The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most prestigious T20 franchise tournament in the world. In the T20 format, the strike rates of batsmen play a significant role, perhaps even more so than averages. We have seen several instances in the IPL as well, where a quickfire knock changed the course of a match.
Andre Russell, with a strike rate of 186.41, holds the record for the best career strike rate in the IPL. Russel's record is among players who have faced a minimum of 125 balls in the cash-rich league. Among Indian players, this record is held by Rishabh Pant who has a strike rate of 162.69.
But when it comes to a single innings in the IPL with a minimum of 25 runs scored, the highest strike rate is owned by Chris Morris. The South African struck an unbeaten 38 of just nine deliveries, doing at an unbelievable strike rate of 422.22, for Delhi Capitals against Rising Pune Supergiant.
On that note, let us have a look at five Indian batsmen who have the maximum strike in an IPL innings. Note: Only innings where the player scored a minimum of 25 runs are being considered.
5 highest strike rates by an Indian batsman in the IPL:
#5: Yusuf Pathan - 72 runs off 22 balls (Strike rate - 327.27)
SRH managed a fighting score of 160/7 in their allotted 20 overs, after being put in to bat first.
KKR needed to overhaul their target in 15.2 overs to finish second in the IPL 2014 points table. Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir gave the team a rousing start, putting on 43 runs for the first wicket in just 4.4 overs.
Yusuf Pathan walked into bat after the Kolkata outfit lost a couple of quick wickets, and the scoreboard read 55/2 in the eighth over. Uthappa fell after a 22-run partnership with Pathan and Ryan Ten Doeschate was also back in the pavilion soon thereafter.
KKR now needed 83 runs off 34 balls to seal second place.
Pathan went on the attack, smashing the SRH bowlers to all corners of the ground. The big-hitting right-hander hit a couple of fours and sixes off Parvez Rasool's over, the 11th of the KKR innings.
He then smashed another two sixes in the next over bowled by Karn Sharma. Although Sharma struck back by dismissing Shakib Al Hasan in the same over, the momentum of the match had swung KKR's way.
With the Baroda all-rounder targetting the spinners, the SRH captain Darren Sammy brought the experienced Dale Steyn into the attack, with KKR needing 45 runs off 20 balls. But the move proved counterproductive as Steyn was carted for 26 runs in the over that included three boundaries and two mighty sixes.
Pathan hit another six in Karn Sharma's next over before he was caught at deep midwicket trying to go for another maximum. But by then, the Baroda allrounder had all but ensured KKR's spot in the top two as the team needed only eight more runs off nine deliveries.
The Kolkata franchise sealed second spot with five balls to spare, as Suryakumar Yadav brought about the winning runs with a maximum. But it was Pathan's innings of 72 runs off just 22 balls that proved to be the game-changer, a knock that earned him the Man of the Match award.
#4: Suresh Raina - 87 runs off 25 balls (Strike rate - 348.00)
Asked to bat first, KXIP posted a mammoth score of 226/6 in their allotted twenty overs as Virender Sehwag scored a majestic innings of 122.
Needing a lofty 227 to qualify for the finals, CSK had no option but to go on the attack from the outset. But they lost Faf du Plessis of the second ball of the innings.
Suresh Raina came into bat at the fall of the first wicket. The left-hander struck a boundary of the very first delivery he faced to show his intentions. In the next over bowled by Sandeep Sharma that went for 18 runs, Raina struck three fours and a six.
Although Dwayne Smith at the other end was struggling to rotate the strike, Raina was in a belligerent mood. The southpaw clobbered Parvinder Awana for another couple of boundaries in the next over.
Even Mitchell Johnson felt the heat of Raina's willow as the Australian left-arm bowler was smashed for two sixes and a boundary in the fourth over of the CSK innings.
Sandeep Sharma was dispatched by Raina for another six in the next over. But the bowler struck back by removing Smith in the same over. The setback, however, did not deter Raina as he launched a brutal assault on Awana in the sixth over.
The left-hander struck the helpless Awana all over the park. The over yielded 33 runs that included two sixes and five boundaries, and a boundary off a no-ball compounding the bowler's misery.
Raina was unfortunate to be run out immediately after the power play following a misunderstanding with Brendon McCullum. But by then, the Uttar Pradesh batsman had massacred 87 runs off just 25 balls to give CSK hope of chasing down the monumental target.
