The Indian Premier League (IPL) has witnessed some dazzling batting displays over the years. The Likes of Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum and company have lit up the stage with some explosive performances. Nishad Pai Vaidya lists the 10 epic batting performances in IPL history.
1: Chris Gayle: 175 not out off 66 balls vs Pune Warriors India, IPL 2013
This was an innings of epic proportions. Chris Gayle showed on this day why he is the master of the shortest format. Against a hapless Pune Warriors India attack in Bangalore, Gayle carted the ball over and blasted his way to a record T20 score. He smashed a ton off only 30 balls and mauled the bowling in the process. The fielders could only watch the ball sail past them as he cleared the fence 17 times during this innings. Royal Challengers Bangalore scored 263 for five in their 20 overs. Gayle’s assault left the opposition demoralised and shell-shocked.
2: Brendon McCullum: 158 not out off 73 balls vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2008
Along with Gayle’s ton, Brendon McCullum’s 158 not out will remain the two most iconic knocks in the IPL. On IPL inaugural day, McCullum welcomed the tournament with a sensational blitz. Kolkata Knight Riders smashed 222 for three batting first in the maiden game of the tournament. Until then, McCullum was known as a dangerous batsman, but the world truly took notice of his ability after this mind-boggling display. The knock remains etched in memory.
3: Suresh Raina: 87 off 25 balls vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014
In the Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2014, Suresh Raina produced an innings of brilliance that had all but taken Chennai Super Kings to victory. Chasing 227 after Virender Sehwag smashed their bowlers around, Chennai Super Kings lost opener Faf du Plessis in the very first over. Out walked Raina and smashed the bowling to all parts. It wasn’t so much about smashing as much as deft touch. There was a touch of grace as Raina blitzed his way to a 25-ball 87. That innings took his team to their 100 inside six over. Soon after the powerplay, Raina was run-out and Chennai Super Kings collapsed. Nevertheless, he had produced a masterpiece.
4: Manvinder Bisla: 89 off 48 balls vs Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2012
MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings looked good for a third consecutive title when they hit 190 in 20 overs in the final at Chennai. And, when Ben Hilfenhaus got through Gautam Gambhir in the first over of Kolkata Knight Riders’ run-chase, they were firm favourites given the fact that the southpaw was his team’s leading run-scorer that year. However, the little-known Manvinder Bisla rose to the occasion and carted 89 off 48 balls. Shielding himself from the pressure and combining with Jacques Kallis, Bisla plotted their recovery and put them in a position to win the game. Ultimately they got there in the last over. Bisla’s effort stands out for it came in the run-chase in a high-pressure final against a fantastic unit.
5: AB de Villiers: 47 off 17 balls vs Deccan Chargers, IPL 2012
There was something outlandish about this knock. One of the world’s best batsmen treated Dale Steyn like a club class bowler. For pure quality and audacity, this knock scores over some of the other fleeting infernos we have seen in IPL history. AB de Villiers took strike against Steyn with Royal Challengers Bangalore needing 39 off 18 balls. Steyn tried the short ball, a slower one, a yorker, but everything vanished to the boundary. De Villiers went over extra-cover and also scooped a very fast delivery for a four. Steyn himself smiled at de Villiers’ brilliance for there was nothing he could do. That over yielded 23 and Royal Challengers Bangalore were on their way to a victory. Two years later, de Villiers did it again to Steyn.
6: Adam Gilchrist: 85 off 35 balls vs Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2009
Adam Gilchrist was an inspirational figure for the Deccan Chargers for he lifted them from the ignominy of the first season to the title triumph in the second. In the semi-final against Delhi Daredevils, Deccan Chargers were chasing 154 to win. Gilchrist set the tone from the first over as he hit Dirk Nannes for 21 runs. He pulled, cut, drove through the line in typical Gilchrist style Delhi Daredevils were left shell-shocked as Gilchrist continued the assault through to the 10th over, until he was dismissed for 85. Deccan Chargers were well on their way to the final as they had knocked off 102 out of the 154.
7: David Miller: 101 not out off 38 balls vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2013
This was an innings that signalled the arrival of David Miller. The South African southpaw was known as this young talent but on this day, he truly showed what he was capable of. Chasing 191 to win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab were tottering at 64 for four in the 10th over. Miller then tried to chance his arm around and attacked everything in sight. He was lucky though as a chance had gone down. Playing across the line, attacking anything full, Miller smashed his way to a 38-ball ton as Kings XI Punjab won with two overs to spare. Miller had secured his retention ticket for the next season.
8: Virender Sehwag: 119 off 56 balls vs Deccan Chargers, IPL 2011
With Delhi Daredevils chasing 176 for victory against a Deccan Chargers bowling attack led by Dale Steyn, Sehwag took matters in his own hands and attacked the other bowlers. Playing with his typical freedom, Sehwag smashed it fearlessly. Spinner Ishan Malhotra bore the brunt of that as he conceded 23 runs in his only over. Amit Mishra, a star performer in IPL, went for 53 runs in his four overs. Sehwag carted 13 fours and six sixes in his 119. When he was dismissed, Delhi Daredevils were 153 in the 17th over. Imagine scoring 119 out of 153 in a T20 game! That reflects Sehwag’s dominance. His team won with an over to spare.
9: MS Dhoni: 54 not out off 29 balls vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2010
On this day at Dharamsala, Chennai Super Kings needed a victory to qualify for the semi-final and Dhoni took charge. Chasing 193 to win, Chennai Super Kings were behind the eight ball when they lost S Badrinath in the 17th over. At 148 for four, a victory looked unlikely, but that is when the Dhoni came into the picture. He patiently made his way through those last overs and as usual, took it to the last. Needing 16 runs off the last over, Dhoni smashed the first ball from Irfan Pathan for a four and then took two. With the pressure mounting he put one into orbit over cow corner and then finished the game with a similar hit. In anger, Dhoni uncharacteristically punched and mouthed a few words. Chennai Super Kings made it through to the semi-final and went on to clinch the title.
10: Harbhajan Singh: 64 off 24 balls vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2015
Although it came in a losing cause, this innings will be remembered for its sheer fighting spirit. Harbhajan Singh has always been a very competitive batsman, bordering on careless at times. On this day, he showed the Mumbai Indians top order how it is done. Facing a target of 178 from the Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians had lost all hopes after collapsing to 59 for six in the 14th over. Harbhajan then smashed a 19-ball fifty, clearing the boundaries easily. It was almost as if he could hit the ball wherever he wanted. Kings XI Punjab got a bit nervous as every other delivery was sailing towards the boundary. In the end, Mumbai Indians fell short of victory by 19 runs, but Harbhajan’s 24-ball 64 had put up a brave fight.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45. The above article was first published in CricketCountry)