Most Successful Captains in T20 Cricket

MS Dhoni the five-time IPL winning captain is the most successful captain in the T20 format. He has won the CLT20 twice for CSK too.

Most Successful Captains in T20 Cricket
Dillip Mohanty

Written by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Fact checked by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2023-12-11

5 minutes read

A captain is an important figure in a cricket team. A captain leads the team from the front with example and needs to be a person who can get the best out of the squad even when the chips are down. An ideal captain boosts the team’s morale and gets the best out of every player in the squad. There have been some very illustrious players in the history of the game to captain their sides successfully across formats.

Here is the list of the most successful T20 captains.

MOST SUCCESSFUL CAPTAIN

IN T20 CRICKET

PLAYERMATCHESWONLOSTWIN%
MS DHONI32218912758.69
ROHIT SHARMA2141308060.74
DAREN SAMMY2081049750
GAUTAM GAMBHIR170987057.64
VIRAT KOHLI193968649.74
SARFARAZ AHMED160936658.12
KIERON POLLARD169807647.33
JAMES VINCE159797249.68
AARON FINCH168788646.42
MAHMUDULLAH158738146.2
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Former India captain MS Dhoni is one of the most influential leaders on the cricket field. Having led the Indian team in the inaugural T20 World Cup to victory, he then led the Chennai Super Kings franchise in the Indian Premier League and is still going strong having won the IPL 5 times and the now defunct Champions League T20 twice.

Rohit Sharma is another Indian captain on the list. Having led India and the Mumbai Indians IPL franchise, Rohit has a better win percentage than Dhoni and is the best amongst the top 10 players who have captained the most number of times in T20 cricket. He took over captaincy from Ricky Ponting in IPL 2013 and led the team to both the IPL and CLT20 titles that year. Mumbai Indians have since won 4 more trophies in Sharma’s captaincy.

Rohit Sharma with IPL Trophies.jpeg

Former T20 World Cup-winning captain Daren Sammy has led 11 different teams in T20 cricket around the world. He is the only captain in the world to have led their team to multiple World T20 titles. Sammy led the West Indies successfully in 2012 and 2016. Some more prominent names feature in the list with former Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir, and Australia skipper Aaron Finch having brilliant records as T20 skippers.

MOST SUCCESSFUL T20 CAPTAINS

FROM INDIA

PLAYERMATCHESWONLOSTWIN%
MS DHONI32218912758.69
ROHIT SHARMA2141308060.74
GAUTAM GAMBHIR170987057.64
VIRAT KOHLI193968649.74
DINESH KARTHIK77512566.23
SANJU SAMSON72383452.77
HARBHAJAN SINGH70353150
VIRENDER SEHWAG62322951.61
SURESH RAINA55312256.36
SHREYAS IYER59302750.84
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MS Dhoni is one of the most successful captains for India and in the T20 circuit leading the Chennai Super Kings since 2008. Known for his tactical brilliance and identifying talent to overcome the team’s needs and groom young players, many players have found a better version of themselves playing under his captaincy in international and franchise cricket.

Rohit Sharma is another successful captain leading the Mumbai Indians (MI) to 5 IPL trophies and a CLT20 trophy. Another former MI skipper Harbhajan Singh makes the list who led MI to their first CLT20 title. Former India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli has led 193 times in the format but has yet to get his hands on any silverware. Gautam Gambhir has tasted success as captain with the Kolkata Knight Riders leading them to a couple of victorious seasons. He has also captained the Delhi Daredevils franchise but failed to win any title.

Gautam Gambhir with IPL Trophy.jpeg

Among the top 10 Indian players who have been captains on most occasions in T20 cricket, Dinesh Karthik has the best win percentage having led the Tamil Nadu, Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders and India in the format. He led the Indian side in T20 games against county sides in England in 2022 but not in an international game. The Tamil Nadu team has been crowned the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 champions twice under his leadership.

