Chris Gayle’s 175* during the 2013 IPL remains the highest score ever hit in a professional T20 match.
On the recent Wisden and CricViz podcast, The Greatest T20, Luke Wright, who was playing in the game for Pune Warriors, recalled what it was like to be on the receiving end of that onslaught. Wright actually managed to escape that day with impressive figures of 1-26 from his four overs, but a number of his teammates weren’t quite as fortunate.
While Gayle’s overall T20 record is brilliant – he has 14 more hundreds in the format than anyone else – his record against left-arm spin is even more striking. During his 175*, one part-time left-arm spinner saw first hand just how brutal Gayle can be against left-arm spin. Aaron Finch’s sole over cost his side 29 runs, with 28 coming off Gayle’s blade. Gayle’s partner, Tillakaratne Dilshan, milked the first ball of the over for a single, before Gayle proceeded to hit four sixes and a four off the next five balls.
Reminiscing about that day, Wright noted that Yuvraj Singh‘s absence from the attack that day was conspicuous. “Going back to that 175*, I think it was Aaron Finch bowling left-arm straights basically,” said Wright. “Yuvraj seemed to have a bit of a sore shoulder that day so Finchy had to bowl. I just remember him [Yuvraj] smiling, I think he even laughed when Finchy came on and poor Finchy went absolutely miles.”
Yuvraj had been one of Pune’s more reliable bowlers that season, bowling in 10 of their 13 matches with an economy rate of less than seven runs per over. Finch, the Pune captain, meanwhile bowled just four overs across the entire tournament. Yuvraj was fit enough to deliver two overs in both the Pune match before and after the 175* game.
Earlier in the show, CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde highlighted the extent of Gayle’s dominance over left-arm spin. “Left-arm spin is the one that you just never bowl to Gayle,” explained Wilde. “His record is absurd. He averages, I think, more than 100 against left-arm spin and he’ll score at a strike-rate of 200-plus and he knows he can wait out his six balls from Luke Wright and when the left-arm spinner comes, he’ll get stuck into him.”