The ICC World T20s have made way for some terrific batting displays. T20s are a sophisticated format, thus the best match-winning innings aren’t necessarily the biggest in terms of runs but the most effective within the context of the game.
Best among the many great individual innings are therefore those which result in the team’s win. Following are 5 such examples.
Yuvraj Singh vs England, WT20 2007
Perhaps the most iconic individual innings in T20s, that became a brand in itself, was Yuvraj’s 58 off 16, against England.
On a good batting surface in Durban, India found themselves 155-3, in the 17th over. The onus was on MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh to accelerate and get the team to an above-par score.
That was when the notorious rift between Yuvraj and the England captain, Andrew Flintoff, took place.
What followed afterwards, was a magical display of unmatched power hitting. Yuvraj Singh hit 6 sixes off Stuart Broad, who was bowling the 19th over. Yuvraj became the first-ever cricketer to hit six sixes in a single over of a T20I inning.
The momentum shifted completely in favour of India and Yuvraj went on to score the fastest ever half-century by an individual in international cricket.
England lost the match by a mere 18 runs which shows how vital the innings from Yuvraj was. Effectively an onslaught in a single over ensured India’s semi-final chances were alive and they eventually went on to win the inaugural edition of the tournament.
Alex Hales vs Sri Lanka, WT20 2014
England couldn’t start their WT20 2014 run on the best note, after losing in a rain-affected game against New Zealand. This made their encounter with Sri Lanka all the more important.
After being asked to bat on a relatively fresh pitch in Chattogram, Sri Lanka put on a respectable 189.
In reply, England found themselves 0-2, at the end of the first over. Many would have written England off right there, but Alex Hales wasn’t willing to give up.
He stitched an invaluable 152-run 3rd wicket partnership with captain Eoin Morgan, against the best bowling attack of the time. Even after the partnership was broken, he continued with his naturally aggressive style of batting and took England to victory in the very last over.
His unbeaten 116 was one of the few bright spots in that campaign for England as they lost all their remaining matches.
Virat Kohli vs South Africa, WT20 2014
India were up against South Africa in the second semi-final of the 2014 World T20. Although knockout matches aren’t South Africa’s greatest strength, they were one of the most well-balanced squads at the time and would be a challenge for any opponent.
Chasing 173 in Mirpur can be a tough task. Most Indian batsmen kept getting starts but failed to get anything substantial. Assessing the situation, Virat Kohli decided to steadily approach the target but first got his eye in and then played shots all around the ground.
This was one of the first displays the cricket world had seen of a batsman playing some gorgeous cricket shots even at the death overs of a crucial chase.
In the end, India went on to win by 6 wickets, with 5 balls to spare, courtesy of Virat Kohli’s magnificent unbeaten 72 off 44.
Virat Kohli vs Australia, WT20 2016
Virat Kohli has been the player of the tournament in the last two editions of the World T20s. It is difficult to not include him more than once in this list.
In a virtual quarter-final against Australia in Mohali, India had to chase 161. They soon found themselves at 49-3 in the 8th over.
However, the troubling situation of the game did not seem to affect Virat Kohli at all who was evidently in the form of his life. He managed crucial boundaries in almost every over and took the game as deep as possible, to ensure that running out of batting partners would not be a problem.
He took his usually impressive stroke play up a notch by hitting some glorious cover drives and square drives against James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile in the 18th and 19th over respectively.
With Dhoni hitting the winning runs in the end, Kohli remained unbeaten at 82 off 51 deliveries.
Marlon Samuels vs Sri Lanka, WT20 2012 Final
In their first-ever World T20 final, West Indies got off to a nightmare-esque start. After deciding to bat first, they found themselves at 14-2 in the 6th over.
Due to failing to utilise the powerplay, things looked bleak for the men in maroon. Nonetheless, the in-form Marlon Samuels held one end up and remained unfazed by the regular fall of wickets at the other end.
He played a beautifully paced knock, mixing caution with aggression. The most memorable part of the innings will perhaps always be him hitting 3 sixes off a single over of Lasith Malinga which shifted a lot of the momentum back towards the West Indies.
Samuels was dismissed for 78 off 56. By then, the foundation had been laid for West Indies to get a total of 137 and beat the home team by 36 runs.