In a format where scoring quick is the name of the game, the value of measured, methodical knock tends to get undermined. While ‘live fast, die young’ certainly seems to the mantra for most batsmen in T20s, some choose to play smart and pile big runs methodically to ensure the best possible outcome for their side.
Earlier, we already covered the fastest centuries in the Indian T20 League, so below, we’ll take a look at the slowest by the number of balls faced. And while they may be the slowest by definition, these tons are only relatively slow and are often the result of circumstances rather than choice.
Manish Pandey vs Deccan – 67 balls (2009)
In Match 56 of the second edition of the Indian T20 League, youngster Manish Pandey became the first Indian batsman to score a century in the world’s premier T20 league and it came in a 14-run victory for his Bangalore side over Deccan.
The 19-year-old was promoted up the order to open the innings, and after a minor scare in the third over, when he hit the ball straight to RP Singh who couldn’t hold on to it, Pandey played with caution and put away any loose deliveries on offer, scoring his maiden Indian T20 League ton in 67 balls.
Pandey smashed 10 fours and four sixes and finished with 114 runs off 73 balls. The youngster scored over two-thirds of his team’s total of 170.
David Warner vs Kolkata – 66 balls (2010)
David Warner, the fourth-highest run-scorer in the competition, has been the most successful overseas player in the tournament and has the highest average of any batsman with over 600 runs in the league.
The Australian opener has scored over 500 runs in each of the past five seasons and has scored four centuries in the league, which ranks joint third-highest in tournament's history.
His first came for Delhi against Kolkata in brutal circumstances. Batting first, the team from the capital lost a wicket on the final ball of each of the first three overs and were reduced 38-3 at the conclusion of the third over. With 17 overs left to bat, Warner, alongside Paul Collingwood, decided to steady the ship and forged a mammoth 128-run partnership with the England all-rounder.
Warner reached his century on the first ball of the final over and helped Delhi post a competitive target of 178. Delhi defended the target with ease, winning by 40 runs, and for his incredible 107 off 69 balls which included nine fours and five sixes, Warner was named the Man of the Match.
Sachin Tendulkar vs Kochi – 66 balls (2011)
Just 13 days after India won the ICC Cricket World Cup after 28 years at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the Mecca of Indian cricket witnessed another ever-lasting memory as the nation’s greatest cricketer, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, smashed his first and only ton in T20s and the Indian T20 League against Kochi.
While opening partner Davy Jacobs struggled to get going, Sachin was seemingly batting on a different surface altogether, smashing the Kochi bowlers all around the park in what was a masterful display from the Master Blaster.
After Jacobs’ dismissal, Sachin and Ambati Rayudu forged a 116-run partnership that took the Mumbai to 177-4 in 19.4 overs. The Master, batting on 95, smashed a boundary with a helicopter shot before taking a single on the final ball to reach his maiden Indian t20 League ton to a rapturous ovation from the Wankhede faithful.
Despite Sachin’s outstanding knock, Mumbai ended up on the losing side as Brendon McCullum’s 81 off 60 balls, Mahela Jayawardene’s 56 off 36 and a cameo from Ravindra Jadeja guided Kochi to victory with six balls to spare. The match though will forever be remembered for Sachin’s magnificent display with the bat.
Kevin Pietersen vs Deccan – 64 balls (2012)
Chasing 157 against Deccan in 2012, Delhi found themselves in a ditch early, as Naman Ojha, Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene all perished within the first five overs with just 23 on the scoreboard.
Just five overs later, Ross Taylor followed suit, as Delhi saw the run-rate climb above nine with no recognised batsman left. Kevin Pietersen, who came in to bat in the second over, was watching his team unravel from the non-striker’s end, but the Englishman wasn’t dithered.
Pietersen continued to keep the scoreboard ticking from his end and following Taylor’s dismissal, the flashy stroke-player went into attack mode, forging a 49-run partnership in 30 balls with Irfan Pathan, of which the Indian all-rounder’s contribution was a meagre five.
Pathan’s dismissal brought Yogesh Nagar to the centre and the pinch-hitter proved to be the perfect partner for Pietersen, who continued his charge against the Deccan bowling attack. With two needed off the final over, the Englishman, who was batting on 97 off 63 balls, smashed Ankit Sharma for a six, the last of nine that he hit in the match to go along with six boundaries, which brought up his century and ended the contest.
Virat Kohli vs Gujarat – 63 balls (2016)
The 2016 edition of the tournament was a special season for Virat Kohli.
The Indian cricket team captain scored a tournament record of 973 runs in 16 matches and led Bengalore to the final, where they were beaten by Hyderabad.
Kohli smashed four centuries in that campaign, a record for most in a single season, and the first came against Gujarat in Rajkot.
Batting first, the Indian skipper opened the innings alongside Shane Watson and set the stage on fire on a warm day in Gujarat. Kohli smashed 11 fours and a six in his innings of 100 off 63 balls and guided Bangalore to a mammoth total of 180-2.
Their bowling attack though, as usual, struggled to contain the Lions’ stacked batting line-up and the home side managed to chase the total down with four balls to spare. Kohli was awarded the Man of the Match award despite ending on the losing side, showcasing just how brilliant his knock was.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar