An overseas star in the Indian T20 League since the inception of the tournament in 2008, Shane Watson's stature as a T20 player grew in the league as well as outside it. His spectacular exploits for different franchises and country have given him a place in the category of elite T20 batsmen. Here we rewind three of his best knocks in the shortest format of the game.
117* vs Hyderabad - Indian T20 League final 2018
Watson had scored 438 runs in Indian T20 League 2018 heading into the finals of the tournament. Chasing 179 for a win in the game, Chennai opened with Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis. Watson was stuck on 0 off 10 balls as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma had him in a tangle. But the Australian soon took off, taking 15 and 16 runs off the 6th and 7th over respectively.
Watson chose the right bowlers to go after as he played out Rashid Khan and stole runs from the other end. His half-century came up off 33 balls before he bludgeoned Sandeep in his second spell and Carlos Brathwaite. Watson reached his 100 off 51 balls (remember he was on 0 off 10 balls) and finished with 117* off 57 balls as Chennai lifted the title for the third time.
124* vs India - Sydney, 2016
Watson was in the twilight years of his T20 career for Australia when he blasted his one and only international T20 century. In the 3rd T20I of the series against India, Australia made 197/5 after opting to bat first with Watson contributing to 63% of the team's total. The opener was on fire early on and made up for the constant loss of wickets at the other end.
Even as Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell fell for less than 15, Watson bludgeoned six sixes and 10 fours in a 71-ball knock that yielded 124 runs. He batted through the innings after opening and went on to help Australia post a huge total. However, India overhauled the target with Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina stealing 19 runs off the last over bowled by Andrew Tye.
70 vs Chennai - Indian T20 League 2013
Playing for Rajasthan at the time, Shane Watson played the resurrection act for Rajasthan when chasing 142 for a win at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Rajasthan were reduced to 45 for 4 in the run-chase with Ajinkya Rahane, James Franklin, Sanju Samson and Rahul Dravid dismissed early on. Watson came in at No 5 with Rajasthan in a precarious position and that slipped further as Dravid was dismissed. Stuart Binny joined Watson with the target nearly 100 in 10 overs.
Watson took the game by the scruff of the neck by slamming Ravichandran Ashwin for 23 runs in an over. Bravo was treated with disdain too as Watson reached his half-century at a strike rate of 200. When Watson was dismissed for 70 off 34 balls in the 17th over, Rajasthan needed just four runs to win. Although he made a century for RR in the same edition against Chennai, this knock remains better for the situation from which it came.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Craig Golding