Among the batsmen, the world’s best have been at the top of their game and going in with the mantra of ‘nothing to lose’ has often helped them reap the benefits that the format has to offer.
The cleanest strikers of the ball have enjoyed the time in the shortest format the most. On many occasions, they have single-handedly turned the game around.
TimesofIndia.com here takes a look at the five batsman who have scored the most runs in a single innings in T20 cricket overall:
Chris Gayle 175* (vs Pune Warriors in 2013)
Jamaican run-machine Chris Gayle might be in the twilight of his cricketing career, but the 40-year-old, during his glory days was one of the most destructive batsmen to have ever played the game. Perhaps the biggest poster boy of Twenty20 cricket, Gayle’s almost superhuman hitting prowess helped him rule the shortest format for quite a while. From franchise cricket to playing for the country, Gayle, with his belligerent batting performances on numerous occasions set the match ablaze. He played one such knock in T20 cricket on April 23, 2013 during a Indian Premier League (IPL) match where he smashed an unbeaten 175 for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) vs Pune Warriors — which still stands as the highest score in T20 cricket. Gayle that day, massacred the Pune bowlers, scoring 175* off just 66 balls at a mind-boggling strike rate of over 265. With 13 fours and 17 towering sixes, Gayle set the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium on fire as the world witnessed absolute carnage off the bat of the West Indian legend. The World’s most destructive T20 knock on that day helped RCB post a gigantic 263/5. They eventually went on to comfortably win that match by 130 runs. This knock also broke Brendon McCullum’s five year old record for the highest IPL score. McCullum had scored 158* in the very first match of the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008 for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Aaron Finch 172 (vs Zimbabwe in 2018)
Australian opener Aaron Finch is pretty well known for his destructive batting skills at the top of the order. On numerous occasions, Finch has laid strong platforms for his national side, helping the team score big. One of the cleanest strikers of the ball, Finch on July 3, 2018 came out all guns blazing as he took the Zimbabwe bowlers to the cleaners in a tri-series match in Harare. Finch smacked 172 off just 76 balls to register one of the most unforgettable knocks in T20I cricket. Finch, that day struck the ball with mighty force, clobbering 16 fours and 10 mammoth sixes during his stay at the crease. Finch whacked the ball at the strike rate of 226.31, which terrorized the Zimbabwe bowlers. Finch that day just looked unstoppable. His 172 runs was more than 75 per cent of the total of 229 runs scored by the Australian team that day. Riding on the incredible batting performance from Finch, Australia went on to win that match by 100 runs.
Hazratullah Zazai 162* (vs Ireland in 2019)
Afghanistan has made big strikes in international cricket in the recent past and one of the main reasons has been the raw talent that came to the fore and stepped up to the plate on big occasions. One such talented player has been Hazratullah Zazai. The stylish left-hander has been a great find for the Afghan cricket team. Today, Afghanistan holds the record for the highest T20I total and that came their way thanks to Zazai’s impeccable batting performance on February 23, 2019 in a match against Ireland in Dehradun. Zazai that day hogged all the limelight as the left-hander sent the Irish bowlers on a leather hunt, scoring a mammoth 162*. Zazai was in phenomenal touch that day, as he with his batting performance helped Afghanistan enter the record books. In his 62-ball stay at the crease, Zazai played the knock of his life, at a strike rate of 261.29. With 11 fours and 16 sixes, Zazai helped Afghanistan post 278/3, eventually helping them win the match by 84 runs.
Hamilton Masakadza 162* (vs Mashonaland Eagles in 2016)
With internal conflicts, mismanagement of players and the board facing hard times financially, Zimbabwe cricket has not been able to do well in the international arena for a long time now. But every now and then it has continued to produce players with star power and the ability to take the game away from the opposition single-handedly. One such player is Hamilton Masakadza. Back in 2016 Masakadza displayed his incredible batting skills in one of Zimbabwe’s domestic Twenty20 Competitions at Bulawayo, scoring an electrifying 162*, that ties him for third place on this list. Playing for Mountaineers vs Mashonaland Eagles, Masakadza on February 11, set the Bulawayo Athletic Club on fire with his majestic knock that came off just 71 balls. With 14 fours and 11 sixes, Masakadza smoked the bowlers all around the park. Batting at a strike rate of 228.16, Masakadza was on top of the world that day as he single-handedly won the game for the Mountaineers. Throughout the innings Masakadza was there for the Mountaineers and ensured that his team comfortably won the match by 125 runs (D/L method).
Adam Lyth 161 (vs Northamptonshire in 2017)
Adam Lyth, who played seven Tests for England in 2015 might not be well known in international cricket, but he is a household name in Yorkshire. The now 32-year-old has featured regularly for the Yorkshire team and has represented the county in 176 first-class, 122 List A and 114 T20s. The top-order batsman has been a big figure in England’s domestic cricket and was the talk of the town when he cracked a scintillating 161 vs Northamptonshire during a T20 Blast game on August 17, 2017. He registered the score against Notts off just 73 balls. During that blitzkrieg that was scored at a strike rate of 220.54, Lyth cracked 20 fours and 7 sixes to single-handedly take Yorkshire to 260/4 — one of the highest totals in T20 cricket. Riding on that unforgettable knock from Lyth, the Yorks eventually went on to win that match by 124 runs.