While the Indian Premier League is famed for bringing the best of the best together, English involvement in the star-studded tournament has historically lacked.
During the early years, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) expressed reservations about the sport-changing competition, with even Kevin Pietersen initially turning it down before later coming on board.
The inaugural IPL in 2008 featured just one player who had donned the England shirt: Dimitri Mascarenhas, who competed for the Rajasthan Royals – underdogs masterminded to victory by Shane Warne.
Extra Cover: Top 5 IPL performances that went in vain
However, as the IPL has developed and opposition has relented, an increasing number of English players have gotten involved in an attempt to sharpen their skills in the game’s shortest format.
Here are the five best performances from English cricketers in the history of IPL.
# 5 Paul Collingwood: 75 for Delhi Daredevils v Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2010
The IPL was a crucial component in Paul Collingwood’s transition from a reserved, middle-order stalwart into a T20 thrasher capable of leading England to World Twenty20 victory. Despite only appearing in 2010, Collingwood smashed a memorable 75 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in a comfortable 37-run triumph.
A most unusual shot for Collingwood was to become his own: a dance down the track to position himself for a midwicket pummel. Jacques Kallis, Cameron White and Abhimanyu Mithun were all subject to Colly’s newfound swagger, the Englishman swatting seven sixes – some massive – in a 46-ball assault.
An all-rounder by trade, the Englishman wasn’t called upon to bowl that day, but his ferocity with the bat earned him the Man of the Match award and wrestled the contest away from Bangalore, who stalled and stumbled in hapless pursuit of 185.
A little over a month later, captain Collingwood was holding the World T20 trophy aloft, capping off a most-unexpected trip to the title with a win over old foes Australia. It was a mighty month and a bit, to say the least.
#4 Chris Jordan: 4-11 for Royal Challengers Bangalore v Gujarat Lions in 2016
In reality, Chris Jordan’s devastating bowling against Gujarat Lions was a nicety rather than a necessity – phenomenal centuries from AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli allowed the Royal Challengers to pile on a mammoth 248. But for Jordan, it was a chance to show off his crafty short-format bowling skills. A chance he took.
The first dismissal was assisted by de Villiers, who back-pedalled effortlessly to snaffle Dinesh Karthik’s mistimed loft, but the rest was all Jordan. The very next ball his quick reactions accounted for Ravindra Jadeja caught and bowled, as Gujarat’s hopes of making the scorecard respectable diminished.
Aaron Finch thwarted Jordan’s hat-trick bid, but the Englishman was back in business a few overs later, seeing off Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni within five deliveries to dismantle the lower order. Jordan had 4-11, and could have had more if he bowled all four of his allotted overs.
De Villiers, Kohli and Jordan combined magnificently for a record-breaking 144-run win, narrowly edging out Kolkata’s 140-run win – also at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium – in the very first IPL match back in 2008. But this time, Bangalore were the victors.
#3 Ravi Bopara: 84 for Kings XI Punjab v Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2009
Ravi Bopara was one of nine English players picked up for the second season of the IPL, and the precocious talent was quick to make an impact in South Africa. The added responsibility as an opener was no burden for Bopara, who made a classy 84 as Kings XI chased 169 with an over to spare against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
He started watchfully, ticking the strike over allowing his partners to make headway, but after Kumar Sangakkara fell in the 13th over, Bopara assumed command.
With two runs a ball required, the Englishman clattered Praveen Kumar for 19 in the 16th over to cut the rate down to size. Further sixes followed against Jesse Ryder and, while unable to see out the win himself, Bopara’s composed acceleration ensured Punjab got home without drama.
Bopara’s IPL career ultimately encapsulated his England one – scattered with excellence but devoid of consistency. He played just two seasons for Punjab before reappearing briefly for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015. He last played for England in the same year.
#2 Dimitri Mascarenhas: 5-25 for Kings XI Punjab v Pune Warriors India in 2012
Dimitri Mascarenhas was an all-rounder of immense ability who never quite reached his potential, but occasional flashes of brilliance with bat and ball ensured he was always dangerous.
Mascarenhas’ five consecutive sixes against Yuvraj Singh in a 2007 ODI helped him become England’s first IPL player, yet it wasn’t until 2012 that he delivered a showing to be remembered in the event – and he did it with the ball.
Playing for Kings XI Punjab, Mascarenhas tore through a strong-looking Pune Warriors India side, suppressing them to a measly 115 which his side would later chase down with ease.
After finding the edge of a dangerous-looking Sourav Ganguly with his first delivery, Mascarenhas ended Marlon Samuels’ misery soon after to reduce Pune to 29 for 3.
Robin Uthappa was fooled by a slower ball in the 13th over as Punjab kept their opponents down, before Mascarenhas came back late on to remove top-scorer Mithun Manhas and Rahul Sharma to complete an impressive five-wicket haul, which remains the only time an English player has achieved the feat in IPL.
#1 Kevin Pietersen: 103* for Delhi Daredevils v Deccan Chargers in 2012
An unsurprising feature on the list, Kevin Pietersen’s ton for the Delhi Daredevils in 2012 was the first and so far only three-figure score by an Englishman in IPL – and it was one of the most breath-taking innings the tournament has seen.
Deccan had posed a tricky target of 158 at the Feroz Shah Kotla, and after Virender Sehwag, Mahela Jayawardene and Ross Taylor compiled just 26 between them, the Daredevils found themselves in significant bother.
But with Deccan winless so far that season, sealing the deal was never going to be simple, and Pietersen exploited their weaknesses. Early acceleration proved hard to come by, but after stabilising the Daredevils, he blasted JP Duminy for three successive sixes in the 13th over to start the charge.
Dealing only in singles and sixes from this point onwards, Pietersen saw off Dale Steyn, picking Dan Christian and Pratap Singh as his targets, before finishing off his century and Delhi’s five-wicket victory with a maximum in the final over.
After his stunning solo masterclass, even KP himself had some sympathy for Deccan, saying he felt “a little sorry” for extending their drought.