Kings of the Death Overs: The All-Time Best Finishers in IPL History

There have been many, but who are TRULY the greatest finishers of all time in the IPL?

The Indian Premier League cricket trophy
Kaylan Geekie

Written by: Kaylan Geekie

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-03-29

5 minutes read

The eagerly anticipated Indian Premier League (IPL) is back. SportsBoom has selected our all-time best finishers in IPL history.

The IPL is back for another, the 17th of the world's premier franchise cricket event, so it's time to rank the kings of the death overs.

The 2023 IPL final went down to the wire as the Chennai Super Kings beat the Gujarat Titans in an epic encounter to claim the title for a record-equalling fifth time.

The Super Kings equalled the Mumbai Indians trophy haul of five Indian Premier League titles when they edged the Titans in a thrilling finale by five wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

The Super Kings needed 10 runs off the last two balls of the game to beat the 2022 IPL champions. Up stepped Ravindra Jadeja, who hit Mohit Sharma's final two balls of the game's last over for six and four to get his team over the line.

Jadeja's heroics saw legendary Indian and Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni raise the famous trophy for a fifth time before stepping down as the most decorated skipper in Indian cricket history.

After Jadeja's heroics in last year's IPL final, SportsBoom has selected the all-time best finishers in IPL history. 

Best Finisher in IPL History

The ‘Death overs’ are the last four overs of an innings, from overs 16 – 20 in T20 cricket, the final 30 balls. These are the moments of the game where the 'kings of the death overs' come alive, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Cricket has many variables and intangibles to judge the best player, bowler, batsman, and fielder. What is the metric by which to measure the all-time best finisher in the IPL?

Is it whoever hits the most sixes at the death, the most boundaries or the most runs?

MS Dhoni, AB de Villiers, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli and David Miller are all considered the top 10 best finishers in IPL history.

Dhoni tops the list of kings of the death overs with the most runs and sixes. 'Captain Fantastic' has scored 2,631 runs in the death overs, including 162 sixes.

Pollard (1,708 runs, 127 sixes) and De Villiers (1,421 runs, 112 sixes) are second and third-place all-time best finishers in IPL history runs and sixes at the death, respectively.  

Two more Indian players make the list for the top five most runs in the IPL. Karthik (1,364 runs in 105 innings) and Jadeja (1,289 runs in 119 innings).

However, both players do not make the list of all-time sixes in the IPL. Jadeja did, however, equal Chris Gayle's most-ever runs in an IPL over when he smashed 37 runs off Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler Harshal Patel in 2021.

Andre Russell (87) and Rohit Sharma (74) are fourth and fifth, respectively. Russell (174.00) does, however, have the highest strike rate in IPL history.

The top five highest strike rates in IPL history where a player has played more than 100 matches are Russell (1st - 174), Sunil Narine (2nd - 159.69), Glenn Maxwell (3rd - 157.62), Virendra Sehwag (4th - 155.44), and AB de Villiers (151.68).

Best Finishers in IPL History: Kings of the Death Overs Revealed 

Using the metrics of a player' most runs and sixes in the death overs and the best strike rates of the world's best T20 tournament, SportsBoom has identified a list of the all-time best finishers in IPL history.

1. MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni sits on top of the pile. He has the most runs and sixes in the death overs. Dhoni has played the most matches (250) and captained the most games (226).

The former Chennai captain holds the records for most dismissals, catches and stumpings by a wicket-keeper in the competition's history.

Dhoni is also fourth-most for career sixes (239), making him the undisputed best finisher in IPL history. 

Image Credits: Sky Sports

Image Credits: Sky Sports

2. AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers edges Kieron Pollard despite scoring fewer runs in the death overs and behind the West Indian in sixes at the death.

De Villiers' 133 not out against the Mumbai Indians in 2015 is the fourth-highest individual score in IPL history.

The Pretoria-born player has the fifth-best strike rate of all time and is tied for third all-time for most sixes in an innings (12) and third overall for most sixes ever (251).

The South African has collected a record 23 Player of the Match awards in his IPL career, which helps edge him above Russell.

Image Credits: Sky Sports

Image Credits: Sky Sports

3. Andre Russell

Andre Russell takes the third spot despite hitting the second-most death overs' runs and sixes in the history of the IPL. The sheer number of individual records of De Villiers sees Russell make third. 

Image Credits: IPL

Image Credits: IPL

4. Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja is fourth among the all-time best finishers in IPL history despite scoring fewer runs than Karthik during the death overs.

The 35-year-old's heroics in the 2023 final for The Chennai Super Kings against the Gujarat Titans cements Jadeja as one of the best finishers ever in the IPL. 

Image Credits: imjadeja (X.com)

Image Credits: imjadeja (X.com)

5. Dinesh Karthik

Last but certainly not least, Dinesh Karthik lands in fifth place thanks to scoring the fourth-most runs at the death in IPL history. The wicket-keeper batsman has a 132.81 IPL strike rate.

Karthik has played 243 IPL matches, seven fewer than former India team-mate Dhoni, which makes him one of the best finishers in IPL history. 

Image Credits: PTI

Image Credits: PTI

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Kaylan Geekie

Kaylan Geekie

Kaylan Geekie is a sports fanatic. He attended Durban High School before moving to Scotland, where he lived for 15 years. During his time in the United Kingdom, Kaylan graduated with a first-class BA Honours Degree in Sports Journalism at the University of the West of Scotland.

Kaylan worked for nine years as the Match-Day Editor of SuperXV.com, reporting on Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, the 2015 Men's Rugby World Cup and the 2017 British & Irish Lions series for the website.

Kaylan previously held the position of Digital Editor at Scrum Magazine, covering club rugby through to Scotland's national men's and women's teams, Glasgow Warriors, and Edinburgh Rugby.

Kaylan reported for Cricket Scotland, covering the men's and women's international sides. Kaylan covered several international tournaments, including the ICC 2014 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers, the 2015 ICC Men's CWC and the 2015 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers.

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