The year 2007 will be a memorable one for fans of Indian Cricket. It was the year in which India, under the leadership of MS Dhoni, won the inaugural edition of the T20 WC, formerly known as the World T20. Although India has not been able to reclaim their title in the next five editions, their batters have always been among the tournament's highest run-getters. As the seventh edition approaches, let's look at the five Indian batters with the most runs at all the T20 Cricket World Cups combined.
Virat Kohli - 777 runs
The Indian captain is the fourth-highest run-scorer in the tournament's history after Mahela Jayawardene, Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan, and the highest run-scorer for his country. In the three editions of the tournament Kohli has played in, he has scored 777 runs in 16 innings at an average of 86.33 and strike rate of 133.04. This includes nine half-centuries.
At the 2016 World Cup held in India, Kohli was the second-highest run-scorer, 273 runs in just five innings at an average of 136.50 and strike rate of 146.77. At the 2014 edition, he was the highest run-scorer with 319 runs in only six innings at an average and strike rate of 106.3 and 129.14. In both of these editions, Virat was named the Man of the Tournament.
One of Kohli's best knocks came at the 2016 T20 World Cup when he scored an unbeaten 82 against Australia. Batting first, the Steve Smith-led side set India a target of 161 runs to win. After India openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan failed, Kohli hit an unbeaten 82 off just 51 balls, hitting nine fours and two sixes in Mohali. This helped India wrap up the game with five balls to spare.
The 2021 World T20 Championship will be Kohli's last T20I captaincy assignment, and he would be hoping to lead India to an ICC trophy, something that he has not been able to do in any format.
Rohit Sharma - 673 runs
Rohit Sharma, who has played all the editions of the T20 WC, is the sixth-highest run-scorer and the second-highest from India. The opening batter has 673 runs in 25 innings at an average of 39.58 and a strike rate of 127.22. This includes six half-centuries. Rohit was particularly impressive at the 2014 World T20, where he scored 200 runs in six innings at an average of 40.00 and a strike rate of 123.45.
He has played quite a few brilliant knocks at the global event, but two knocks that stand out are an unbeaten 50 against South Africa in 2007 and an unbeaten 79 against Australia in 2010.
Against South Africa in 2007, Rohit, batting at number four, showed brilliant resilience to score an unbeaten 50 off 40 balls after the top-order failed. The knock came against some of the best bowlers of that time - Shaun Pollock, Morne Morkel and Makhaya Ntini. India went on to win the game by 37 runs and Rohit was named the Player of the Match. He played three games in the inaugural edition of the tournament and remained unbeaten in all three.
Against Australia in 2010, Rohit scored 79 off just 46 balls, while the rest of the Indian line-up – 10 batters - scored 46 runs combined. India was bundled out for 135 in their chase of 185, but Rohit once again proved why he was in the process of becoming one of the best limited-overs players for India.
Yuvraj Singh - 593 runs
The third Indian batter with the most runs at the T20 WC is former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who didn't feature in the tournament after the 2014 edition. Although he was picked in the squad for the 2016 edition, an ankle injury ruled him out. Yuvraj has scored 593 runs in 28 innings at an average of 23.72 and a strike rate of 128.91. No cricket fan will forget Yuvraj's six sixes in an over-off Stuart Broad at the 2007 World T20. 36 runs in one over also helped Yuvraj score the fastest T20I fifty in just 12 balls, a record that is yet to be broken.
Against Australia in the semi-final in that same edition, Yuvraj scored 70 off just 30 balls at a strike rate of 233.33, which helped India win by 15 runs and advance to the final.
In May 2020, after playing 304 ODIs, 40 Tests and 58 T20Is, Yuvraj announced retirement from all formats of international cricket.
MS Dhoni - 529 runs
Fourth on the list is MS Dhoni, who has played all the editions of the tournament played so far. Now a former international cricketer, Dhoni will be Team India's mentor for the 2021 T20 WC. The three-time ICC trophy winning captain has 529 runs across six editions of the T20 WC at an average of 35.26 and a strike rate of 123.88.
Although MS Dhoni didn't win any Man of the Match awards in his T20I career, he played the role of an anchor almost throughout his playing career and finished off several games. One of Dhoni's best knocks at the T20 World Championship came in 2007 against South Africa. India was struggling on 61-4 when Dhoni joined Rohit Sharma in the middle. The two shared 85 runs for the fifth wicket, with Dhoni scoring 45 off 33. In that same edition against Australia, Dhoni finished in style with a knock of 36 runs which came off 18 balls. In the last nine balls, Dhoni scored 21 runs and helped India set a target of 189 runs for Australia. India won the match by 15 runs.
On August 15, 2020, Dhoni announced retirement from international cricket.
Gautam Gambhir - 524 runs
Gautam Gambhir's contribution to India's 2007 World T20 win and 2011 ODI World Cup win is immense. Gambhir scored 524 runs in 20 innings he played in the tournament, which includes four centuries. He was one of the top performers in the inaugural edition when he scored the second-highest runs – 227 in six innings at an average of 37.83 and strike rate of almost 130.
In the final against Pakistan, Gambhir scored 75 off 54 balls at a strike rate of 138.88 to help India post a total of 157 and later go on to win the title by five runs.
In December 2018, after playing for India for more than 15 years, Gambhir announced retirement from all forms of cricket.