I’ve already discussed the role of a finisher in One Day cricket. Their job is to come in at some point in the middle overs and to ‘finish’ the job at the death. So who are the best finishers in IPL history?
Who is the Best Finisher in the IPL?
There may be some small differences of opinion, but most cricket fans will agree that MS Dhoni is the best finisher in the history of the Indian Premier League.
Over the course of his career, Dhoni can boost a total or chase down a target in the death overs better than anyone else.
Top 10 Finishers in the IPL
While MS Dhoni’s batting speeds dropped towards the very end of his career, his overall statistics back up the theory that he is the greatest finisher in IPL history.
MSD has scored well over 2,000 runs in the late stages and, at one stage, his strike rate in the death overs was around 189. He had a brilliant ability to pace those innings perfectly.
AB de Villiers
South Africa’s AB De Villiers tended to come in earlier than most finishers. For much of his career, he batted at around numbers three or four. Despite what could have been a disadvantage, AB could still bat for long periods of time and that turned him into a finisher.
Using a total of 67 innings at the death overs from 17 to 20, De Villiers scored 1254 runs. That may sound a modest total when compared to that of MS Dhoni’s but the South African’s strike rate of 233.10 is incredible and that’s why he’s in second place on this list.
West Indian all rounder Andre Russell has often batted down the order for Kolkata Knight Riders and may only get a few balls to face at the end of an innings. His stats, however, tell us that he can still be classed as one of the best finishers in the IPL.
His best effort at the death came in 2019 when he blasted 80 runs from just 40 balls against Mumbai Indians. With a strike rate of exactly 200, Russell helped KKR to smash 51 runs from the last three overs to win the game.
Russell’s former West Indian teammate Kieron Pollard has played as a specialist finisher for much of his career. He’s now scored more than 3,500 runs in the death overs and he’s reached the 1,500 run mark at the IPL.
Pollard’s strike rate in the final four overs approaches 200 and he’s also hit more than 200 sixes in the competition. He has all the qualities needed to make a great finisher and he often delivers.
Hardik Pandya was once a teammate of Kieron Pollard’s at Mumbai Indians, but he’s since led the Gujarat Titans to IPL success in their debut season. Pandya promoted himself up the order for the Titans after years of coming in towards the end of an innings.
Should he keep himself back for the death overs? His strike rate lifts from an overall 159 to around 192 in the final four, so perhaps Pandya should reconsider his batting role moving forward.
The man known as the ‘Big Show’ only knows one way to play. Glenn Maxwell aims to hit every ball for six and, while that approach doesn’t always pay off, he can be very effective as a batting finisher.
Maxwell’s best season came in 2014 when he signed for the Kings XI Punjab. He made 95 from 43 balls in his first knock for KXIP and followed that up with more fast and valuable innings. His strike rate is always high but, if Glenn Maxwell is still in during the final four overs, batting teams will have a far greater chance of reaching their targets.
Ben Stokes’ first ever century in the Indian Premier League underlined his qualities as a finisher. Playing for Rising Pune Supergiant against another temporary franchise, Gujarat Lions, in 2017, the English all-rounder made an unbeaten 103 from 63 balls.
Statistics can sometimes only tell half a story and you need to watch an innings to get the full picture. In this game, Stokes played the perfect finisher’s innings.
Pune batted second and were chasing a target of 162 to win. At 42/4 in the sixth over, they were in big trouble before Ben Stokes came to the wicket. The hundred was paced perfectly and the winning runs were hit with just one ball to spare.
He’s mainly known around the world as an effective left arm spinner, but Indian fans know that Ravindra Jadeja is also an exceptional batter. He’s made triple centuries in the Ranji Trophy and he can up the tempo in T20 cricket when required.
Over many years playing for Chennai Super Kings, Jadeja has shown his value as a batting finisher. His most memorable contribution with the bat came at the 2021 IPL when he smashed 37 runs off the final over to help CSK beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore. How about that for a finish!
Some cricket followers were surprised when the Rajasthan Royals made Chris Morris the most valuable player at the 2021 IPL auction. He was known mainly as a bowler who could score useful runs with the bat, but those batting stats show that he was very effective as a finisher.
Morris often wouldn’t appear until late in the innings so his batting statistics focus almost entirely on the death overs. He was great at rescuing lost causes and his best effort in the IPL came in 2016. Playing for Gujarat Lions against Delhi Capitals, the South African scored 82 from just 32 balls in the final stages of the game.
One of the most exciting young batters in world cricket, Rishabh Pant has plenty of time left to boost his impressive finishing statistics. He has a huge array of shots and he can be innovative with his stroke play in all forms of the game.
It may be surprising for some to find out that Pant only has one IPL century up to the end of the 2022 tournament. It was, however, a big one as he made 128 from just 63 balls for Delhi Daredevils against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2018. This was a perfect example of finishing as Pant was there at the end, scoring that undefeated 128 out of Delhi’s total of 187/5.
If you’re still unsure on the definition of a finisher, I recommend you find footage of that Ben Stokes innings from 2017. However, that’s only one example of some brilliant performances by all ten players on this list.
Each of the batters here has finished a game perfectly both inside and outside of the IPL. Knowing how to time their knocks is key to finishing and many will take it down to the final over to chase down a target. These are the best of all time, but how much longer can they keep going and who will add their names to the list in future IPLs?