NEW DELHI: Ten days into the eighth edition of the T20 World Cup and the cricketing extravaganza has already seen some nerve-wracking batting performances, lighting up the tournament in grand style.
The sharp pace and bounce of some of the Australian drop-in pitches, especially at a venue like the MCG have caught a few batters by surprise and also certainly added quite a bit of spice to the competitions Down Under. But despite that there have been some exceptional performances from the batters that have set the tournament on fire.
Showing no regard to the long Australian boundaries and the opposition bowlers, big names have risen to the occasion in style with their mighty striking prowess and have swung results in favour of their teams single handedly.
TimesofIndia.com here takes a look at some of the most impactful innings that have been nothing short of mind-boggling at the T20 World Cup in Australia so far.
(All statistics in this article are updated till after the Aus vs SL Super 12 match on October 25)
VIRAT KOHLI (82 NOT OUT VS PAKISTAN)
Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Virat Kohli silenced his critics in a manner like never before, playing one of the greatest knocks in modern-day cricket to help Team India snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The India-Pakistan arch-rivals clash on 23rd October will go down in the history books as one of the greatest matches of the shortest format and chasemaster Virat was the showstopper of the high-octane contest. His unbeaten 53-ball 82 knock in pursuit of 160 was one of the best in T20 cricket’s history as it lit up the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground packed with over 90,000 cricket-crazy spectators.
Virat Kohli (AP Photo)
In the high-pressure match which swung like a pendulum till the very last ball, Virat’s knock was the difference between the two sides as India pulled off a miraculous win. Laced with 6 fours and 4 sixes, Virat played a ‘virat’ knock, bringing the cricketing world to a standstill. All sorts of records, including the viewership record were rewritten on Sunday, thanks to a Virat special.
Even Kohli — who has been playing international cricket for over 15 years — admitted that it was his best T20I knock ever. Be it spinners or pacers bowling over 150 kph, Kohli on Sunday was at his brutal best, tonking the Pakistani bowlers to all corners of the grand MCG and really doing what he does best – gauging just when to accelerate in a tricky run chase.
His knock helped India clinch an unbelievable 4-wicket win over the arch-rivals to start their campaign this time on a high.
MARCUS STOINIS (59 NOT OUT VS SRI LANKA)
Power-hitter Marcus Stoinis was in beast mode on Tuesday as he smashed a scintillating unbeaten 18-ball 59 in Australia’s 7-wicket win over Asian Champions Sri Lanka in Perth.
Coming into the match after a heavy 89-run defeat against New Zealand, defending champions Australia needed something special to lift up their morale and Stoinis’ knock was the exact thing that will now make the Aussies believe in themselves again.
Chasing a somewhat par 158, Aussies needed to get to the target in quick time as well so as to make up for the net run rate that nosedived after their loss against New Zealand.
(Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)
Stoinis came in at no.5 all guns blazing against the Sri Lanka bowlers, smashing the fastest T20I fifty ever by an Australian. His swashbuckling 59-run knock is now also the joint-second-fastest fifty in the men’s T20 World Cup (17 balls).
Sending the ball into the stratosphere on six occasions, the Stoinis carnage came at a strike rate of 327.78 and finished the match in the blink of an eye. The Lankas were well and truly in the game, but they couldn’t stop the Soinis juggernaut.
Achieving the victory target against Sri Lanka with 21 balls to spare, courtesy Stoinis, Australia also significantly improved their net run rate and moved to the fourth spot in their group.
FINN ALLEN (42) AND DEVON CONWAY (92 NOT OUT) VS AUSTRALIA
Rookie Finn Allen and his opening partner Devon Conway in a joint effort decimated defending champions Australia in the Super 12 opener on October 21.
The trans-Tasman rivalry turned out to be a one-sided affair as the Allen-Conway duo stunned the hosts with their breathtaking striking.
Devon Conway and Finn Allen (Image credit: BlackCaps)
Newbie Allen, playing his first-ever World Cup game showed no signs of nerves and threw the kitchen sink at the experienced Aussie bowlers, stunning them into silence.
Allen’s 16-ball 42 inside the powerplay gave the Kiwis a flying start and after his departure in the fifth over, Conway took over and kept on hammering the Aussie bowlers.
While Allen hit 5 fours and 3 sixes in 262-strike rate knock, Conway remained unbeaten (58-ball 92) throughout, powering New Zealand to 200 for three after being asked to bat first.
Chasing a huge total, Australia crumbled under pressure, folding up for 111 in the 18th over.
QUINTON DE KOCK (47 NOT OUT VS ZIMBABWE)
Rain played spoilsport as South Africa, in their tournament opener, had to settle for shared points with Zimbabwe in what would have been one of the easiest wins for the Proteas. But amidst the rain in Hobart, Quinton de Kock’s belligerent 18-ball unbeaten 47 was the dynamite that blew away their fellow Africans.
In the rain-shortened match, Zimbabwe scored 79 for 5 in 9 overs and when South Africa came out to chase, de Kock was on the mission to get to the finish line in double quick time. With a rain threat looming large, de Kock went berserk and started mercilessly hammering Zimbabwe bowlers. Thanks to the de Kock bashing, South Africa were 51 for no loss in just 3 overs with the left-hander scoring 47 of those runs and his partner Temba Bavuma facing a mere two balls for his 2 runs.
Quinton de Kock (AFP Photo)
The way de Kock was batting, it looked like it would be a matter of a couple of overs for the Proteas to register a win but then rain kicked in again, this time washing away the game completely and denying South Africa a win.
Even though the Proteas were ahead of the Duckworth–Lewis par score at the end of three overs, as stipulated five overs were not completed for the Duckworth–Lewis method to be applied and South Africa were denied a guaranteed win. Despite that, de Kock’s knock made a big impact and a team like India would have watched very closely. The Men in Blue play the Proteas in Perth next Sunday, October 30.
PAUL STIRLING (66 NOT OUT VS WEST INDIES)
An unbeaten 48-ball 66 knock from an opening batter, in general, is a usual day at work in T20 format but Irish veteran Paul Stirling with this effort caused the biggest upset of the 2022 T20 World Cup, knocking out two-time champions West Indies.
Stirling’s mature knock was the final nail in the coffin for West Indies, who had a torrid run in the qualifier phase of the tournament and were sent packing by the Irish opener.
Although Stirling innings (8 boundaries) came at a strike rate of just over 137 but it had a tremendous impact in context of the match and the competition overall, knocking out the former champions.
After bowlers restricted the flamboyant Caribbean batters to 146, Stirling along with Andrew Balbirnie (37) and Lorcan Tucker (45*) caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament. The Irish then went in to stun England as well in the Super 12 stage.