The main round of the ICC World T20 2014 in Bangladesh will kick off on Friday with the match between India and Pakistan. As a build-up to the same, we look at five superb batting performances in the event over the years.
Chris Gayle (117 from 57 balls): This was the first ever match in the ICC World T20, as West Indies took on hosts South Africa in the opener of the 2007 edition at Johannesburg. Gayle is undoubtedly viewed as the greatest T20 player ever, so it was only fitting that he played one of the best ever innings in the event in the inaugural match of the World T20. Gayle was unstoppable during his knock as he smashed 7 fours and 10 sixes en route to his 117 from a mere 57 balls. Gayle was most severe on veteran Shaun Pollock, who was thrashed for 52 runs in his four overs. South Africa might have recovered to win the clash, but Gayle’s knock remains among the most stunning ones ever played.
Suresh Raina (101 from 60 balls): India’s beleaguered left-hander needs some inspiration as he looks forward to bringing his career back on track. He would do well to look back at this splendid knock he came up with at Gros Islet versus the South Africans in the 2010 edition. India batted first in this match, and the southpaw was at his attacking best as he smashed 101 from 60 balls with the aid of 9 fours and 5 sixes, single- handedly taking India to a competitive 186 for 5. South Africa were competent in their reply, but couldn’t do enough to overcome Raina’s brilliance.
Yuvraj Singh (70 from 30 balls): It would have been a no-brainer to pick Yuvraj’s blistering half-century against England at Durban in 2007 among the most sensational World T20 knocks. But, considering the significance of the occasion, his 70 from 30 balls against the Aussies at the same venue in the same edition got the vote. It was the semi-final of the edition and, batting first, India were in a bit of trouble at 41 for 2. Yuvraj however blazed his way against the likes of Bracken, Stuart Clark and Johnson to put India on top. His innings featured 5 fours and as many sixes.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (96* from 57 balls): The swashbuckling Lankan opener was in his elements during the semi-final encounter against West Indies at London in 2009. Sri Lanka batted first, and he single-handedly dominated the innings, blasting 12 fours and 2 sixes, and was unlucky to miss out on a century. The knock however was good enough to blaze Sri Lanka into the final of the event.
Marlon Samuels (78 from 56 balls): This was the coming of age of Samuels. Until the 2012 event, he was seen as a talented underperformer, who lost his way, getting involved with bookies. But in the 2012 final against Sri Lanka at Colombo, he stood out and played an innings of high-quality, on a tough surface where even Gayle struggled. Samuels 78 from 56 is particularly remembered for his brutal assault on Malinga (0/54), which swung the momentum Windies’ way. Samuels’ knock comprised 3 fours and 6 sixes as West Indies clinched the 2012 title.
--By A Cricket Analyst