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IPL: Top 5 Indian Premier League Innings

The 17th season of the Indian Premier League starts in March and the world's most exciting T20 batters will be lining up for the 10 IPL franchises.

Every year, the IPL delivers spectacular batting performances and we have picked out five of the greatest individual innings in the history of the tournament. 

Brendon McCullum - 158 not out v Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2008

Given the hype surrounding the launch of the IPL in 2008, it was vital that the tournament started with a bang when Royal Challengers Bangalore hosted Kolkata Knight Riders on the opening night.

The Knight Riders had international captains Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting in their squad while Bangalore's top order included India legend Rahul Dravid, South Africa icon Jacques Kallis and a young Virat Kohli.

Amid the constellation of stars, one man shone brightest as Kolkata's New Zealand opener Brendon McCullum smashed an extraordinary 158 not out from just 73 balls.

McCullum failed to score a run from the first six balls he faced but got the party started by hitting three fours and a six off the second over, bowled by Zaheer Khan.

From then on, no Bangalore bowler was spared as the Kiwi crunched 10 fours and 13 sixes before the chastened Royal Challengers were bowled out for 82 to lose by 140 runs.

McCullum's innings set a new record for an individual T20 score. Only six players have since eclipsed his mark and, remarkably, he equalled his score of 158 not out while playing for Warwickshire against Derbyshire in 2015.     

Chris Gayle - 175 not out v Pune Warriors, 2013

McCullum's opening-night IPL record stood for five years and five days before it was broken, fittingly, by a powerhouse of the Twenty20 format.

Chris Gayle remains the leading runscorer in T20 history, retiring in 2022 after walloping 1,056 sixes in 455 innings for the West Indies and a host of teams in competitions all over the globe.

Gayle was in the zone when Bangalore took on Pune Warriors in April 2013, so much so that he hit five fours off Ishwar Pandey's first over despite a 35-minute break for rain after the first two deliveries.

Pandey's pain was shared by Pune teammate Mitchell Marsh, whose first over cost 28 runs, helping Gayle reach a 17-ball half-century.

Worried Warriors captain Aaron Finch brought himself into the attack for the eighth over and his five deliveries to Gayle went for six, six, four, six and six.

The Jamaican juggernaut reached 160 off the first ball of the 18th over – only the 58th delivery he had faced – and his unbeaten 175 powered Bangalore to a record T20 total of 263-5 and a 130-run victory.    

Kieron Pollard - 60 not out v Chennai Super Kings, 2013

Openers McCullum and Gayle batted through the innings for their epic IPL efforts but some of the greatest T20 knocks have happened in the blink of an eye.

Andre Russell smashed 48 not out off 13 balls to give KKR an unlikely win over Bangalore in 2019 and AB de Villiers hit his South Africa teammate Dale Steyn for three sixes and a four in the penultimate over of Bangalore's 2014 victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

In terms of crucial cameos, though, Kieron Pollard's 60 not out for Mumbai Indians in the 2013 final against Chennai Super Kings sets the standard.

Mumbai stumbled to 52-4 in the 10th over on a tricky batting surface in Kolkata and they took 15 overs to reach 100, at which point Ambati Rayadu, the last recognised batsman other than Pollard, was dismissed.

The West Indian staged a one-man fightback, pouncing on rare loose balls from spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja before hitting the last two deliveries of the innings, bowled by Dwayne Bravo, for six.

In a low-scoring final, his 60 off 32 balls proved decisive and Mumbai's bowlers defended a target of 149 with relative ease, restricting CSK to 125-9.

Suresh Raina - 87 v Kings XI Punjab, 2014

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni are three of the most celebrated figures in IPL history but Suresh Raina's 87 against Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 play-offs was arguably the best innings played by an Indian batsman in the tournament.

Virender Sehwag's 122 had inspired Kings XI to a hefty total of 226-6 so Chennai desperately needed a fast start. However, opener Faf du Plessis was dismissed by Mitchell Johnson off the second ball of the run-chase, bringing left-hander Raina to the crease at number three.

What followed was a masterclass in destructive Powerplay hitting. Raina was run out by George Bailey off the first ball of the seventh over but by then he had scored 87 from just 25 deliveries.

He hit 18 of those 25 balls to the boundary, scoring at a strike-rate of 348, but his teammates were unable to capitalise on his heroics, slipping to a 24-run defeat in the second play-off Qualifier. 

Shane Watson - 117 not out v Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2018

Shane Watson was player of the tournament in the inaugural IPL season in 2008 but 10 years later there were some doubts over his ability to open the batting at the highest level.

Chennai kept faith with the Australian all-rounder and they were rewarded with a sparkling century in the 2018 final against the Sunrisers.

Watson looked in all sorts of trouble at the start of his innings, taking 11 balls to get off the mark in a chase of 179 and losing opening partner Du Plessis early on.

The Aussie scored eight runs off 16 deliveries before hitting his stride with a couple of leg-side sixes and his vast experience helped him pick which bowlers to target.

Watto was happy to see off ace Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan but tucked into the pace of Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma, taking 27 runs off one of Sandeep's overs.

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