The crisp pace and bounce of some Australian drop-in pitches, especially at a venue like the MCG, surprised a few batters and certainly added quite a bit of spice to the leagues Down Under as well. But despite that, there were some exceptional performances from the batters that set the tournament on fire.
Regardless of Australia’s long borders and the opposition bowlers, big names have risen to the occasion in style with their mighty striking prowess and single-handedly turned the results in favor of their teams.
TimesofIndia.com here’s a look at some of the most impactful innings that have been nothing short of mind-blowing at the T20 World Cup in Australia so far.
(All stats in this article are updated to after the Aus vs SL Super 12 game on October 25)
VIRAT KOHLIA (82 NOT FROM US PAKISTAN)
Comes the hour, comes the man! Silencing his critics in a way like never before, Virat Kohli played one of the greatest blows in contemporary cricket to help Team India snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The arch-rival between India and Pakistan on October 23 will go down in history as one of the greatest matches of the shortest format and chasemaster Virat was the showstopper of the high-octane match. His undefeated 53-ball 82 knockout in pursuit of 160 was one of the best in T20 cricket history as it lit up the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground with over 90,000 cricket-crazed spectators.
Virat Kohli (AP Photo)
In the high-pressure match that swung like a pendulum to the last ball, Virat’s knock was the difference between the two sides as India took a miraculous victory. Interspersed with 6 fours and 4 sixes, Virat played a ‘virat’ knock, bringing the cricketing world to a standstill. All kinds of records, including the ratings record, were rewritten on Sunday thanks to a Virat special.
Even Kohli — who has been playing international cricket for over 15 years — admitted it was his best T20I knock ever. Be it spinners or pacers bowling over 150km/h, Kohli was at his brutal best on Sunday, towering Pakistani bowlers to all corners of the big MCG and really doing what he did best – determining exactly when he had to accelerate in a tricky pursuit.
His knock helped India take an incredible 4-wicket victory over the arch-rivals to start their campaign on a high this time around.
MARCUS STOINIS (59 NOT FROM US SRI LANKA)
Power hitter Marcus Stoinis was in beast mode on Tuesday when he hit a scintillating unbeaten 18-ball 59 in Australia’s 7-wicket win over Asian champions Sri Lanka in Perth.
Defending champions Australia came into the game after a heavy 89 run loss to New Zealand and needed something special to boost their morale and Stoinis’ knock was exactly what made the Aussies believe in themselves again.
Chasing a more or less par 158, the Aussies had to both quickly reach the target and make up for the net run rate that took a nosedive after their loss to New Zealand.
(Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)
Stoinis came in at number 5, all guns blazing against Sri Lanka’s bowlers and crushed the fastest ever T20I fifty by an Australian. His reckless 59-run knock is now also the second fastest fifty in the men’s T20 World Cup (17 balls).
By sending the ball into the stratosphere six times, the Stoinis carnage came with a stroke rate of 327.78 and ended the game in an instant. The Lankas were good in the game, but they couldn’t stop the Soinis juggernaut.
By hitting the win target against Sri Lanka with 21 balls left, courtesy of Stoinis, Australia also significantly improved their net run rate and moved up to fourth in their group.
FINN ALLEN (42) AND DEVON CONWAY (92 NOT OFF) VS AUSTRALIA
Rookie Finn Allen and his opening partner Devon Conway in a concerted effort decimated defending champions Australia in the Super 12 opener on October 21.
The Tasman-Tasman rivalry proved to be a one-sided affair as the Allen-Conway duo stunned the hosts with their breathtaking attack.
Devon Conway and Finn Allen (Image credit: BlackCaps)
Newbie Allen, who played his first ever World Cup match, showed no signs of nervousness and threw the sink at the veteran Australian bowlers, making them quiet.
Allen’s 16-ball 42 in the power play got the Kiwis off to a flying start and after leaving in the fifth over, Conway took over and continued hammering the Australian bowlers.
While Allen hit 5 fours and 3 sixes in a 262 strike, Conway remained undefeated the entire time (58-ball 92), bringing New Zealand to 200 for three after being asked to hit first.
Australia chased a huge total, but collapsed under pressure and folded for 111 in the 18th over.
QUINTON DE KOCK (47 NOT FROM US ZIMBABWE)
Rain played a bummer as South Africa had to settle for shared points with Zimbabwe in their tournament opener in what would have been one of the easiest wins for the Proteas. But amid the rain in Hobart, Quinton de Kock’s combative 18-ball undefeated 47 was the dynamite that blew away their fellow Africans.
In the rain-shortened game, Zimbabwe scored 79 for 5 in 9 overs and when South Africa gave chase, De Kock was on a mission to reach the finish in double fast time. With an impending threat of rain, de Kock became enraged and began hammering the Zimbabwean bowlers mercilessly. Thanks to de Kock’s bashing, South Africa was 51 without a loss in just 3 overs, with the southpaw scoring 47 of those runs and his partner Temba Bavuma only getting two balls for his 2 runs.
Quinton de Kock (AFP photo)
The way De Kock was hitting, it looked like it would be a matter of a few overs for the Proteas to take a win, but then it started to rain again, this time the game washes away completely and denied South Africa a win.
Although the Proteas were ahead of Duckworth-Lewis’ par score at the end of three overs, five overs were not completed to apply the Duckworth-Lewis method and South Africa was denied a guaranteed win. Nevertheless, De Kock’s knock made a big impact and a team like India would have looked very closely. The Men in Blue will play against the Proteas in Perth next Sunday, October 30.
PAUL STIRLING (66 NOT FROM US WEST INDIES)
An unbeaten 48-ball 66 knock from a lead striker is generally a common day at work in T20 format, but Irish veteran Paul Stirling caused the biggest upset of the 2022 T20 World Cup with this effort, knocking out two-time champion West out. India.
Stirling’s ripe knock was the final nail in the coffin for the West Indies, who had a scorching run into the qualifying stage of the tournament and were sent off by the Irish opener.
Although Stirling innings (8 boundaries) had a stroke rate of just over 137, it had a huge impact in the context of the game and the competition in general, knocking out the former champions.
After bowlers limited the flamboyant Caribbean batters to 146, Stirling, along with Andrew Balbirnie (37) and Lorcan Tucker (45*), caused the biggest disruption of the tournament.