Ahead of IPL 2020, we gaze into the crystal ball to predict this year’s highest run-getter, the player that will take home the coveted Orange Cap.

It’s fair to say that IPL 2020 is possibly the most anticipated season of the 12-year-old league – after six months of delay, the tournament is set to begin, albeit without crowds, in a bio-secure bubble, and out of India altogether.

In the last five year, David Warner has been the most dominant presence at the top of the run charts, leading the list thrice, while Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson have won the Orange Cap once apiece. The past hardly matters in a format as fickle as T20, though, and this year’s unusual season could even see a different name take the crown.

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Ahead of the two-month-long tournament, five Wisden India writers sat together (virtually) to make their predictions for IPL 2020’s top run-getter:

IPL 2020 Orange Cap Prediction – David Warner (SRH)

Warner is a curious player, in the IPL. The on-the-edge aggression that he’s associated with in international cricket is replaced with maturity. He lets his bat do the talking, as the cliches go, and he is, perhaps just a bit, likeable (those TikTok videos helped). Most of all, he’s immediately secure in the environment – since 2015, he’s been the top run-scorer in the IPL in every season he’s played in except one (in 2016, when Kohli took the Orange Cap).

He was far from his best for Australia in England earlier this month, but you can be sure that, with SRH, he’ll again find that spark. There’s a connection between captain and franchise that brings the best out of him. Manoj Narayan, Wisden India editor

IPL 2020 Orange Cap Prediction – Rohit Sharma (MI)

On the cusp of joining IPL’s 5,000-run club, Rohit Sharma could be in for a bumper IPL this time. Known to start slow before firing on all cylinders, Rohit could fare well in a tournament where most batsmen are expected to be rusty to start with. The long, unprecedented gap could be tough for most players this time; Rohit, however, is the sort who can pick a bat after months and score big – just the way he did in 2014, returning from injury to blast the best ODI score of all time.

To top it all, UAE’s sluggish pitches and testing temperatures will challenge batsmen in unique ways, and the relatively longer boundaries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi means we might not witness the usual six-hitting exploits traditional to the IPL. In such a scenario, Rohit’s renowned focus, gap-piercing expertise and dexterity against spin could carry him atop the run-charts. Aadya Sharma, Wisden India staff writer

IPL 2020 Orange Cap Prediction – Jos Buttler (RR)

The England wicketkeeper-batsman is probably playing the best cricket of his career, and though he might miss the tournament opener, Buttler is expected to be available for Rajasthan Royals from their second game onwards. Last year, he was the only batsman to have scored over 300 runs while playing fewer than 10 innings, which shows that the one match he’ll miss will do little to affect his chances of finishing as the top run-scorer.

The year before, he was the sixth-highest run-scorer with 548 runs in 13 matches. It remains to be seen, however, if his successes with the bat can make it a triumphant season for RR. Sankalp Srivastava, Wisden India staff writer

IPL 2020 Orange Cap Prediction – KL Rahul (KXIP)

KL Rahul has finished among the top three run-scorers in the last couple of seasons, and there’s no reason not to expect the same consistency from the Kings XI Punjab captain. Even in his avatar as an anchor for the team last season, which saw his strike-rate slip slightly, he still finished second on the batting charts. On the UAE pitches, this approach could serve him well to finally finish on top. Karunya Keshav, Wisden India editor-at-large

KL Rahul had been in terrific form in white-ball cricket for quite some time, before cricket took a sudden break. Having cemented his place in India’s ODI and T20I setup with his consistent displays, the right-hand batsman led the Kings XI batting with distinction in the last two IPL seasons, finishing among tournament’s top three run-getters.

A combined aggregate of 1,252 at 54.43 was a product of class, discipline and maturity — don’t be surprised if the leadership role brings out the best out of him. Roshan Gede, Wisden India staff writer