MOST SUCCESSFUL CAPTAIN

IN ODI CRICKET

PLAYERMATCHESWONLOSTWIN%
RICKY PONTING (AUS)2301655171.73
MS DHONI (INDIA)2001107455
ALLAN BORDER (AUS)1781076760.11
HANSIE CRONJE (SA)138993571.73
STEPHEN FLEMING (NZ)2189810644.95
GRAEME SMITH (SA/AFR)150925161.33
MD AZHARUDDIN (IND)174907651.72
ARJUNA RANATUNGA (SL)193899546.11
SOURAV GANGULY (IND/ASIA)147766651.7
IMRAN KHAN (PAK)139755953.95
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The list features some of the great names to have led their team in one-day internationals. Ricky Ponting tops the list with the most number of wins as captain. He also has the remarkable achievement to win consecutive World Cups for Australia (2003-2007). Under his captaincy, Australia won 22 consecutive ODIs in 2003. It is still a record by a long distance.

Ricky Ponting with 1999 World Cup Trophy.jpeg

Another Australian, Allan Border became the first captain in the world to lead the team to win 100 times. He has an impressive win percentage of over 60 and also led the team to their first World Cup title in 1987. MS Dhoni, India’s famous skipper led the side on 200 occasions with the team ending up victorious in 110 games and besides the 2011 World Cup, also won the 2013 Champions Trophy under him.

Sri Lanka’s Arjuna Ranatunga and Pakistan’s former leader Imran Khan are other captains who led their teams to World Cup titles in 1996 and 1992 respectively. Mohammad Azharuddin led the Indian team in 174 matches and was succeeded by Sourav Ganguly who took the team to greater heights and also made India the joint winners of the 2002 Champions Trophy. 

A similar story followed in South Africa with Graeme Smith picking up where Hansie Cronje left off in his successful but controversial career. South Africa won the inaugural ICC Knockout Trophy in 1998 which was later rechristened as ICC Champions Trophy.

MOST SUCCESSFUL CAPTAINS

IN INTERNATIONAL CRICKET

PLAYERTEAMSSPANWINS
RICKY PONTINGAUSTRALIA/ICC WORLD XI2002-2012220
MS DHONIINDIA2007-2018178
GRAEME SMITHSOUTH AFRICA2003-2014163
ALLAN BORDERAUSTRALIA1984-1994139
VIRAT KOHLIINDIA2013-2021135
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Three of the above five names are World Cup-winning and world-beating captains for the respective teams with Dhoni winning both the ODI and T20 World Cup for the team. Under Ponting, the Australian team enjoyed a successful run in both ODI and Test cricket. Graeme Smith did the same with South Africa but failed to win a single trophy in his career, the same could be said for Virat Kohli under whose leadership the Indian team won some famous games, especially on foreign soil.

There are some other captains who don’t make the list as they led their sides on a limited number of occasions but created a huge impact on the way the teams played their cricket in the coming years. For example, former England captain Mike Brearley who played international cricket from 1976-1981 captained England in all his 25 ODIs and took the team to 15 wins. In 31 Tests as captain, England won 18 under his leadership out of which 11 Tests were played in the Ashes.

Clive Lloyd with 1975 World cup Trophy.jpegClive Lloyd, former skipper of West Indies led the side brilliantly to back-to-back World Cup wins in 1975 and 1979. Under his captaincy, the team won 23 out of 50 away Tests. He led the side in 158 games across the two formats that he played with West Indies coming out as victors in 100 matches.

Steve Waugh's side won the 1999 World Cup and won 16 Test matches on the trot from October 1999 to February 2001. Ponting’s Australia equalled the record with 16 wins from December 2005 to January 2008. Pakistani skipper Imran Khan is another name to square off the list. Leading against the odds when the chips were down, he inspired the Pakistan side to buckle up and win the 1992 World Cup in Australian conditions. Before that, he led the side to their first-ever Test series win in England back in 1987. Under his captaincy, Pakistan played 48 Tests and 139 ODIs winning 14 and 75 matches respectively.

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Dillip Mohanty

Dillip Mohanty

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.

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