The IPL has revolutionised T20 cricket and the way franchise cricket is run. With a wealth of overseas talent mixing with the Indian locals, many Australian cricketers have had their fair share of success in the tournament.
With the 13th edition set to start in a month, I wanted to look at back at my top ten knocks by Australian cricketers in the IPL (in no particular order).
Faulkner cuts loose in Bangalore – 2014 IPL
T20 masterclasses from Yuvraj Singh (83 off 38) and AB De Villiers (58 off 32) would see Royal Challengers Bangalore post 5-190.
Into the 14th over, Rajashtan Royals were in deep trouble as the set batsman in Karun Nair (56 off 39) was bowled and the Royals 5-106. With 85 off 39 required, in came James Faulkner to join Steve Smith. Faulkner struggled at first, scoring a mere three runs in six deliveries and nearly being run out in the 17th over. That slice of luck would end up paying dividends for the Aussie all-rounder.
He took Mitch Starc to the cleaners, smashing 18 runs in his next five deliveries. With Steve Smith (48 off 21) smashing Ashoke Dinda in the 18th over, Rajashtan went from needing 65 off four overs to 18 off 11. Faulkner’s next four deliveries would go – six, two, four six and Rajasthan Royals pulled off an incredible run chase.
For Faulkner to take on Bangalore’s best bowler in Mitch Starc began a shift in momentum where he and Steve Smith took Rajasthan home with seven balls remaining. Scoring 41 off 17 and taking one wicket, Faulkner was adjudged man of the match.
Lynn tames Lions in Rajkot – 2017 IPL
In Kolkata Knight Riders first match of the 2017 edition, they faced Gujurat Lions in Rajkot. On a flat surface, the Lions racked up 4-183 courtesy of Suresh Raina’s half-century (68* off 51) and handy contributions from Brendon McCullum (35 off 24) and Dinesh Karthik (47 off 25).
After facing seven deliveries, Chris Lynn had smashed 22 runs and continued to play in the same manner. Whether it was hoicking it through square leg or smashing sixes down the ground, Lynn was middling everything. Hitting Dwayne Smith for 23 runs in one over, the Queenslander would reach his half-century in 19 balls.
Scoring 23 runs in his next 17 deliveries, Lynn was dropped on 73 in the 15th over. He’d punish the Lions for their mistake by finishing the game in the 15th over as Kolkata chased down 184 in 14.5 overs and by ten wickets.
Everything went Lynn’s way that night and it was some of the cleanest hitting I had seen in the IPL. Scoring 93 off 41, Chris Lynn was announced as man of the match.
Henriques the difference in thriller – 2015 IPL
After a flurry of boundaries, Sunrisers Hyderabad lost Shikhar Dhawan for 13 in the fourth over. His dismissal would prompt Moises Henriques to join his Australian counterpart David Warner at the crease. The Sunrisers’ batting struggled for timing with Warner gone for 17 while Eoin Morgan (22 off 25) was dismissed by the 11th over.
Struggling for timing himself, Henriques patiently waited as he hit his first boundary after 18 balls. But just when he was starting to cut loose, Henriques lost his partner Karan Sharma (16 off 13) to a poor shot.
The loss of Sharma didn’t stop Henriques for too long, as he reaches his half-century off 39 balls – quite a turnaround considering Henriques was 12 off 17 at one stage. Cashing in at the final few overs, Henriques finished 74 off 46 not out as Sunrisers Hyderabad posted 4-163 on a slightly two-paced wicket.
Grafting and grinding his own innings, Henriques’ innings ensured that Sunrisers had a competitive total. Despite half-centuries from Quinton De Kock (50 off 31) and Kedar Jadhav (63* off 34), Delhi would lose by six runs as Henriques’ 74 would see him get player of the match.
