IPL 2022 - Top Contenders For The Orange Cap

As the IPL 2022 reaches it’s midway point with 35 league games played, let’s take a look at some of the best batsmen in the league who are in the race for the Orange Cap, awarded to the highest run-scorer across the season. The usual suspects like Jos Buttler, Faf Du Plessis, David Warner, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan are all in the mix again, also joined by new talents like Livingstone and Hetmyer. The Orange Cap race is always a spectacle to look out for every season. 

Rules for Orange Cap

  1. The award is given to the IPL’s highest run-scorer of the season.
  2. During the season, the batsman who has scored the most runs in the tournament will wear the Orange Cap on the field.
  3. Even if an opposing batsman has overtaken his runs, the Orange Cap owner is entitled to wear the Cap until the end of the innings.
  4. In case of a tie, the batsman with a better strike rate is awarded the Orange Cap.

What is the Orange Cap?

The IPL Orange Cap is an annual award given to the top run-scorer during the IPL season. In the first season of the tournament, in 2008, the award was created and was first won by Shaun Marsh.

The Orange Cap is given to the tournament's best batsman. Whoever is the current top-scorer, can wear the Orange Cap while batting or fielding. David Warner has won the maximum number of Orange Caps with 3 awards.

Let’s take a look at some of the favourites to win the Orange Cap this season, with stats being recorded up to the midway point of the league. 

Jos Buttler - Rajasthan Royals

Jos Buttler is one of the few players who can completely take the game away from the opposition single-handedly in the T20 format. He is the sort of opener who can easily crush any bowling attack, making him one of the team's most important players. 

Buttler debuted for the Mumbai Indians in 2016 before being traded to the Rajasthan Royals in 2018. His job in his new team was clearly defined, and he delivered some of his greatest performances there. In 2021, he scored his first T20 century as well as his highest score of 124 in only 64 deliveries.

The Royals signed this explosive wicketkeeper-batsman for a fee of INR 10 crores. Buttler appears to be at his peak right now, as he batted brilliantly in the 2021 T20 World Cup as well, averaging over 90 runs per game. The Royals will be looking at him to give them explosive starts in every single match. Buttler is famous for his hard, straight sixes and fans can’t wait to see more of those mammoth hits this season.

This season, Buttler has been head and shoulders above every other batsman so far, with a staggering THREE centuries already in just 7 innings. He has hammered 491 runs in just 7 innings, at an unreal average of 81.83 and a strike rate of well over 160 ! He has also scored 2 half centuries and looks set to be the first batsman ever to cross the 1000 run barrier ! 

David Warner - Delhi Capitals

David Warner is a trophy-winning IPL captain and one of the best batsmen in the league. He began his IPL career with the Delhi Daredevils in 2009, and after being a key member of the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad, he is now returning to the Delhi franchise after 9 years, and fans could not possibly be more excited.

As the rift between Warner and the SRH administration became clear, he left the organisation after nine years and participated in the auction as a marquee player with a base price of 2 crores. He was later picked by the Delhi Capitals for a fee of INR 6.25 crores.

The southpaw was expected to fetch a much higher price because of his form at the T20 World Cup, where he played a key role as Australia lifted the trophy, but he was only sold for half of his prior asking price. Warner, who has won the Orange cap more times than any other batsman, is also the highest overseas run-scorer in the IPL. Before this season started, Warner  had scored 5449 runs in 150 matches, at an incredible average of 41.6 and a stunning strike rate of 140.

Warner made his much-awaited debut for the Delhi Capitals after missing the first 2 matches of the season. After a disappointing debut, Warner hit top form as he smacked 3 back-to-back half centuries to accumulate 219 runs at a brilliant strike rate of 157 and an incredible average of 54.75!

FAF Du Plessis - Royal Challengers Bangalore

Another top opening batsman in our Orange Cap race is former CSK opener FAF Du Plessis.

Du Plessis, the second-highest run-scorer in the previous edition of the IPL and one of the most experienced IPL campaigners, has been signed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) team for a solid fee of INR 7 crores.

The former Proteas captain is being eyed by RCB as a possible captaincy contender. He made his IPL debut for Chennai Super Kings in 2012 and has been their loyal force for the past eight years. He has appeared in 100 IPL matches, scoring 2935 runs with a strike rate of 131.08.

FAF appears to be confident, and he had a strong showing in the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League. In IPL 2022, his services at the top of the order will be extremely valuable to the RCB franchise. He is also one of the best fielders in the world, making him an incredible overall asset.

