New Delhi: The league stage of the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League saw some breath-taking performances with the bat. From centuries to quick-fire half-centuries, the players took the league by storm with their respective showings.
Let's take a look at the top-5 batting performances so far from the group phase-
Chris Lynn vs Gujarat Lions - Match 3, Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium
Photo Credit: BCCI
Chris Lynn had come into the IPL with a reputation of being a bludgeoner, thanks to a scintillating show by the batsman in the Big Bash League in Australia. And he did his reputation no harm against Gujarat Lions at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
Opening the innings with skipper Gautam Gambhir, in place of regular opener Robin Uthappa, Lynn’s unbeaten innings of 93 off just 41 balls not only took KKR home with 31 balls to spare, but also ensured that the Lions were never in the contest in the second half of the game.
Chasing 184 for a win was not expected to be an easy task even though it was a belter of a track, but Lynn made his intentions clear from the word go. He hit the last ball of Praveen Kumar’s first over for a boundary over the square-leg fielder and that was that.
What followed after that was clear carnage as he used his power-hitting skills to bash eight sixes and six boundaries. He was intent on taking the Gujarat bowlers to the cleaners. Short or full, they were all headed to one direction — the boundary.
He along with Gautam Gambhir also ended up registering the highest opening-wicket stand in the history of IPL surpassing Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan’s opening stand of 167 against Pune in 2013.
Sunil Narine vs Royal Challengers Bangalore - Match 46, M Chinnaswamy Stadium
Sunil Narine tore apart the records books in stunning style as he slammed the fastest Indian Premier League half-century against a hapless Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling attack at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Chasing a target of 159, Chris Lynn first made his intentions clear by hitting two fours and a six in the first over itself. However, Narine exploded in the fourth over of the chase and took Samuel Badree to the cleaners by hitting boundaries at will.
Three huge sixes and a four in the first four balls from Badree set the tone for Narine's innings. In the next over, Narine slammed four boundaries and one huge six off the bowling of Sreenath Aravind to notch up his half-century off just 15 deliveries.
Narine now joins Yusuf Pathan at the top of the pile as far as fastest fifty in the cash-rich league is concerned. Yusuf too slammed a half-century off 15 deliveries against Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2014.
Narine’s onslaught also helped KKR set the record for most number of runs scored by a team in the powerplay overs (first six overs) in IPL.
Rahul Tripathi vs Kolkata Knight Riders - Match 41, Eden Gardens
Rahul Tripathi reminded the world of his talent when he scored 93 runs off just 52 balls as Rising Pune Supergiant beat Kolkata Knight Riders in the last over of the match.
Tripathi brought up his fifty in just 23 deliveries and did not allow the pressure to build, even as the Kolkata bowlers kept on chipping away at the wickets.
The opener shared a 48-run second wicket stand with captain Steve Smith (9), where it was Tripathi who did all the scoring. Tripathi's one man show was highlighted by the fact that Ben Stokes was the second highest scorer for Pune with just 14 runs.
The youngster slammed nine boundaries and seven sixes during his stay in the middle, which was ended in the 19th over by Chris Woakes. There were a few nervous moments thereafter, but Dan Christian sealed the deal with a flat cross-batted six to take Pune home with four balls to spare.
Ben Stokes vs Gujarat Lions - Match 39, MCA Stadium
Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steven Smith scored just 4. Former skipper MS Dhoni struggled to 26 off 33 balls. But Ben Stokes scored his first 50 off 38 balls and the second one of 23 balls against Gujarat Lions.
Clearly showing why RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka had shelled out Rs 14.5 crore to bag the English all-rounder during the auction ahead of season 10.
Stokes battled cramps and a disciplined Gujarat Lions bowling attack to not only hit his maiden IPL ton, but also take Pune home with a ball to spare. Dan Christian might have hit the winning six, but that took nothing away from the lion-hearted effort from Stokes.
Having bowled four overs, Stokes returned to the crease with Pune struggling at 10/3 chasing 162 for victory. Having scored just 127 runs in the previous 7 innings, he rose to the occasion when the team needed him most to hammer 103* off just 63 balls with 6 sixes and 7 fours.
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, Stokes showed that form is temporary and class is permanent. His 76-run partnership with Dhoni might have played a big factor in Pune chasing down the total, but truth be told, it was Stokes who single-handedly absorbed the pressure of the ever-increasing required run-rate.
With Dhoni struggling to up the ante, he first launched into Ravindra Jadeja in the 10th over of the innings to pick 15 runs and bring the required run-rate below the 10-run mark and then once again tore into Dwayne Smith in the 16th over to pick 16 runs and ensure that Pune needed just 44 runs off the last 4 overs.
Even though MS Dhoni perished trying to up the ante in the 17th over off Basil Thampi, Stokes stuck on, fighting cramps, to see his team through. It was indeed a colossal effort from the Englishman.
Rishabh Pant vs Gujarat Lions - Match 42, Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium
Gujarat Lions put up a mammoth total of 208 runs and Delhi needed their young stars to show their big hitting might in order to chase down the total. Stand-in-captain Karun Nair fell as early as the third over and that brought Rishabh Pant to the middle.
Pant, who had already showcased his big hitting prowess in the IPL, took the Gujarat bowling to the cleaners, hitting sixes at will. He was well supported by another youngster, Sanju Samson, who too kept the scoring rate high.
The duo hit a total of sixteen sixes and six boundaries between them to take the wind out of Gujarat's bowling unit.
Rishabh Pant was in sublime form as he first hit left-arm paceman Pradeep Sangwan for two consecutive sixes and a boundary in the fifth over. He then targeted the part-time spin of Suresh Raina and hit the off-spinner for two sixes in the ninth over.
The 11th over, bowled by James Faulkner, saw Pant up his ante a notch further as he hit James Faulkner for a boundary and three sixes to bring Delhi's required rate down further.
The southpaw was unlucky to get out just three runs short of what would have been a well-deserved century. Pant's 43-ball stay in the middle produced nine sixes and six boundaries.
Pant's innings was described on Twitter by Sachin Tendulkar as one of the best knock he has seen in IPL history over the past ten season.