India's 5 highest run-scorers in T20 World Cups ft. Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir

Virat Kohli (L) and Gautam Gambhir.
Virat Kohli (L) and Gautam Gambhir.

Another T20 World Cup is upon India. The inaugural champions, the business leaders of the sport, the caretakers of the biggest and the toughest T20 league in the world -- they are going to another edition of the tournament, this time in the USA and the West Indies, with doubts about whether they can be called favorites.

They are going there having taken a massive gamble with their batting line-up. Instead of going full-T20 mode, they have shown restraint, selecting players on eye-test over form in the IPL. They have filled the team with players who can play the old, long game, instead of the modern, data-driven monstority.

We don't know how this batting will fare. What we do know is how batters have done in the tournament in the past and who has done the best. Take a look:

#5 Gautam Gambhir

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)'s recently-crowned mentor and someone who's being touted as the next India men's T20 coach, Gautam Gambhir has scored 524 runs in T20 World Cups. His first T20 series was the 2007 inaugural edition of the tournament where he was India's hero, scoring 227 runs at an average of 37.83.

His exploits included back-to-back half-centuries against England and New Zealand in the group stage and a brilliant match-winning 75 in the final. It was the tournament when he started to own the aura of a "big-match player".

The left-hander played three more editions of the tournament but couldn't recreate the wonders of the first in South Africa. He scored 148 runs with one half-century in the 2009 edition, just 69 runs in 2010 and 80 in 2012. He played 20 matches in the tournament in total, with an overall strike rate of 118.01.

#4 MS Dhoni

The 2007-winning captain is also on the list. Everyone knows about how MS Dhoni led that young team without most of it stars in his first such assignment as captain -- and how he never looked back, winning everything there's to win in cricket.

Overall, he notched 529 runs at 35.26 and 123.88 in 29 innings, across six editions until 2016. He was never really consistent in the competition, also because his position low in the middle-order was not the easiest in a new format.

However, he played some memorable and crucial knocks, like the 45 (33) against South Africa in 2007, the 23* (13) in the one-run win over the Proteas in 2012, the 22* (12) against Bangladesh in 2014 and the 18* (10) against Australia in 2016.

#3 Yuvraj Singh

Perhaps India's first true T20 player and someone who understood the format well, Yuvraj Singh, deservedly takes the third spot on this list. He scored 593 runs across 31 innings at a strike-rate of 128.91, which is second best in this top-five.

He was the unarguable star of the 2007 win, playing with a strike-rate of 194.74 and rocking the world of cricket with 58 (16) and 70 (30) back to back against England and Australia; the first of-course, coming with the famous six sixes.

He did well in 2009 too but after that, his returns fell off drastically, as he battled with cancer. In the four editions till 2016, his next best knock remained a 60 (43) against his favorite opponent, Australia, for a massive Indian win in Bangladesh.

#2 Rohit Sharma

This would be Rohit Sharma's ninth (yes!) T20 World Cup. He has featured in every single edition, starting as a chubby middle-order hitter in 2007 to a five-time IPL winner and India's captain in 2024. Although his form in the format carries genuine concerns ahead of the upcoming edition, his experience speaks for itself.

He's the fourth-highest run-scorer in the tournament's history with 963 runs at 34.39 and 127.88 after 36 innings. The glimpses of a legendary career came in an unbeaten 50 and 30 against South Africa and Pakistan (in the final) in 2007. In 2009, he smashed his best knock of 79* (46) against Australia.

He scored a few half-centuries in the next two editions, and then three-back-to-back underwhelming tournaments in 2016, 2021 and 2022. His T20 numbers have taken a major hit in the last few years and he hasn't look worthy of coming ahead of some of the young talented batters. India would hope that that changes in 2024.

#1 Virat Kohli

You could name Virat Kohli Mr. T20 World Cups and no one would mind. Even in his worst phase in 2022, he managed to score a breath-taking 82* (53) against Pakistan, which will remain one of the best knocks in the format.

He played the tournament for the first time in 2012 and scored a good 50 against Afghanistan followed by a match-winning 78* against Pakistan. In the next two editions, he went into beast mode, averaging 106.33 and 136.50 (no, that's not his strike-rate) after six and five innings respectively. He became the first player to win back-to-back Player of the Tournament awards in T20 World Cups.

2021 was his worst year in the competion. Now, after a decent 2022, he's coming to 2024 having won the Orange Cap in IPL 2024. He has gotten better as an opener by reinventing himself against spin in the middle-overs and finding the fifth gear early in the powerplay overs. This might be his and Rohit's last year in the competion and there could be no better time to turn back to clock.

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