The 2017 Indian Premier League is less than two weeks away and the whole of India will be waiting with bated breath to witness the most popular T20 League in the world. Since its inception in 2008, every edition of the IPL has been ardently followed in India and around the globe.
Over the years, the IPL has seen a number of half-centuries that have been scored with immense pace and aggression and have been a pleasure to watch. Here’s a look at five of the fastest fifties in the history of the Indian Premier League.
#5 Adam Gilchrist – Deccan Chargers vs Delhi Daredevils, 2009, 17 balls
After ending the inaugural season of the IPL rock-bottom, the Deccan Chargers shocked everyone by reaching the semi-finals of the second edition in South Africa. In the semi-final at Centurion, the Chargers were up against table-toppers Delhi Daredevils who were the favourites to lift the trophy at that point and were yet to lose to the Deccan Chargers in the IPL.
The Daredevils were put in to bat first by Deccan Chargers’ skipper Adam Gilchrist and were off to the most dreadful of starts with both their openers Gautam Gambhir and David Warner being sent packing to the pavilion by Ryan Harris in a double-wicket maiden opening over. However, Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 51-ball 65, assisted by Virender Sehwag’s 39 and AB de Villiers’ 26, took the Daredevils to a challenging total of 153/8 in their 20 overs.
In reply, the Chargers’ Adam Gilchrist began to smash the bowlers to all parts of the ground from the very first over. While the other batsmen were just defending their wicket, the Australian batted fearlessly and in the process, scored the then-fastest fifty in IPL history.
Gilchrist was eventually dismissed for 85 off 35 deliveries with the scoreboard reading 102/3. However, it was too late for the Daredevils as Gilchrist had already put the Chargers in a winning position.
The Chargers chased down the target in 17.4 overs to reach the final which they went on to win against Royal Challengers Bangalore. The Aussie was eventually adjudged the “Player of the Tournament” as the Deccan Chargers were crowned champions of the Indian Premier League.
#4 Chris Morris – Delhi Daredevils vs Gujarat Lions, 2016, 17 balls
Chris Morris scored one of the knocks of last year’s IPL with this monumental effort coming against the Gujarat Lions at Delhi. The Daredevils won the toss and sent in Gujarat to bat first. Half-centuries from openers Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum took the Lions to 172/6 in their 20 overs.
In reply, the Delhi Daredevils were tottering at 57/4 within 11 overs when Morris came in to join JP Duminy at the crease. It was only a matter of deliveries before Morris began to go after the Gujarat bowlers and brought Delhi back into the match.
By hitting three consecutive sixes off Dwayne Smith, Morris scored the fastest fifty of the season in just 17 deliveries.
The South African built a brilliant partnership of 87 from just 39 deliveries with Duminy who eventually perished after making 48. However, Morris’ effort couldn’t take Delhi Daredevils past the finish as the Gujarat Lions won by a run. Morris was awarded the Man of the Match for his mammoth knock in addition to his spell of 2/35.
#3 Kieron Pollard – Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 2016, 17 balls
Kolkata Knight Riders had a brilliant start to their campaign last year and had won four of their opening five matches with the only defeat coming against the Mumbai Indians at Kolkata. At the return leg at Wankhede, Mumbai needed a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Mumbai Indians’ skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and sent the Knight Riders to bat first. A gritty half-century from captain Gautam Gambhir assisted by Robin Uthappa’s quick-fire 36 and Yusuf Pathan’s 8-ball cameo of 19 took the Knight Riders to 174/5 in their 20 overs.
In reply, the Mumbai Indians lost opener Parthiv Patel early but a 59-run partnership for the second wicket between Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu brought Mumbai Indians right back into the match. After Rayudu was dismissed for 32, Krunal Pandya and Jos Buttler could not stay at the crease for long and the Mumbai Indians were 106/4 in 13 overs, needing 69 to win from the final seven overs with the asking rate nearing 10.
At this stage, the flamboyant Kieron Pollard came in to join Sharma at the crease. The two began dealing in boundaries till the next two overs before the swashbuckling West Indian smashed three sixes off Rajagopal Sathish in the 16th over to turn the match in favour of the Mumbai Indians. In the 18th over, Pollard once again hit three sixes of Jaydev Unadkat to win the match for the Mumbai Indians.
Through the six that finished the match, Pollard also scored the joint fastest fifty of the tournament in 17 deliveries just a day after Chris Morris scored his fifty in the same amount of deliveries.
#2 Suresh Raina – Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab , 2014, 16 balls
One of the greatest innings in the IPL that came in a losing cause, was this superb knock by Suresh Raina. In the 2014 IPL, the Kings XI Punjab were in terrific form and came into the playoffs as the table toppers. However, they lost the first qualifier to Kolkata Knight Riders at Kolkata and had to defeat Chennai Super Kings in the second qualifier at Mumbai to reach the final.
The Super Kings won the toss and put in Punjab to bat first. A blistering knock of 122 by Virender Sehwag took Punjab to a mammoth total of 226/6 in their 20 overs. In reply, the Super Kings were off to a horrendous start as they lost Faf du Plessis in the very first over.
However, Suresh Raina came in and it began to rain fours and sixes as CSK reached their 100 in only six overs. In the process, the Indian left-hander reached his fifty in16 deliveries to record the second fastest fifty in IPL history.
Disaster struck in the 7th over as Raina was run out by KXIP skipper George Bailey for 87 off just 25 deliveries. Raina’s dismissal triggered a drastic loss of momentum for the CSK as they ended their innings on 202/7, thus being eliminated from the tournament.
Kings XI eventually went on to lose the final to the Kolkata Knight Riders despite the only century in an IPL final by Wriddhiman Saha. Had Suresh Raina not been dismissed, then not only would CSK have reached the final and may have won, but Raina could also have smashed the fastest hundred in IPL history.
#1 Yusuf Pathan – Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2014, 15 balls
The Kolkata Knight Riders had a disastrous start to their 2014 IPL, winning only two of their first seven matches. However, they made a remarkable comeback by winning their next six matches and booking their place in the play-offs.
In their final league game against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Kolkata, the Knight Riders needed to win by a good margin to beat CSK to second position, while Hyderabad desperately needed a win to keep their hopes of reaching the play-offs alive.
KKR won the toss and Gautam Gambhir opted to field first. The Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen were not playing very well, and in the end, it took a little cameo of Darren Sammy to take the Sunrisers Hyderabad to a total of 160, 21 of which were extras. The Knight Riders had to chase down 161 in 15.2 overs to attain second position in the table.
In reply, the Knight Riders were given a brilliant start by Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa who scored 41 and 28, respectively. When Yusuf Pathan came in to bat, the Knight Riders needed 106 from 47 to take them to second position in the table. In the 11th over, Pathan smashed 22 runs off Parvez Rasool and was dropped in the fifth ball of the over when he was batting on 14. The ball went towards Dale Steyn who dropped it and the ball landed over the boundary line for a six.
Pathan then smashed Ishant Sharma for two sixes to keep KKR in the fray for second position with 45 runs needed from 18 deliveries. The Baroda all-rounder then smashed Dale Steyn for 26 runs in the 13th over to score the fastest fifty in IPL history off just 15 deliveries. Pathan eventually perished on 72 from 22 deliveries, hitting five boundaries and seven sixes.
The Knight Riders eventually chased down 161 in 14.2 overs to claim second position in the table. Pathan was adjudged the Man of the Match for his monumental effort and his 15-ball half-century is yet to be bettered in the IPL.