head.

8. Virender Sehwag

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    Team(s): Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab

    Innings: 79

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 42.94

    Virender Sehwag has always been recognised among the most dangerous batsmen ever to have played the game, but his IPL record is almost unbelievable. 

    From 79 matches, the dashing Indian opener has bludgeoned his way to 2,174 runs with 15 fifties and one century, all the while operating at an outrageous strike rate of 160.32—a tournament-history high.

    His glittering 56-ball 119 in 2011 is perhaps the finest example of his staggering talents, and the only factor counting against him in these rankings is a comparatively moderate average of 29.37.

7. David Miller

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    Mahesh Kumar A

    Team(s): Kings XI Punjab

    Innings: 18

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 45.47

    David Miller's IPL career is only just beginning, but he has already shown he's a star in the making.

    Across just 18 matches, the South African has thundered his way to 516 runs at an average of 51.60 and an imposing strike rate of 156.83.

    More impressively, Miller has recorded three fifties and a monumental hundred in just 18 innings, propelling him into a lofty position on this list.

6. Matthew Hayden

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    Aman Sharma

    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings

    Innings: 32

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 45.72

    Like a handful of others already mentioned, the IPL arrived towards the latter stages of Matthew Hayden's career.

    Despite not having time on his side, the imposing Australian maintained his intimidating presence in the IPL, thumping 1,107 runs with eight fifties from only 32 innings at a strike rate of 137.51.

    Given that Hayden averaged a stunning 36.90 with only two not outs, it's easy to understand why he ranks so highly when judged on a per-innings basis.

5. Michael Hussey

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians

    Innings: 45

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 45.91

    Perhaps the most crafty and intelligent batsman on this list, Australia's Michael Hussey continues to be a phenomenon in the IPL.

    From his 45 innings, the gifted left-hander has cruised to 1,691 runs with 12 fifties and one century at a staggering average of 44.50. 

    Despite a moderate strike rate of 124.33, Hussey has played an integral role in Chennai's capture of two tournament titles, with his consistency alongside more explosive teammates providing his team with a sumptuous blend.

4. James Faulkner

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    Scott Barbour/Getty Images

    Team(s): Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors, Rajasthan Royals

    Innings: 19

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 47.68

    The 2013 IPL season was a breakout campaign for James Faulkner, who used his success in India to propel himself to the forefront of Australia's limited-overs line-ups.

    From just 19 IPL appearances, the Australian left-armer (he's judged as a bowler in this rankings) has claimed an impressive 32 wickets at a staggering strike rate of 13.7.

    Along with his fine economy rate of 6.94, the 23-year-old has also claimed two five-wicket hauls in his brief IPL stint thus far, and he was a key component of Rajasthan's run to the semi-finals in last year's tournament.

3. Shaun Marsh

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    Saurabh Das

    Team(s): Kings XI Punjab

    Innings: 49

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 52.10

    Another Australian to feature in the top 10, Shaun Marsh has been nothing short of outstanding for Kings XI Punjab since 2008.

    Across 50 matches, the powerful left-hander has crashed along to 1,903 runs at a commanding average of 44.25 (only six not outs).

    A blistering 115 from 69 balls against the Rajasthan Royals in 2008 was perhaps the finest example of his proficiency in the T20 arena, while 16 fifties have only served to reinforce that.

    In 2014, Marsh will look to power Kings XI Punjab to a first tournament victory.

2. Sunil Narine

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    Rajanish Kakade

    Team(s): Kolkata Knight Riders

    Innings: 31

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 54.48

    If there was any doubt regarding the identity of the world's pre-eminent limited-overs spinner, it has been settled by the concluded ICC World Twenty and the IPL's record books.

    After emerging in the IPL for Kolkata in 2012, Sunil Narine has become an almost unplayable tweaker in T20 cricket, having claimed 46 wickets from only 31 IPL matches at a simply insane economy rate of 5.47.

    With three four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul to his name already, it's no surprise that the Knight Riders bolted to the IPL title in his first season with the franchise. 

1. Chris Gayle

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    Aijaz Rahi

    Team(s): Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Innings: 58

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 69.98

    The No. 1 spot on this list was never in doubt. In fact, the only uncertainty was the possible margin between Chris Gayle at the top and the next best at No. 2.

    Put simply, it's not even close—Gayle is 15 rankings points per-innings ahead of the chasing pack.

    Looking at Gayle's record is almost frightening. In 59 matches, the West Indian left-hander has hammered 2,512 runs at an extraordinary average of 52.33 and a strike rate of 160.20.

    Add 16 fifties and four brutal hundreds to that and you've got the best player ever to grace the IPL.


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