Exciting times are once again upon us as IPL 2021 is all set to get underway in six days time. Like in all the previous thirteen editions of the tournament, top batsmen from all over the world are expected to light up our nights with plenty of explosive fireworks during the next two months.
With batsmen becoming more fearless and smashing sixes with astonishing ease over the years, the IPL has seen plenty of big-hitters put on a show for our entertainment.
While youngsters like Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav have emerged to regale us with the elegant sixes, there are a few 'old dogs' who have consistently sent the ball out of the park ever since the tournament's inception in 2008.
5 players who've smashed the most sixes in IPL history
The five players, including three Indians, can rightly be considered legends of IPL due to their longevity and consistency with the bat. Below are the top five six-hitters in the history of the Indian Premier League so far:
5) VIRAT KOHLI (201 sixes in 192 matches)
A surprising name considering the fact that Virat Kohli's batting is based more on timing the ball for crisp boundaries rather than bludgeoning them for sixes. However, the RCB skipper has shown that he can still turn it on depending upon the situation of his team.
In the IPL in 2020, Virat became the third Indian to smash 200 sixes in the tournament's history. The Indian captain's best season in terms of six-hitting came in 2016, when he smacked 38 big ones in a record-breaking year that saw him score an unprecedented 973 runs in 16 matches.
4) ROHIT SHARMA (213 sixes in 200 matches)
No surprises here as we've witnessed the elegant Rohit Sharma suddenly turn into a six-hitting monster numerous times throughout his glittering career. No ground is big enough when Hitman decides to take on the hapless bowlers.
The 33-year-old is the third-highest six-hitter in international cricket (436 sixes). While he playes a slightly more sedated role while captaining Mumbai Indians in the IPL, Rohit still manages to sitin fourthh position on this list.
His best season in terms of sixes hit came in 2013, when he smashed 28 big ones to lead Mumbai to the first of their five IPL titles.
3) MS Dhoni (216 sixes in 204 matches)
The man who has hit the most famous six in the history of Indian cricket, MS Dhoni is the third Indian on this list. While the much adored CSK skipper might not be as destructive a finisher as he used to be in his heyday, 'Thala' Dhoni still packs a punch and can bring the bowlers to their knees once he settles in.
The 39-year-old showed his six-hitting prowess in the IPL in 2018, when he smashed 30 sixes to lead CSK to their third title in what was their first season back after a two-year ban. Here's hoping for some vintage helicopter shots in IPL 2021 from the Indian legend.
2) AB de Villiers (235 sixes from 169 matches)
Aptly monikered 'Mr. 360 degrees' for his unique ability to smash bowlers in all corners of the park, AB de Villiers has consistently inspired awe with his exploits for RCB over the years.
The South African legend has been the backbone of RCB's middle order for a long time and has played numerous matchwinning innings for them. ABD has 235 IPL sixes to his name, with his best being the 37 six he smashed during RCB's run to the final in 2016.
1) Chris Gayle (349 sixes in 132 games)
By far the best T20 batsman ever, Chris Gayle has left his peers behind with the sheer brutality and consistency of his knocks. Such has been the Universe Boss' impact in the shortest format of the game that it won't be a surprise for anyone to see him on top of the six-hitting ladder.
The 41-year-old's domination is evident by the fact that he has played the least number of games of the five names here and has still smashed over a 100 sixes more than the second ranked AB de Villiers.
Gayle is the only player to have twice notched a half-century of sixes in a single IPL season. He achieved the feat while playing for RCB in 2012 (59 sixes in 15 matches) and 2013 (51 sixes in 16 matches).
Playing for the Punjab Kings for the past couple of seasons, the left-handed destroyer will once again be looking to set the stage on fire come IPL 2021.