Flashback: The only Indian to twice score IPL fifty in 20 or lesser balls

The IPL is extremely fast-paced. Batsmen do not have much time to get their eyes in, and on several occasions, the situation might be such that they would have to go after the bowling from the word go. In the 14-year history of the IPL, there has been just one Indian batsman who has scored an IPL fifty in 20 balls or lesser on two separate occasions. And that is Mumbai Indians’ mainstay, Hardik Pandya.

While Pandya scored his fastest fifty off just 17 deliveries against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) outfit on 28th April 2019, he scored his second-fastest half-century on 25th October 2020, against the Rajasthan Royals side off 20 balls. Let us delve into Pandya’s knocks in both these matches.

In the match against the Kolkata side that took place in the year 2019, the then Dinesh Karthik led Knight Riders side batted first and piled up a massive total of 232/2 on the board. Andre Russell was the wrecker in chief with the willow and plundered a 40-ball 80*.

In reply, the Mumbai Indians side was tottering at 58/4, and it looked as if they would surrender the match meekly. But then, Hardik Pandya just blew away the opposition and gave a scare to the Kolkata side. The right-hander reached his half-century off just 17 deliveries, and went on to score a whirlwind 91 off just 34 deliveries and dismantled the Kolkata bowling attack. But, Pandya’s innings could not get his side over the line, and the Mumbai Indians went down to their opposition by 34 runs.

Pandya’s second-fastest fifty came on 25th October 2020, against the Rajasthan Royals side in Abu Dhabi. The Mumbai Indians batted first and posted a challenging total of 195/5 on the board. And, the man who just blew away the Rajasthan bowling attack was Hardik Pandya. Pandya went past his half-century of the 20th ball he faced. The right-hander scored an unbeaten 60 off just 21 deliveries for the ‘Men in Blue’, and his innings was laced with 2 fours and 7 sixes.

But then, the Rajasthan Royals chased down the target comfortably with 8 wickets and 10 balls to spare courtesy of a blistering 60-ball 107* from Ben Stokes. Pandya has played 87 matches in the IPL so far and has plundered 1401 runs at an average of 27.47, and a strike rate of 157.24. He has also scalped 42 wickets with the ball in hand as well.

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