David Warner once again showed why is regarded as the most dangerous batsman in the Twenty20 format.
The Australian left-hander smashed 107 from a mere 69 balls, inclusive of nine boundaries and five sixes, to lift Delhi Daredevils to a crushing 40-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League match in Delhi, on Monday.
Despite the loss of early wickets around him, Warner never let his foot off the accelerator and kept attacking the bowlers. He completed his half-century from 29 balls but then was bogged down in the middle overs against the Kolkata spinners before exploding in the final overs.
He got good support from debutant Paul Collingwood, who proved to be the perfect foil, scoring 53 from 45 balls. The two batsmen were involved in a huge stand of 128 runs in 98 balls for the fourth wicket, the highest stand for that wicket in the IPL.
The 23-year-old is the first Australian cricketer in 132 years to be selected for a national team in any format without any experience in first-class cricket. In his Twenty20 debut for Australia, the left-hander made an immediate impact, smashing 89 from 43 balls against South Africa in January last year.
The Kolkata pace bowlers seemed completely at sea as time and again Warner used his power to good effect, sending the balls into the stands with regular ease.
It seemed he was dismissed before completing his century when Murali Kartik claimed a return catch and Warner walked back with his score 96. After a few closer looks at the replays, the third umpire confirmed that the ball had bounced before it was taken by Kartik on his follow through.
He completed his century in the final over of the innings and celebrated the landmark with another big six.
With Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir also playing in the same team, the bowlers in the IPL will be trembling at the thought of bowling when all the three go berserk.
Photograph: IPL/Getty Images