Highest strike rate in an IPL innings (min. 20 balls faced)
Suresh Raina, 87 off 25, CSK v KXIP, 30 May 2014
Yusuf Pathan, 72 off 22, KKR v SRH, 24 May 2014
Ishan Kishan, 62 off 21, MI v KKR, 9 May 2018
RISHABH PANT, 78* off 27, DC v MI, YESTERDAY
— ICC (@ICC) March 25, 2019
The fall of Raina, though, put paid to his team's hopes. The other batsmen failed to keep up with the mounting asking rate as CSK eventually fell short of their target by 24 runs.
Sehwag walked away with the Man of the Match award but Raina's blistering knock enlivened the day.
#3: Sarfaraz Khan - 35 runs off 10 balls (Strike rate - 350.00)
The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were up against SRH at their home ground in the 9th edition of the IPL in 2016.
RCB lost Chris Gayle early after being asked to bat first. Captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers then stitched together a 157-run second wicket partnership to take the RCB score to 163/2 in the 16th over.
The Bangalore based franchise, though, lost both the set batsmen and Shane Watson in quick succession, as they slumped to 183/4 in 17.3 overs. It was now down to Sarfaraz Khan and Kedar Jadhav to provide the final acceleration.
Khan went on the attack against Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the penultimate over of the RCB innings. The over yielded 28 runs as the stocky middle-order batsman smashed a six and four boundaries.
It was not only the number of runs but the audacity of Khan's stroke-play that brought cheers from the RCB dugout. While two boundaries were scooped to fine-leg, the six was a reverse-paddle over third-man.
Khan was not done yet as he struck another six and a boundary in the final over bowled by Mustafizur Rahman. His unbeaten innings of 35 runs off just 10 deliveries took RCB to an imposing score of 227/4 in their allotted 20 overs.
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) April 12, 2016
The Bangalore bowlers restricted the Hyderabad outfit to 182/6, thereby winning the match by 45 runs.
De Villiers won the Man of the Match for his knock of 82 runs. But it was Sarfaraz Khan's enterprising innings that took the match beyond SRH's reach.
#2: Virat Kohli - 25 runs off 7 balls (Strike Rate - 357.14)
RCB welcomed Rajasthan Royals (RR) to the Chinnaswamy Stadium in the 12th edition of the IPL in 2019.
Put into bat first in a rain-truncated game, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers walked out as the openers for RCB and went on the attack from the word go.
Kohli struck sixes off the first two deliveries of the innings as Varun Aaron's first over went for 23 runs. The batsman then clobbered a six and a four off Shreyas Gopal in the next over. The RCB captain's innings of 25 runs off just seven balls provided a brisk start to the home team.
But the Karnataka leg-spinner had the last laugh, having Kohli caught at long-on few balls later. Gopal then followed up by dismissing De Villiers and Marcus Stoinis off successive deliveries to complete a hat-trick. The Bangalore franchise continued to lose wickets in a heap as they posted 62/7 in their allotted five overs.
RR seemed to be on course to register a win after scoring 40 runs without any loss in their first three overs. But the heavens opened up again, just as Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed Sanju Samson with the second delivery of the fourth over.
The match had to be eventually called off, in the process ending RCB's slender hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.
#1: B Akhil - 27 runs off 7 balls (Strike rate - 385.71)
RCB took on the Deccan Chargers (DC) in an away game in the inaugural edition of the IPL, in 2008.
The home team won the toss and elected to bat, getting bowled out for 165 runs. Vinay Kumar was the star performer with the ball for RCB, with three scalps to his credit.
Chasing 166 runs for victory, the Bangalore franchise needed 25 runs off 16 balls when B. Akhil walked out to the middle.
The Karnataka all-rounder eased the nerves in the dugout, striking boundaries off the first two deliveries he faced from Chaminda Vaas. The match was still in the balance as RCB now needed 16 runs in the last two overs.
But Akhil put paid to any hopes Deccan Chargers might have harboured about a win. He smashed three sixes in the penultimate over bowled by Chamara Silva to haul his team over the line with an over to spare.
With his innings of 27 runs off just 7 balls, B. Akhil holds the record for the highest strike rate in an IPL innings by an Indian batsman.