In the shortest format of the game, facing 40+ balls itself is a tough task for a batsman. Since T20I cricket is fast-paced, a batsman doesn’t have the time to take a few deliveries to settle down. On top of that, there’s the added pressure to score boundaries at will. So to put up a century is something that’s very rare.
However, these cricketers have bucked the trend and managed to amass massive tons in T20I cricket. Although cricket is not an individual sport, these players will be proud of achieving the highest scores in T20I.
Another T20 milestone for Chris Gayle 🔥
Brendon McCullum is tied at No. 5 with Virat Kohli, with 9922 runs at 29.97 and 136.49 👇
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) July 14, 2021
Over the years, batting has been favored in order to provide entertainment to the masses. It also helps reach out to a wider audience, kids in particular, which builds a bigger fan base for the sport. That’s not to say there is nothing in it for the bowlers.
But most of the times, we see the batsmen stealing all the limelight. Here we take a look at the ten highest individual scores in the T20I format. One thing stands out – the fact that there is no Indian batsman in the top 10.
10) Mohammad Shahzad – 118* vs Zimbabwe
The swashbuckling batsman from Afghanistan can marauder a bowling line-up on his day. His performances at the top have helped the Afghans attain 7th position on the ICC T20I rankings. Afghanistan will be hoping he pulls off a few batting heroics like he had once done against Zimbabwe.
On 10 January 2016, Mohammad Shahzad brought his typical brute force game and gave a hiding to the Zimbabwean bowlers. He blitzed his way to a 67-ball 118, laced with ten fours and eight maximums. This helped his team reach a total of 215, which was a mountain to steep to climb for Zimbabwe. Afghanistan went on to beat Zimbabwe by 81 runs in the game.
9) Faf du Plessis – 119 vs West Indies
Du Plessis is one of the most stylish batsmen in the game. Alongside close friend AB de Villiers, he formed a lethal partnership in the South African limited-overs team. Du Plessis plies his trade for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL. Although he’s a middle-order batsman, du Plessis generally opens the innings for CSK.
On January 11, 2015, against the West Indies, du Plessis played his best knock in the T20I format. He annihilated the Windies bowling resources, scoring 119 off 56 balls studded with eleven fours and five sixes. In the process, he became the first South African to score centuries in all forms of the game.
8) Babar Hayat – 122 vs Oman
One of the lesser-known names on the list is Babar Hayat. He was born in Pakistan but ended up playing for the Hong Kong cricket team. In a match against Oman, Babar broke several records but unfortunately ended up on the losing side. Nevertheless, he’ll be proud of having scored his highest individual T20I knock of 122 that included seven maximums.
At one point, he looked like he could carry the team single-handedly. In the 18th over bowled by Zeeshan Maqsood, Babar hit four sixes but it was all in vain. The stunning knock still stands as the highest score in the second innings of a T20I.
It also holds the record of being the second-highest percentage of runs scored in a team total (Babar Hayat – 122, Hong Kong – 175).
7) Brendon McCullum – 123 vs Bangladesh
The former Kiwi wicket-keeper was one of the deadliest batsmen in the game. He’s famous for his knock of 158* for Kolkata Knight Riders in the first match of the inaugural edition of IPL 2008. McCullum played an extremely aggressive brand of cricket and followed the same template even in the longest format.
Coming into the match having already scored a T20I, McCullum took the Bangladesh bowlers to the cleaners. He smacked seven sixes and eleven fours and became the first batsman (at the time) to score two hundreds in T20I. He got out after making a 58-ball 123, which helped the Black Caps win the match by 59 runs.
6) Shane Watson – 124* vs India
The burly Australian all-rounder has played many match-winning knocks in his career. He is capable of turning a game on its head in a matter of overs. In the third T20I of an already lost series against India, Watson scored 124 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which was not enough against the rampaging Indians.
The knock had ten fours and six enormous sixes, with Watson striking at over 170. His efforts put Australia in the front seat, setting a target of 198 for Team India. The Men-in-Blue then completed the chase off the last ball.
This brought a dubious record for Watson, as his innings became the highest individual score in a losing cause.
5) Evin Lewis – 125* vs India
The explosive opener has stolen the limelight plenty of times from his batting partner Chris Gayle. It speaks volumes about his brutal stroke-play, something that very few batsmen can match. He showcased his range of shots in a violent display of batting at Sabina Park, Kingston against India.
Set a target of 191, the West Indies got off to a flyer courtesy of Evin Lewis. He attacked the Indian bowlers and scored boundaries at will. On the back of his stunning 67-ball 125*, Windies reached home quite comfortably.
This was their highest chase at home back then. The innings was laced with a ridiculous 12 sixes, six more than what the entire Indian team managed to score.
4) Glenn Maxwell – 145* vs Sri Lanka
After Glenn Maxwell’s big break in the 2014 IPL season, his stocks have been on the rise. He’s considered to be having the best reverse-sweep in the game. When Maxwell is in the mood, runs start to flow. The Sri Lankans witnessed this first hand on a fateful night at the Pallekele Stadium.
Maxwell produced his finest knock in T20I, against a disappointing Lankan bowling attack. He smashed the bowlers all around the park in his 65-ball 145 that had nine maximums, which took the Australian total to 263/3, the third-highest score in the history of the format.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the highest individual score in T20Is for Australia. Nevertheless, the total proved to be insurmountable, as Sri Lanka folded up for 178, conceded defeat by a whopping margin of 85 runs.
3) Aaron Finch – 156 vs England
The Aussie skipper unsurprisingly has some of the best T20I knocks. Two years into his debut, Finch played a breathtaking innings against fierce rivals, England, at the Ageas Rose Bowl in Southampton. He signaled his intent right from the start, smacking Steven Finn over the leg-side boundary for a six off his first ball.
The Englishmen knew they were in for a long night, as Finch kept his tempo up the entire innings to score 156 off 63 balls, which happened to be the highest individual T20I score at the time.
The innings included a staggering 14 sixes, also a record at the time. It propelled Australia to 248 in their 20 overs, which proved to be enough against England on the day.
2) Hazratullah Zazai – 162* vs Ireland
The Afghan batsman made his debut against UAE in 2016. He showed he was up for the challenge at the international stage by smoking the fastest fifty by an Afghan in a T20I against Ireland. Zazai went one better the next time he faced the same opponents, this time demolishing the bowlers in a terrific display of ball-striking.
At the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Dehradun, Zazai put the Irish bowlers to the sword, breaking multiple records in the process. He amassed 162 off just 62 balls, studded with a record 16 sixes which still stands to this day.
It helped Afghanistan put up the highest ever total of 278 in a T20I game. It was a mountain to steep to climb but Ireland put up a fight nonetheless. They eventually lost the match by 84 runs.
1) Aaron Finch – 172 vs Zimbabwe
The only player to be on the list twice is Aaron Finch. Interestingly enough, he has two scores in T20I that are higher than his best scores in Test and ODI. Facing minnows Zimbabwe in the third match of a T20 tri series at Harare, Finch recorded the highest ever individual score in the history of the format.
He scored 172 off 76 balls, consisting of 16 fours and 10 sixes which completely shattered the hosts. Finch was too hot to handle on the day, sparing none of the bowlers on the way. He formed the highest ever partnership in the shortest format, a record stand of 223 with D’Arcy Short.
They combined to put up a total of 229 on the board, which ended up being 100 runs too many for Zimbabwe.