Former Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli holds the record for the most runs in T20 World Cup history.

Virat Kohli, who made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in 2010, made his first appearance in a T20 World Cup in the 2012 edition at Sri Lanka.

While he has not claimed any ICC silverware in his time as T20I skipper, Virat is without a doubt one of the most dangerous batters in the world as seen with his pattern of scoring runs. At the point of writing, Virat Kohli - who registered the most runs in a T20I World Cup in the 2014 T20 World Cup (319 runs) - is the only batter with 10 fifty-plus scores in the competition, the most by any batsman ever.

Legendary Sri Lankan all-rounder Tillakaratne Dilshan features second on the list for most runs in T20 World Cup history. The flamboyant Dilshan, considered one of the pioneers of T20 cricket, hammered 317 runs as he powered Lanka to the 2009 T20 World Cup where they lost eventually to Pakistan. Known for his unorthodox style of batting that was immortalised with the ‘Dil-scoop’, Dilshan is the first Sri Lankan player to have scored the most runs in a T20I World Cup.

Most runs in T20 World Cup: Know the players on the elite list

Player Country Runs Year
Virat Kohli India 319 2014
Tillakaratne Dilshan Sri Lanka 317 2009
Babar Azam Pakistan 303 2021
Mahela Jayawardene Sri Lanka 302 2010

The next player in the list is Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam, whose team fell short of qualifying for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 final on Sunday with a disheartening five-wicket defeat to Australia. Babar anchored Pakistan’s charge for their second T20 World Cup efficiently, but couldn’t muster a commanding score with the bat. However, his 34-ball 39 saw him break not one but two massive records.

With 303 runs in the tournament, Azam has become the highest run-getter on their maiden T20 World Cup appearance, surpassing former Australian opener and current Pakistan head coach Matthew Hayden's tally of 265 runs in the 2007 T20 World Cup.

But perhaps, the excitement could be reserved for the fact that Babar Azam broke a ‘Virat Kohli record.’ The Pakistan skipper became the quickest to 2,500 runs in T20I cricket, achieving the feat in 62 innings. Kohli, on his part, bagged the record in his 68th inning against West Indies in 2019. 

Mahela Jayawardene is the last cricketer to score 300-plus runs in an edition of the T20 World Cup. The former Sri Lanka captain, currently the head coach of Team Mumbai in the Indian T20 League, hit 302 runs in the 2010 T20 World Cup where he also became just the third batter to register a century in T20 World Cup history after Chris Gayle (2007) and Suresh Raina (2010).

The Sri Lankan legend continues to hold the record for the most runs in T20 World Cup history, with 1,016 runs in 31 matches at an average of 39.07 and a strike rate of 134.74.

Most runs in T20 World Cup: In each edition

2007: Matthew Hayden (Australia) - 265 runs

2009: Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka) - 371 runs

2010: Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) - 302 runs

2012: Shane Watson (Australia) - 249 runs

2014: Virat Kohli (India) - 319 runs

2016: Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh) - 295 runs

2021: Babar Azam (Pakistan) - 303 runs

2022: Virat Kohli (India) - 296 runs

Photo credit: AFP / Aamir Qureshi