The power game is at the core of T20 cricket. We have seen some hitting in the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the years which have amazed us and left us in awe. Suresh Raina's knock against Kings XI Punjab in which he scored 87 runs off just 25 balls and the innings where Yusuf Pathan demolished Sunrisers Hyderabad with a knock of 72 runs from 22 are some of the best in IPL history.
A quick-fire 30 or 40 changes the course of a T20 match more often than a well-built inning of 70 or 80 runs does. Here, we look at five such cameos which stand out in the history of the IPL.
Nb: Innings with less than 13 balls have only been considered as ‘cameos’ for this article.
5. Sarfraz Khan, 35 runs from 10 balls vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2016
This would have been an excellent knock, but the fact that this was done by an 18-year-old rookie against probably the best bowling line-up of the IPL made it something special.
Batting first, Royal Challengers Bangalore were already in a good position at 183/3 in the 18th over when Sarfraz Khan walked in. They looked like on course to set a target of around 200-210 runs, but the cameo from Sarfraz took their tally to 227 runs.
Khan hit 5 boundaries and 2 sixes during the course of the innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, one of the best death bowlers in the IPL and limited-overs cricket was hit for 4 fours and a six in an over by the youngster.
RCB ended up winning the match comfortably by 45 runs as SRH could manage only 182 for the loss of 6 wickets in their 20 overs.
4. Chris Morris, 38 runs from 9 balls vs Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL 2017
This is the innings with the highest recorded strike rate in IPL history. Chris Morris single-handedly converted an average total which the Delhi Daredevils (as the Delhi franchise was then known) should have attained to something unachievable for the Rising Pune Supergiant.
The South African all-rounder had walked in after the wicket of Sanju Samson. Delhi Daredevils were at 166/4 with just 10 balls left in the innings. Morris ended up facing nine off those and smacked the ball all around the park, scoring 38 runs in the process. This includes 4 boundaries and 3 monstrous sixes.
After hitting Adam Zampa for 16 runs in 4 balls, Morris decimated Ben Stokes, taking him for 22 runs in the 20th over to take Delhi Daredevils to 205/4 in 20 overs. The Delhi side won the game easily as Pune Supergiant were dismissed for a paltry 108.
3. AB de Villiers, 41 runs from 11 balls vs Mumbai Indians, IPL 2015
AB de Villiers has played at least one innings to remember in each edition of the IPL. We choose this knock from the 2015 IPL.
Chasing a target of 210 runs set by Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore were in a precarious position at 62/3 in 10.4 overs when AB de Villiers came in.
Mr. 360 was in an ominous mood right from the outset. He hit Mitchell McClenaghan for 2 fours and a six off the first three balls that he faced. The next to bear the brunt of the former South African skipper was none other than Lasith Malinga. He smoked Malinga for 22 runs from just 5 balls which included 2 fours and 2 maximums. It's not often that Malinga gets clobbered in an IPL match.
His fellow South African David Wiese also played a good hand of 47 runs from 25 balls but the target proved to be too big for RCB on the day. They ended their innings at 191/7, losing the match by 18 runs.
2. Albie Morkel, 28 runs from 7 balls vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2012
This insane knock from Albie Morkel came in the 2012 IPL. He went in to bat with the Chennai Super Kings requiring 43 runs to win from the last two overs. Morkel hit 3 sixes and 2 boundaries in addition to a couple in the over, scoring 28 runs off 6 balls. Even though he got out on the next ball he faced, the South African all-rounder had changed the course of the tide in favour of CSK. It certainly helped that he had to face the innocuous medium pace of Virat Kohli.
Chasing a target of 206 set by RCB, Faf du Plessis had given a strong platform at the top of the order, scoring 71 from 46 balls. With 15 runs required off the last over, DJ Bravo hit a boundary and a six to finish off the game. After being behind till the last two overs of the match, the Super Kings pulled off one of the biggest heists in IPL history riding on the blitzkrieg from Albie Morkel.
1. Andre Russell, 48 runs from 13 balls vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2019
We have seen some monstrous hitting from the Jamaican all-rounder in the IPL and elswhere, but this innings against RCB was probably the best he has ever played. Chasing a total of 206 against RCB, the Kolkata Knight Riders looked down and out at the time Andre Russell came to the crease. They were at 139/4 and required 67 runs from just 26 balls.
KKR lost their skipper Dinesh Karthik in the next over. That's what we saw something special. The ball flew over the fence from Dre Russ's bat 7 times. He scored 48 runs from 13 balls, and 46 of those runs came off boundaries.
KKR ended up winning the match with 5 balls to spare. And this became one of the best knocks ever in IPL history. Tim Southee bore the majority of this attack from the Jamaican. He was taken for 4 sixes and a four in an over by Russell. His figures at the end of the match read 0 for 61 from 4 overs.