David Warner has become "the greatest IPL batsman of all time" following his latest big innings for Sunrises Hyderabad.
The Australian blasted another blistering half-century to surpass 500 runs this season, consolidating his top position as the tournament's leading run-scorer.
Warner made 67 off 38 balls during his 131-run opening stand with England’s Jonny Bairstow, who scored an unbeaten 80, to help Hyderabad thrash Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets.
The left-handed opener has amassed 517 runs on his comeback to the Twenty20 tournament after missing the previous edition along with compatriot Steve Smith over Australia's ball-tampering scandal.
Warner has made six half-centuries, in addition to an unbeaten 100 – and it all adds up.
According to leading statisticians CricViz, the Aussie's latest effort moved him to the top of their 'match impact' model.
According to @CricViz Match Impact David Warner has today edged ahead of Chris Gayle as the greatest IPL batsman of all time. The model ranks Warner as worth +7.0 runs per match while Gayle is worth +6.9. #IPL #SRHvKKR— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) April 21, 2019
The system, calculated on a ball-by-ball basis, "measures the impact each player's performance has had on the match score".
It assesses the expected total of a ball, using differentiators such as venue scores and match situations, to determine the impact.
Warner made his IPL debut in 2009, sitting fourth for runs (4531) and holding the sixth highest average (42.74).
He holds the competition record for most fifties, with 42, six clear of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir despite playing between 29 and 59 innings fewer than the tree Indian stars.
But Warner’s title might not be permanent, with Gayle himself on a tear this season – he has scored 421 runs at 52.62 for Kings XI Punjab.
The West Indian superstar will have his chance to stake a new claim against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday.
Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson praised Warner and Bairstow after the win over Kolkata.
“The two at the top have been doing it all season, hopefully they can continue, they were outstanding,” the Kiwi said.
Both Warner and Bairstow, who also took apart the bowling during his 43-ball knock, combined to make short work of their team’s target of 160 as they completed the win with five overs to spare.
Warner was cleaned up by debutant paceman Prithvi Raj in the 13th over. Bairstow finished off the chase in style with a boundary and two sixes.
“He’s (Warner) a great bloke to bat with, we run well between wickets, which helps,” Bairstow said.
“Loving every bit of my first IPL,” added the wicketkeeper-batsman, who was picked by Hyderabad for $311,982 in the December auctions.
But the prolific run-scorers will be among a host of foreign players to leave IPL at the business end and join their national teams ahead of the World Cup in England and Wales.
Williamson admitted the departure of the two openers would amount to “big losses” for Hyderabad who are in line to make the play-offs.
“Without a doubt Warner and Bairstow will be big losses, they are world class players,” said Williamson, who will captain New Zealand in the 50-over showpiece event starting May 30.
“We knew at the start of the tournament that we will lose them at the back end of the tournament and new guys will come in then,” he added.
Hyderabad bowlers set up the win with paceman Khaleel Ahmed claiming three wickets to keep down Kolkata to 159 for eight in their 20 overs.
Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar chipped in with two wickets including the prized scalp of West Indian big-hitter Andre Russell for 15.