We can all rightfully acknowledge the fact that the Indian T20 League has set some bizarre batting standards since its inception in 2008. The format of the game is such that the batters are required to approach every game with the mentality of ‘go hard or go home’.
As a result, the fans have been duly enthralled by some outstanding knocks, which has helped put the competition in a league of its own. Considered by many as one of the most competitive T20 leagues around the globe, we analyse one of the many byproducts of the intense gameplay by looking at five players to have scored the quickest centuries in the history of the tournament.
Chris Gayle vs Pune – 30 balls (April 2013)
It just had to be him!
Taking on Pune in the 2013 edition of the tournament, the spectators bore witness to an absolute GayleStorm, as opener Chris Gayle, playing for Bangalore, completed his century in a mere 30 deliveries. Playing a 167-run stand for the opening wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan, the southpaw not only remained unbeaten throughout the innings but also scored 175 off 66 balls to take his team to 263/5.
His innings included a whopping 13 fours and 17 sixes.
He was rightfully adjudged the Man of the Match award after also accumulating two wickets for five runs in his only over.
Yusuf Pathan vs Mumbai – 37 balls (March 2010)
Playing for Rajasthan in 2010, all-rounder Yusuf Pathan smashed what was the fastest Indian T20 League ton back then.
Pathan showcased his supreme hard-hitting prowess against Mumbai as his side was chasing 212. The all-rounder arrived at the crease when his side had lost three wickets for 40 in almost seven overs. Taking over the mantle, Pathan hit nine fours and eight sixes to complete his century in 37 balls.
Regardless of his efforts though, Rajasthan fell short of four runs, but Pathan picked up the Man of the Match award.
David Miller vs Bangalore – 38 balls (May 2013)
In the same edition where Gayle was at his brutal best, David Miller was slowly making positive strides while playing for Punjab.
Punjab crossed swords with Bangalore in the 51st game of the edition and were put to chase 190 after both Cheteshwar Pujara and Chris Gayle had scored half-centuries. Coming in to bat, Punjab were reduced to 51-for-3 in eight overs and were in dire need of someone who can take on the bowlers from that point on.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, Miller walked on to the pitch and went on to score a 38-ball century, which included eight fours and seven sixes, to take his side to a six-wicket victory, with 12 balls still to go.
Adam Gilchrist vs Mumbai – 42 balls (April 2008)
A breathtaking performance from Adam Gilchrist against Mumbai in the inaugural season not only gave Deccan their maiden victory but also made the Australian opener the fastest batsman to score an Indian T20 League ton.
Mumbai had put 154/7 on board, riding on a late blitz by the likes of Shaun Pollock, Abhishek Nayar and Dwayne Bravo. And while it was thought to be a close encounter between the two star-studded units, it took Deccan just 12 overs to reach the target.
Opening the innings for them was Gilchrist and VVS Laxman. The latter, as was expected of him, took his time on the crease, while the former went all guns blazing, completing his century in just 42 balls. The southpaw remained unbeaten at 109 as his team registered a 10-wicket victory.
AB de Villiers vs Gujarat – 43 balls (May 2016)
In May 2016, Bangalore took on Gujarat at home and those watching the fixture were duly entertained by an absolute masterclass from Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
After losing an early wicket, that of Chris Gayle, the two hard-hitting batsmen joined forces to take their side from 19-for-1 to 248-for-3, with Kohli scoring 109 off 55 deliveries, while de Villiers smashing 129 off just 52. The South African’s ton, in fact, came in just 43 balls, making him the fifth-fastest batsman to score an Indian T20 League century. Striking at a rate of 248.07, his innings included 10 fours and 12 sixes.
Bangalore, meanwhile, were equally brilliant with the ball, as they managed to dislodge the entire Gujarat team for just 104, winning the match by 144 runs; the biggest margin of victory in the tournament’s history.
Special mention: In April 2017, a year after de Villiers' blistering knock, Hyderabad's David Warner, too, scored a 43-ball ton against Kolkata. The Australian eventually scored 126 off 59 balls as his team posted 209/3 in 20 overs.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran