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2000s in Review

Wisden’s T20 innings of the 2000s, Nos.5-1

by Freddie Wilde 15 minute read

Wisden’s five T20 innings of the 2000s, as picked by CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde for the 2000s in Review series.

No.5: Andrew Symonds 117* (53)

Deccan Chargers v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2008
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad
April 24, 2008

Andrew Symonds – a hugely powerful batsman, superb fielder and occasional bowler – was arguably the first great T20 cricketer. In 2004 he hit the second T20 century, for Kent against Middlesex, and one that remained the fastest until 2013. However, his IPL hundred – made four years later – was more impressive.


No.4: Chris Gayle 117 (57)

South Africa v West Indies, T20 World Cup 2007
Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
September 9, 2007

The first T20 international century came in the first T20 World Cup match and it is appropriate that it was Chris Gayle who scored it. Gayle’s elevation to true greatness in the shortest format came in the early years of the next decade but this rampaging century at the Bullring in Johannesburg in the eighth innings of his career was the clearest indication to date of the years of dominance that were to come.


No.3: David Warner 89 (43)

Australia v South Africa, 1st T20I
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
January 11, 2009

The entire innings felt futuristic but not totally detached from the traditions of the game. He was busy from the off – scampering a single off his first ball; he displayed placement – threading a four through backward point; and his six sixes – clubbed in an arc from mid on to square leg, represented the new age. In 64 breathless minutes, Warner’s life changed forever and modern batting had been set on a new path.


No.2: Kieron Pollard 54* (18)

Trinidad and Tobago v New South Wales, CLT20 2009
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
October 16, 2009

Trinidad and Tobago appeared down and out with 51 required off 24 balls – 12 of which would be bowled by Brett Lee – before an astonishing onslaught from Pollard turned the game on its head in a matter of minutes. Pollard was on 7 off 7 balls when he proceeded to score 47 off his following 11 deliveries, with all but two going to the boundary. Such was Pollard’s destruction – Moises Henriques was the primary target – that the chase was completed with a scarcely believable nine balls to spare, leaving Lee’s last over unbowled.

Pollard’s onslaught won him an IPL contract with Mumbai Indians, where he has remained ever since, and it has changed the role of the finisher and what is expected of power-hitters forever.


No.1: Brendon McCullum 158* (73)

Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2008
M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
April 18, 2008

A shoo-in at number one in this list. Irrespective of the decade, or indeed the format, McCullum’s blitzkrieg in the inaugural IPL match remains one of the most iconic innings in cricket history.

Taken in isolation McCullum’s innings was phenomenal and would have found its way into this list had it been played in any match. However, it wasn’t played in any match; it was played in the first ever match of a tournament that would transform cricket forever. For the IPL it was the perfect beginning. “It was when Brendon did what he did that I knew it would work,” recalled the league’s impresario Lalit Modi.


Freddie Wilde is an analyst at CricViz and author of Cricket 2.0: Inside The T20 Revolution, Wisden Book of the Year for 2020

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