Warner thrashes Kolkata bowlers all over Hyderabad – 2017 IPL
Batting first against Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad needed to put runs on the board. Shimmying down the wicket to Nathan Coulter-Nile first ball, David Warner was nearly caught behind first ball. In his ninth delivery, Warner would be dropped by Chris Woakes as he mistimed a pull shot off Umesh Yadav. From thereon, Warner didn’t look back.
Tearing apart the KKR bowlers, he would reach his half-century in a mere 20 deliveries.
Warner’s onslaught would continue but once again, luck went his way when Chris Woakes dropped a relatively simple chance at long-on with Warner on 86. In front of the Hyderabadi crowd, the boy from Matraville reached his century in 42 balls with Sunrisers 0-126 after 11 overs.
Chris Woakes would finally dismiss Warner on 126 as he mistimed a slower ball to the hands of Gautam Gambhir at cover. Warner’s century against a quality KKR bowling attack would see Sunrisers propel their score to 3-209 and ultimately, win by 48 runs.
Warner’s second IPL ton lights up Hyderabad – 2012 IPL
In the days when David Warner was at the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), they travelled to Hyderabad to face the Deccan Chargers (now Sunrisers Hyderabad). Half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (84 off 49) and Cameron White (65 off 40) saw Deccan put up a very competitive score of 4-187. Delhi’s run-chase began poorly when Shikhar Dhawan dismissed Virender Sehwag in the first over.
But that didn’t bother Warner. Tonking the Deccan bowlers all over Hyderabad, Warner took a liking for medium-pacer Ashish Reddy – scoring 20 runs off his over before reaching his half-century in 26 deliveries. Deccan captain Kumar Sangakkara had no answers as Warner kept on motoring along. Warner and Naman Ojha (64 off 46) kept the scoreboard ticking.
Warner’s onslaught would continue as he smashed Ankit Sharma for a six to reach his century off 52 balls. The partnership between Ojha and Warner would yield 189 runs as Delhi chased down 188 in 16.4 overs with Warner finishing 109 not out.
Michael’s might in Mohali – 2008 IPL
The IPL made a big bang in the opening match following a breathtaking 158 from Brendon McCullum and needed an entertaining second match to keep the interest well and truly alive as Chennai Super Kings faced Kings XI Punjab in Mohali. Batting first, Chennai lost an early scalp in Parthiv Patel, leading to Michael Hussey walking in at three.
Losing Matthew Hayden (25 off 17) and MS Dhoni (2 off 3) in quick fashion, Hussey plays the anchoring role for a few overs. Cutting loose from the 11th over, Hussey reached his 50 in 31 deliveries. Despite losing Suresh Raina (32 off 13), the Western Australian motored along. As more overs passed, Hussey kept on shifting up the gears, leaving no Punjab bowler spared.
Smashing Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth in the death overs, Hussey would reach his century in the 19th over – gently nudging one off Brett Lee to the off side. James Hopes would concede 25 runs in the final over as CSK posted 5-240 and Hussey finishing 116 not out off 54 deliveries.
Despite scoring 18 off 16 at one stage, Hussey cranked it up when it mattered and gave CSK a daunting total on a flat wicket. Punjab would give the chase a fair hot crack but would fall short by 33 runs in an entertaining run-fest. Fun fact from the game – five of the eight overseas players in this match were Australians (Michael Hussey, Matthew Hayden, James Hopes, Simon Katich and Brett Lee).
Marsh’s scintillating century – IPL 2008
In a dead rubber, as both sides had qualified for the semi-finals, Rajashthan Royals faced Kings XI Punjab in a top of the table clash. Sent in to bat first, Punjab openers Shaun Marsh and James Hopes had the responsibility of giving their team a solid start.
After being watchful in the first over, Marsh went after Shane Watson and Munaf Patel before taking on Pankaj Singh – racing off to 45 off 25. Reaching his fifty off 27 deliveries, Marsh took a back seat as Hopes began to take the ascendancy. Marsh’s onslaught began again from the fourteenth over and despite losing Hopes (51 off 35), Marsh went up the gears. Pushing one down the ground, the Western Australian batsman reached his hundred off 59 balls.
