The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the most popular T20 cricket leagues in the world, ever since its inception in 2008. Right from its first season, IPL has seen countless brilliant performances, with many cricketers finding their way into stardom by virtue of what they have achieved using bat or ball.
The opening season started off with Brendon McCullum bludgeoning Royal Challengers Bangalore into submission and ended with Rajasthan Royals coming from nowhere to clinch the first-ever IPL title, with just a bunch of youngsters coached and captained by veteran Shane Warne.
In this particular list right here, we take a look at the top eight batsmen - one from each team - that hit the most sixes in the 2008 edition.
#1. Sanath Jayasuriya (Mumbai Indians)
Sanath Jayasuriya was also the top run-scorer for his team, Mumbai Indians, in the earliest season of IPL. Sanath's six hitting ability is known to every cricket fan.
On his way to the 514 runs that he made from 14 games, he blasted 31 sixes, the most by any player in IPL 2008. He thus went home with the "maximum sixes" award as well. He smashed a century against the Deccan Chargers in a group stage game, smashing 11 sixes along the way, which is still the most number of sixes hit by any Mumbai Indians player in an IPL innings.
Eleven of his sixes came in a single game against Chennai Super Kings in a group stage encounter, when Jayasuriya turned the clock at 38 years of age to produce a masterclass hundred that helped his side emerge winners against the eventual runners-up. His victims that day included bowlers like Manpreet Gony and his national teammate Muttiah Muralidharan, who had been consistent wicket-takers for Chennai until then.
Jayasuriya's onslaught still could not carry Mumbai beyond the group stages, as they ended up finishing fifth.
2. Shaun Marsh (Kings XI Punjab)
With 616 runs in total, Shaun Marsh from Australia scored the most runs by any batsman in the tournament and was awarded the "Orange Cap" for his efforts. He played just 11 matches, yet scored at an average of 68.44 and a strike rate close to 140, to cap off what remains one of Kings XI Punjab's best seasons till date.
Marsh hit 26 sixes along the way and was second behind Jayasuriya in the list for most sixes in IPL 2008. Seven of his maximums came up against Rajasthan Royals in a group stage contest, where he made a sumptuous 115, also his highest T20 score till date.
Marsh's brilliant performances resulted in his selection to the national squad for the first time. He continues to feature in the in the Australian XI as well - including the ongoing Test series against India, where he has played a couple of crucial innings.
3. Yusuf Pathan (Rajasthan Royals)
The elder Pathan brother and also a World-Cup winner with the national side in T20Is just a few months ago, Yusuf Pathan turned out to feature for the eventual winners Rajasthan Royals.
He smashed 25 sixes while making 435 runs across 16 games and he scored these runs at an amazing strike rate of 179.01. Yusuf Pathan thus became one of the best-performing Indian players in the first ever season of the IPL, also scoring a memorable 56 in the final against Chennai Super Kings - that led Rajasthan to the title.
The trio of Yusuf, Watson and Tanvir played a key role for Rajasthan in winning the inaugural edition.
Yusuf did not have any big innings to his name, but he still managed to score four half-centuries and was a consistent six-hitter, hitting sixes in almost every inning that he played in IPL 2008.
4. Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils)
It’s not a surprise as everyone knows about Virender Sehwag's aggressive nature of batting. He was one of the many reasons why the Delhi Daredevils had a great IPL season during 2008.
The star Indian opening batsman of his time was the second-best six hitters among Indian batsmen in IPL 2008, his tally of 21 sixes coming behind Yusuf Pathan's 25. The Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) had a great starting season, finishing in the top-four thanks to Gautam Gambhir's and Sehwag's efforts at the top order, that gave them consistently good starts.
Sehwag scored at a strike rate of 184.04 thanks largely to those masculine sixes. He almost scored a century against the Deccan Chargers when Delhi Daredevils chased down 143 runs in just 13 overs and Sehwag ended up scoring 94 runs off just 41 balls,
Sehwag made a total of 406 runs from 14 games.
5. Adam Gilchrist (Deccan Chargers)
The Deccan Chargers really had a forgettable first season in the IPL, where they finished at rock bottom with just two wins from 12 games. Yet, their captain Adam Gilchrist stood tall, not only emerging as one of the top-scorers in the competition (436 runs), but also by smashing 19 sixes along the way.
Gilchrist's 109* not out that came against eventual winners Rajasthan Royals, featured 10 sixes, only the third time in history that a batsman struck 10 or more sixes in a single inning. He eclipsed compatriot Andrew Symonds' 47-ball-100 as the duo set up an improbable target for Rajasthan to chase. The game was one of the only two occasions when Deccan won in 2008.
The Chargers completed a spectacular comeback in 2009, to win the title after a highly successful season, the tournament being held in South Africa.
6. Suresh Raina (India - Chennai Super Kings)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men had a marauding run in the debut IPL season before it was brought forth to an untimely end by Shane Warne and his men from Rajasthan Royals in the tournament finals. Suresh Raina was their best batsman, playing several key innings throughout the series.
Not only did Raina become the eventual top scorer for CSK, but he also topped their list of most sixes, with 18 of those to his name. Out of the 421 runs he scored, more than 25% of his runs came through the big hits.
To this date, the UP cricketer has played for only one other franchise, that too during the time when Chennai was suspended for a couple of seasons. Also known as "Mr. IPL", Raina continues to be one of the best in the business even today, with an overall record of 185 sixes across 11 IPL seasons.
7. David Hussey (Kolkata Knight Riders)
The Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders endured a torrid time in the inaugural edition of IPL. Despite boasting of a good lineup that included the likes of Ricky Ponting, Sourav Ganguly, Brendon McCullum and so on, the side could not break into the top four despite having started off very well, winning their first three games in a row.
Australian batsman and brother of Mike Hussey, David or "Dave" as he is more fondly known, emerged one of the best performers for KKR with the bat. He hit 17 sixes en-route to making 319 runs from 13 innings, the best of his knocks being a 71 against KXIP. He hit five sixes en route to his highest score in the IPL.
Surprisingly, Brendon McCullum who smashed 13 sixes in the inaugural match of the IPL, ended the season with only 15 sixes, finishing as the second-best six-hitter for KKR during that season.
8. Rahul Dravid (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
In a squad filled with some of the finest power hitters, the Test match specialist Rahul Dravid emerged as the player with the maximum number of sixes for RCB in the inaugural edition of IPL. However, sixteen players came before him in the list of players with the maximum number of sixes in IPL 2008.
The fact actually sums up how dismal 2008 was for the batsmen of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Very few batsmen, namely Dravid himself, Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis and a very young and inexperienced Virat Kohli succeeded in reaching three figures in the overall tally of runs. All this resulted in the Bangalore based outfit finishing at the 7th position on the points table.
Rahul Dravid was also the top-scorer for his side with 371 runs from 14 innings. He hit more than one six only once, during his knock of 75* against the Rajasthan Royals and ended up smashing 11 sixes during in the entire season.