The cherished three-figure mark in cricket is a prized achievement in any format. A hundred in a T20, however, requires some special effort. A mere 120 balls for the whole team means that the batsman will have a have a no-holds-barred approach while holding his composure through all the frenzy.
Nine seasons of the IPL has seen a total of 42 centuries. Below are the five gentlemen who smashed the five fastest centuries in the history of the tournament:
#5 AB de Villiers (42 balls) vs Gujarat Lions, 2016
While IPL 2016 belonged to Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers proved to the ideal helping hand, scoring runs heavily to complement the Indian skipper. Their camaraderie, both on and off the field, is well documented, and reached new heights when the duo stitched a massive 229-run partnership, the biggest ever in the tournament.
The start was steady, with a scratchy looking Chris Gayle departing in the fourth over itself. It proved to be a blessing in disguise, for a fluent de Villiers started firing from the word go. He targeted the spin combo of Shivil Kaushik and Pravin Tambe to start with, and extended the treatment to Ravindra Jadeja and Praveen Kumar. He reached his fifty in just 25 balls, and Brendon McCullum was left scratching his head.
The duo changed gears after the 16th over, and the Gujarat Lions became mere spectators. Kohli reached from 50 to 100 in just 13 balls, and de Villiers ended on 129 off 52 balls.
#4 Adam Gilchrist (42 balls) vs Mumbai Indians, 2008
A small target of 154 runs was lapped up quickly when a just retired Adam Gilchrist, in the company of VVS Laxman, got going in his inimitable style. He struck boundaries off the duo of Shaun Pollock and Ashish Nehra to warm up. Dhawal Kulkarni came, and received the same treatment, and suddenly the trademark swivel-pull and rocket cover drive were churning out.
In Shaun Pollock’s second spell, Gilchrist took the aerial route, smacking the Proteas legend for consecutive sixes on the leg side. Dwayne Bravo also received similar treatment, and the chase suddenly turned into a cakewalk. Even Abhishek Nayar was tried, but it hardly made a difference.
Deccan Chargers completed the chase with an astonishing 48 balls to spare.
#3 David Miller (38 balls) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2013
‘Killer Miller’ might be inconsistent, but when he does fire, there is no stopping the South African. Part of the Kings XI outfit for multiple seasons, Miller had a terrible last season with the bat, but was in supreme form in 2013, scoring runs at an average of close to 60, including one breathtaking ton.
Walking in at 51-3 with a daunting 192 run target, Miller started steadily, pushing the ball around to get going. With partners fast diminishing on the other end, Miller decided to go for the kill, especially after the 10 over mark. He got a huge reprieve when Virat Kohli, of all people, dropped him on 41, and changed gears after that. In the 15th over, he punished RP Singh with a flurry of boundaries. The costly drop really spurred him, and he took out 25 runs off the over to reduce the equation.
Helped along by some torrid fielding, he sealed the match with a six in the 18th over to finish things off. An ecstatic Preity Zinta was jumping all around the newly made hero.
#2 Yusuf Pathan (37 balls) vs Mumbai Indians, 2010
When on song, Yusuf Pathan can hit a cricket ball as good as the best in the business. While he had become in a regular fixture in the Indian team in 2010, Pathan managed to conjure a breathtaking ton in the IPL, that sadly ended in a losing cause.
He started slowly, was helped along by some below par fielding, but motored along, unmindful of the soaring required rate and dearth of partners at the other end. Mumbai’s medium pacers and spinners weren’t spared one bit, with Pathan trying his best to make a match out of it.
The target, a mammoth 213, was built on the back of quickfire fifties from Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary. A top order collapse meant that Pathan was stuck with Paras Dogra at the other end. As brutish as the jabs to midwicket or the flourishes to the sightscreen were, they were beautifully complemented by cheeky cuts and timely dabs past third man.
Shane Warne described it as the best innings he had ever seen.
#1 Chris Gayle (30 balls) vs Pune Warriors India, 2013
Carnage of the highest order.
Helped along with some wayward bowling, Gayle started in an uncharacteristically quick fashion, creaming Ishwar Pandey over the covers to set the ball rolling. After a flurry of boundaries, Gayle set his sights on the stands. A young Mitchell Marsh wasn’t spared, with his length balls finding their way to the crowd’s laps.
Finch resorted to some spin, hoping to slow down Gayle, but the big man just wasn’t in the mood to relent. For some reason, Finch brought himself into the attack, and six balls and 29 runs later, walked back with utter dejection.
Ashoke Dinda came, and was deposited to the roof of the Chinnaswamy. Gayle completed his hundred inside nine overs. A double hundred, a ridiculous idea for a T20 match, suddenly looked a possibility.
It didn’t stop soon after, for Gayle somehow managed to connect every ball with the meat of his bat, sending all kinds of deliveries to the streets nearby. He had reached 150 in 15 overs. He finally ended on 175, the highest score in a T20, and the fastest hundred of all time.