Marsh and Yuvraj Singh (49 off 16) continued their reign of sixes all over Mohali until Marsh was dismissed by Shane Watson for a well made 115. The then 24-year-old had hit 11 fours and seven sixes in an exhilarating knock as Kings XI Punjab posted 3-221. Despite a late flurry from Rajashtan’s middle order, Punjab would comfortably win by 41 runs.
Maxwell’s day out in Abu Dhabi – IPL 2014
In the third match of the 2014 edition (first 20 matches held in UAE due to Indian elections), Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab faced each other in Abu Dhabi. On one of the flattest wickets I’ve seen for a white-ball game in the UAE, Chennai posted 4-205.
With Virender Sehwag dismissed for 19 in the third over, Glenn Maxwell was promoted to number three.
Despite losing Cheteshwar Pujara (13 off 10) and Akshar Patel (2 off 3) in quick succession, Maxwell played his natural game from ball one. Playing all type of sweep shots against Chennai’s spinners, MS Dhoni and his bowlers were struggling to contain the Victorian all-rounder. Taking 25 balls to reach his fifty, Maxwell knew the job was far from done.
Smashing Chennai’s bowlers all over the park, Maxwell kept on shifting gears. Taking on Dwayne Smith in the 16th over, Maxwell raced to 95 and the required run rate was suddenly below nine an over. But the West Indian yorked Maxwell and took his pegs as he fell five short of a deserving hundred.
A half-century from David Miller (54* off 37) ensured Punjab chased down 206 with seven balls to spare. Despite a flat wicket on offer, Maxwell’s onslaught was one heck of an innings under pressure.
Gilchrist ensures Deccan progress in Durban – IPL 2009
In the 1st semi-final, wooden spooners from the previous edition in Deccan Chargers faced Delhi Daredevils in Durban (2009 IPL was played in South Africa following the unfortunate terrorist attack in Mumbai a few months earlier. Batting first, Delhi posted 8-153 and had the bowling attack to defend a middling score.
But Adam Gilchrist had other ideas. Defending his first ball, Gilly smashes five boundaries in the first over as Delhi are pushed back. Despite Herschelle Gibbs (0 of 2) and Azhar Bilakia (10 off 20) struggling to even rotate the strike, Gilchrist is in sixth gear from the get-go. Attacking the Delhi bowlers mercilessly, Gilchrist score the then fastest IPL fifty (19 balls).
Reaching 74 off 25, Gilly tones down a tad before Ashish Nehra dismisses Gilchrist for 85 off 35. In one the most breathtaking innings in IPL history, Gilly had single-handedly knocked out Delhi with the bat as Deccan won by six wickets in a comfortable run-chase.
Watson tons up in Wankhede – IPL 2018
In the 2018 IPL final, Sunrisers Hyderabad faced Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Batting first, Sunrisers post a competitive 6-178 and with the best bowling attack of the competition, it looks like Chennai may not chase it down.
Chennai begin their run-chase terribly as Faf Du Plessis departs for ten as Chennai are 1-16 after four overs. Watson is struggling to middle anything as he ekes to eight off 16. In his 17th delivery, Watto finally connects one in the middle of the bat as he nails Sandeep Sharma over square leg for six. From there, Watson seems to have turned a corner as he starts middling everything, reaching his fifty off 33 balls.
No one was stopping him from there. Taking a liking for Sandeep Sharma and Carlos Brathwaite, Watson reached his fourth IPL century off 51 balls. 92 of those runs came in his last 35 deliveries. Scoring another 17 runs in his next six deliveries, Ambati Rayudu (16* off 19) hits the winning runs as Chennai won the 2018 IPL edition. Scoring 117 not out off 57 deliveries, Shane Watson had scored a brilliant knock in the biggest game in franchise cricket.