Virender Sehwag reminded cricket fans of his glorious past as he hammered a blazing century, which propelled Kings XI Punjab to an imposing 226 for 6 against Chennai Super Kings in the second Qualifier of the IPL, at the Wankhede stadium, in Mumbai, on Friday.
The swashbuckling former India opener is only the second batsman this season to score a century, after Mumbai Indians' Lendl Simmons who scored an unbeaten 100 against Punjab.
It was his second IPL hundred, the first having come in 2011 for Delhi Daredevils against Deccan Chargers.
It rained fours and sixes as Sehwag punished the hapless Chennai bowlers, smashing his way to a magnificent 122, the highest individual score in this seventh season.
Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni shuffled his bowlers around but nothing could stop Sehwag, who entertained the Wankhede crowd with eight sixes and 12 fours in his 58-ball knock.
This is not first time that Punjab tormented the Chennai bowlers like this; their previous highest score (231-4) also came against the Dhoni-led side.
The hand-eye coordination, which has got Sehwag thousands of runs in international cricket, was at work again. He put on 110 runs for the first wicket with Manan Vohra (34) and flattened the Super Kings bowling attack, which conceded a score in excess of 200 for the third time this season to the same opponents.
Sehwag’s pyrotechnics, when everyone expected Glenn Maxwell to be the bigger threat, caught the two-time former champions by surprise.
No one was spared by the bespectacled batsman, who completed his ton with a single in the 16th over off only 50 balls for the fastest hundred this IPL season.
Such was Sehwag’s domination of the Super Kings bowling that smart knocks from Vohra, who hit two sixes and a four in 31 balls, and David Miller (38 off 19 balls) was left in the shade.
Super Kings bled runs as their two lead spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja conceded 44 and 48 runs respectively.
Paceman Ashish Nehra was the costliest, giving away 51 runs for the wickets of Sehwag and George Bailey.
Mohit Sharma gave away 46 runs while Ishwar Pandey was the only bowler to concede under 40.
Image: Virender Sehwag