The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 season will begin on April 7th with Chennai Super Kings taking on Mumbai Indians. The 50-day extravaganza will see all the eight original franchises playing in the league after a gap of two years.
Ever since the T20 format has been introduced in the cricket, batsmen have always had the upper hand when it comes to getting the glory for their achievements. Batsmen have hit longest sixes, glorious fours and fastest fifties and centuries, giving them many laurels in comparison to the bowlers.
Chris Gayle holds the majority of records in batting in the T20 format, including the IPL, where he was one of the best attractions of the tournament since IPL 2011. The IPL now moves into its 11th season and might see a new batsman emerge and win the Orange Cap for most runs.
Here are the top 5 contenders for the Orange Cap in the upcoming IPL 11:
SURESH RAINA (CSK, GL)
4540 runs in 161 matches with best of 100*; 173 sixes
Suresh Raina is the highest run-getter in IPL history with 4540 runs in 161 matches. He has missed just one match in the history of IPL and owned the record of scoring over 400 runs in every IPL edition from 2008-2014 for Chennai Super Kings.
Raina has been a truly wonderful batsman for CSK and Gujarat Lions (GL), whom he captained for two seasons, scoring 399 and 442 runs respectively in IPL 2016 and IPL 2017. Raina will be seen wearing the CSK jersey again in IPL 2018, after been retained by CSK franchise along with MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja.
Though he has batted at no.3 for the majority of his IPL career, Raina has never managed to win the Orange Cap. However, he has had a very good domestic season and made an emphatic comeback to the Indian team; Raina will be looking forward to continuing his good work for CSK in IPL 2018.
AARON FINCH (PWI, DD, MI, RR, SRH, GL, KXIP)
1604 runs in 65 matches with best of 88*; 59 sixes
Aaron Finch may not have a stellar IPL record, but that can be blamed on him not getting frequent chances in the team. Finch holds the record of the highest score in a T20I match- 156 scored against England.
Finch has captained the Pune Warriors team and last played for Gujarat Lions in IPL 2016 and 2017 and scored 393 and 300 runs respectively for GL. He will be seen playing for Kings XI Punjab, his 7th franchise in IPL, another record.
He will get chance to open in the KXIP in IPL 2018 and with that, there will be a serious chance of him going for the Orange Cap for the most runs in the tournament. He will be given a chance for totally unleashing his destructive potential for KXIP in IPL 2018.
ROHIT SHARMA (DC, MI)
4207 runs in 159 matches with best of 109*; 172 sixes
Rohit Sharma is the only player in IPL to win the title four times and he has won the IPL title three times as Mumbai Indians captain in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Rohit has the third most runs in IPL career, 4207 runs in 159 matches with one century in 109*, playing for Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians. Rohit Sharma has been mercurial as a leader and lead batsman for MI since joining the team in 2013.
Rohit has always been amongst the runs scoring 482 runs in IPL 2015, 489 runs in IPL 2016 and 333 runs in IPL 2017 for Mumbai Indians. He has often played innings that have helped the team win matches in precarious situations and when it was most needed. This edition, however, Rohit must aim to win the Purple cap for most runs.
DAVID WARNER (DD, SRH)
4014 runs in 114 matches with best of 126, 3 centuries; 160 sixes
Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner has already become a two time Purple Cap winner in IPL 2015 and IPL 2017 for scoring 562 and 641 runs respectively. However, his best season was IPL 2016 in which he scored 848 runs for SRH and led them to the IPL title win.
Warner will be aiming to become only the second batsman in IPL to win back to back Purple caps, with Chris Gayle being the first and only one to do so in IPL 2011 and 2012. If David Warner wins the Purple Cap in IPL 11, he will also become the first batsman to achieve this feat three times.
David Warner is a destructive opener who takes the challenge by its horns and leads from the front, something that will help SRH achieve their dream of winning their second IPL title in IPL 11.
VIRAT KOHLI (RCB)
4418 runs in 149 matches with best of 113, 4 centuries; 160 sixes
Virat Kohli has an extremely low scoring IPL 2017 season with just 308 runs to his name in 10 matches. This pales in comparison with his gain of 973 runs in 16 IPL matches in IPL 2016 season, where he became the first batsman to score four centuries in one IPL season. He won the Orange Cap for most runs that season, a performance that will be hard to repeat.
Virat Kohli will be fresh, both mentally and physically, when he steps out to lead the RCB side in IPL 11, thanks to getting a month-long break from cricket after the South Africa tour.
Kohli would love nothing more than to win the elusive IPL trophy for his side RCB, who retained him along with AB de Villiers and Sarfaraz Khan during the IPL 2018 pre-auction retention. Kohli also has to answer in kind after the humiliation of IPL 2017, where RCB finished last on the points table and what better way it would be to win the title, along with the Orange Cap for most runs.