The thing about greatness is, while it can go unnoticed for a while, when it does come to the fore, it often becomes impossible to stop.
The IPL, so far, had not been very kind to Adam Gilchrist. The highest the Aussie ‘keeper could muster going into Sunday’s match against Mumbai was 23 against Kolkata in Hyderabad’s opener at the Eden Gardens. And though he hasn’t played bad cricket by any stretch of the imagination, luck has often left Gilchrist high and dry.
Somehow, something or the other was always going wrong for Gilchrist. And though it was always a matter of when rather than if he would click, that time, it seemed, just couldn’t come often enough for both the man as well as his team.
Well, it finally happened on Sunday. Almost a year to the date he bludgeoned his way to 149 against the Sri Lanka in the World Cup final, Gilchrist struck. And how!
Chasing Mumbai’s 154, Gilchrist slammed the fastest hundred in T20s – off 42 balls -- to take Hyderabad to a convincing 10-wicket win over Mumbai. Playing an innings, (109 off 47, 9x4, 10x6) which can be best described as Gilchrist-esque, the Australian sent just about every other delivery crashing into the boundary.
It was a brutal, savage attack from the southpaw. If he pulled with disdain, he drove with derision. The carnage started as early as the first over, when stand-in Mumbai skipper Shaun Pollock was taken for 10, and continued unabated till the final ball of the 12th when the winning runs were, rather fittingly, scored by Gilchrist.
The hosts tried everything – pace, spin, slower balls, yorkers. But it just wasn’t to be. Gilchrist was an unstoppable force, an avalanche, which swept everything in its path aside with the least effort.
And while none of the bowlers were spared in this onslaught, Gilchrist seemed to have reserved the most amazing of attacks for Pollock.
He literally took the South African apart in the seventh over of the innings, smashing him for three massive sixes and a four.
There was no stopping the man, and Mumbai understood the futility of the exercise pretty early. Soon enough the hosts were going through the motions.
Sadly for them, that wicket didn’t come. V.V.S. Laxman’s silken touches were perhaps the best foil for Gilchrist’s slam ban approach, and the Hyderabad skipper played his part in Gilchrist’s theatre to perfection. While he kept looking to give the strike to Gilchrist as much as possible, Laxman is too good a player to not put the bad balls away.