With just 20 overs to bat, hundreds in T20Is have been a rare occurrence, with only 55 scored till date.
Rohit Sharma, who scored five centuries at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup alone, leads all batsmen with four T20I centuries, further illustrating how incredibly difficult it is to reach triple figures in the shortest format of the game.
Despite the low number, T20Is have seen some incredible knocks over the years and below, we list the five biggest so far.
Aaron Finch – 172 vs Zimbabwe (2018)
Flat deck, short boundaries, and an average bowling attack.
Australian skipper Aaron Finch had everything going for him against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club in 2018 and the hard-hitting opener did not let the opportunity pass by.
Finch played an astonishing knock of 172 off 76 balls, setting the new record for the highest individual score by a batsman in T20Is. The skipper’s scintillating knock included a T20I record, 16 fours and 10 sixes as Australia piled 229 against a hapless Zimbabwe side.
Finch’s inning ended with an anti-climax, however, as he lost balance and hit the stumps with his bat while trying to attempt a cut shot on a delivery outside the off-stump.
Hazratullah Zazai – 162* vs Ireland (2019)
In the second T20I between Ireland and Afghanistan in Dehradun in 2019, Afghanistan opener Hazratullah Zazai smashed an unbeaten 162 in just 62 balls, leading his team to a total of 278/3 - the highest in T20 Internationals.
Zazai smashed a T20I record, 16 sixes as well as 10 boundaries in his magnificent knock, and his 236-run partnership with fellow opener Usmani Ghani is the highest for any partnership in T20s, going past Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers’ record of 229 that they set in the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League against Gujarat Lions.
Despite Ireland’s valiant chase, Afghanistan won the match by 84 runs.
Aaron Finch – 156 vs England (2013)
Five years prior to his astonishing knock against Zimbabwe, Finch smashed an incredible 156 off 63 balls against England at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
Batting first, England struck early as Stuart Broad dismissed the dangerous David Warner for just one off five deliveries but that did not deter Finch, who took over the scoring mantle and smashed 14 sixes and 11 fours to set a new record for the highest individual score in T20Is and guided Australia to a massive total of 248. Despite Joe Root’s unbeaten 90 off 49 balls, the Kangaroos won the contest by 39 runs.
This marked the first instance of a batsman scoring 150+ in T20Is and has since been done only twice – by Hazratullah Zazai in 2019 and by Finch himself in 2018.
Glenn Maxwell – 145* vs Sri Lanka (2016)
Aaron Finch's position at the top of the list, along with Glen Maxwall in fourth underscores the Aussie dominance in this area. Not often does Maxwell open the batting for his country, but when he did against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in 2016, the hard-hitting all-rounder smashed 145 off just 65 balls to guide his team to a mammoth total of 263/3.
Maxwell’s innings included 11 fours and nine sixes, and it helped Australia register a comprehensive 85-run victory over the home side. At the time, Australia’s 263 was the highest score by a team in T20Is but has since been surpassed twice. Afghanistan’s aforementioned 278/3 is now the highest score by a team in T20Is, followed by Czech Republic’s 278/4 against Turkey in the Continental Cup in 2019.
George Munsey – 127* vs Netherlands (2019)
In the second match of the Tri-Nation T20I Series between Scotland and Netherlands, Scottish opener George Munsey smashed an unbeaten 127 off just 56 balls to guide his team to a total of 252/3 in their 20 overs.
Munsey’s innings included 14 sixes and just five fours, and he reached his 100 in just 41 balls - the fifth-fastest in T20I history. Despite Dutch captain Pieter Seelaar’s stellar knock of 96 off 49 balls, Scotland won the match by 58 runs.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Jekesai Njikizana