This season, FAF had a dream start for RCB, with some stunning knocks, including one brilliant innings of 96 where he heartbreakingly missed out on a deserved first IPL century. Du Plessis has scored 255 runs in 8 innings at an average of 31, and is currently 3rd in the run scorer rankings. 

KL Rahul - Lucknow Super Giants

The 2020 Orange Cap holder from last season, KL Rahul is yet again right up there on the scoring charts. Last season, he trailed behind only Shikhar Dhawan, thereby proving he is one of the most consistent batsmen in the world. 

Over the last two seasons, KL Rahul has been in phenomenal form, hammering every team's bowling attack to all areas of the pitch with surprising regularity. He scored 670 runs in 14 innings at an astounding average of more than 55, with 1 century, 5 half-centuries, and a top score of 132* in 2020. This won him the Orange Cap and nearly single-handedly propelled Punjab to the knockout stage. The fact that he did it with a strike rate of over 130 demonstrates how successful a T20 batter he is. The very next season he started where he left off, and only Shikhar Dhawan managed to outscore him across the season.

Rahul began IPL 2022 as captain of one of the two new franchises - Lucknow Super Giants. He started off with a narrow defeat to Gujarat Titans, but has since led from the front as he is the team’s top scorer and the team is well placed in the top 4. In just 7 innings, KL Rahul has managed to score 265 runs at an average of above 44. Rahul also recently scored his 3rd IPL century, and first of this season, as he hammered his way to a stunning 103. He is second only to Jos Buttler in the current run scorer rankings. 

Prithvi Shaw – Delhi Capitals 

It's probable that Prithvi Shaw's story and development matches the great Sachin Tendulkar's in more ways than one. Prithvi Shaw, 20, holds the distinction of striking a century in his Ranji debut, Duleep Trophy debut, and now his test debut as well, making him the youngest Indian to do so. 

In the previous three seasons, he has already recorded 1000 runs as Delhi's opener, with a highest score of 99 as he nearly missed out on a first century last season. Shaw, who has an impressive strike rate of 141, is expected to open the Delhi Capitals' batting for many years to come and is a crucial element of the team's famed Indian batting core.

Delhi finished second in 2020, but they were top of the table when the 2021 IPL was suspended, and Shaw was in excellent form, scoring 308 runs in just eight innings. He is the current 5th highest scorer this season, with 2 half centuries to his name, and a highest score of 61. His strike rate of 165 proves what a dynamic and attacking little batsman he is, with his impeccable timing of the ball his biggest asset. Shaw has been hailed for a very bright future ahead, and all the signs so far this season suggest he is on the right path. 

His opening partnerships with David Warner have given DC many solid starts, and it is an absolute delight to watch this little man take on some of the best bowlers in the world. 

Liam Livingstone - Punjab Kings

The Indian Premier League has been extremely profitable for explosive all-rounders, and England's Liam Livingstone is one such beneficiary. He had a fantastic run in T20Is in 2021, averaging 33.71 with a strike rate of 177.44 and scalping eight wickets at an economy rate of 6.32. 

However, in five IPL matches with the Rajasthan Royals in 2021, he only managed to score 42 runs. This year, he was released and joined the big auction. Many clubs were interested in him, including the Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Titans, and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

However, he was eventually sold to Punjab Kings for a hefty sum of INR 11.50 crores, making him the most expensive international purchase of the year. He appears to be in top shape right now and has already started to justify his mammoth price tag. 

Livingstone has been at his devastating best for Punjab Kings this season, as he has hammered 226 runs in 7 innings at a brutal strike rate of more than 180 ! He has already struck 3 half centuries with a highest score of 64, and has struck 16 mighty sixes at the halfway point of the season.

Andre Russell - Kolkata Knight Riders

Andre Russell is one of a handful of players who can turn the game on its head with a single play. He is simply unstoppable on his day, and can literally end careers with his big hits.

Russell has been with the Kolkata Knight Riders since 2014 and is an important member of the team. His efforts with the bat and ball over the years have earned the management's trust, and he has been retained by KKR for INR 12 crores.

Before this season, Russell had appeared in 84 IPL games and scored 1700 runs with a whopping strike rate of 178.57. He has 72 wickets at an average of 26.40 with the ball. He's a little rusty at the plate right now, but a player of his quality only needs one strong inning to start rolling. Russell has won the purple cap before and is also the only player with multiple MVP awards in the history of the IPL, thereby confirming his status as an IPL legend.

In IPL 2022, Russell took his time to start, but has since then absolutely taken off and erupted with his best batting form in years. In just 7 innings, the big West Indian has scored 227 runs at a brilliant average of 45, aided by 2 not outs. While he has struck only one fifty so far, Russell has played several match-winning innings with trademark bursts, ensuring his strike rate stays above the 180 mark, which is essentially a standard for this man. 

Shreyas Iyer - Kolkata Knight Riders

India's middle-order batsman with the white ball Shreyas Iyer has a track record of success in the IPL, having scored 2375 runs at 31.66 in 87 games before this season. He earned the Emerging Player of the Year title in 2015 for his 439 runs in his maiden season with the Delhi Capitals (formerly the Delhi Daredevils), after earning Rs 2.6 crore in the auction – a then-record for an uncapped player.

Shreyas remained a member of the Delhi franchise till the end of last season. He was appointed captain in 2018, succeeding Gautam Gambhir, and guided Delhi to the play-offs for the first time in seven years in 2019. He improved on his feat by guiding DC to the finals in 2020, only to lose to MI in the championship game. Shreyas led the team from the start in both editions, scoring 463 and 519 runs in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Shreyas missed the first part of the previous season due to a shoulder injury, and Rishabh Pant was elevated as captain of DC. He returned in the second half, but DC elected to keep Pant as their captain. Shreyas played 8 games in phase 2 of the IPL 2021, scoring 175 runs with a strike rate of 35. And, with DC retaining Pant as captain for the following season, Shreyas quit the franchise, where he had spent his whole IPL career up to that point, to join the auction pool for the forthcoming big event.

Shreyas, a reliable run-scorer with leadership abilities, always had a decent chance of commanding a high price, particularly from clubs seeking a new captain. And that is exactly what happened, with KKR splashing a mammoth 12.25 crores on him. He has largely repaid the faith shown in him by the franchise, as he has scored 248 runs in just 8 innings, at a solid average of 35 and a top strike rate of 142. Iyer has led from the front for KKR and has struck 2 fifties, with a highest score of 85. He has been very consistent with the bat and looks set to be a key player for his new side.

Shikhar Dhawan 

Shikhar Dhawan, India's white-ball opener, has had a very successful career in the Indian Premier League. Dhawan has been a steady scorer over recent seasons and was the league's second-highest run-scorer overall with 5784 runs before this season started.

Dhawan began his IPL career in 2008 with the Delhi Capitals (then the Delhi Daredevils), and has subsequently played for the Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Delhi Capitals. In 2014, he even captained the Sunrisers, before being replaced by David Warner. 

The Sunrisers purchased Dhawan for Rs. 5.2 crore in the 2018 auction by using an RTM card (right to match). Despite amassing 497 runs for SRH, he was traded to the Delhi Capitals the next season. He has scored 500+ runs in each of the previous three seasons, including two back-to-back centuries in the 2020 season – the first time it has ever been accomplished by any player in the Indian Premier League.

Dhawan was back on the auction block after three outstanding seasons with the Delhi Capitals, totaling 1726 runs in 49 games. He is a top-order batsman who can serve as a mentor to younger players while still batting regularly for his club. Therefore we expected him to command a very price at the 2022 IPL Auction and that is exactly what happened as Punjab Kings splurged more than 8 crores for his services. 

Dhawan has already started repaying the faith shown in him by Punjab, with several solid bursts at the top to give his side some great starts, including a brilliant innings of 70 that led to a much-needed win. He has scored 214 runs in 7 innings so far but looks set to continue scoring runs throughout the season. 

Honourable Mention - Virat Kohli - Royal Challengers Bangalore

One of the most shocking aspects of IPL 2022 has been the incredibly poor form of Virat Kohli. In 8 innings, Kohli has scored only 119 runs at a very low average of 17. He hasn't managed to hit a single half-century yet either, which is beyond belief for his standards. 

That being said, Virat Kohli is still the all-time highest scorer in IPL history, with 6402 runs in 207 innings at an average of 36.58 and a strike rate of 130. He has hit a staggering 42 half centuries and also 5 centuries, and is a certified IPL Legend who will surely be back soon. 

#Virat Kohli, #David Warner, #Kl Rahul, #Prithvi Shaw, #Shikhar Dhawan, #IPL

Akshay Malhotra

28 year old former professional cricketer at youth levels with a burning passion for sports. Experienced football writer with over 8 years of experience.