From Ajinkya Rahane to Murali Vijay, we look at six centuries that were scored in this edition of the Indian Premier League.
Murali Vijay – 113 off 58 balls It was not long ago when Murali Vijay was dropped from Chennai's playing XI due to his consistent failures this season. But he stood up when it mattered most. His 113 off just 58 balls helped Chennai Super Kings seal yet another final berth. His blitzkrieg included 15 fours and four sixes and was the fastest century of the IPL 5; in doing so, Vijay became the only Indian to score two centuries in the league. The best thing about his sublime effort was that Vijay scored with minimum fuss and risk. He looked at ease from ball one and smashed the bowlers all around the park. Vijay's form couldn't have come at a better time and surely he will be the man to watch out for in the final.
Chris Gayle – 128* off 62 balls They call it Gayle-storm and it was on May 17 at the Feroz Shah Kotla against Delhi Daredevils where the West Indian went berserk. Having paced himself for nearly half of Royal Challengers Bangalore's innings, Gayle exploded to smack 13 sixes and seven fours to take his team to 215. The performance was a clinical one because once Gayle got his eye in there was no stopping him as he slammed boundary after boundary to leave the Delhi attack in tatters. The knock also came with perfect timing, as RCB needed a big win to keep their hopes alive.
Rohit Sharma – 109* off 60 balls Often criticised for throwing away his wicket at crucial times, Rohit could do nothing wrong in Mumabi Indians' encounter with Kolkata Knight Riders on May 12 at Eden Gardens. He simply hammered the bowlers and brought up his fifty in just 29 balls needed a further 23 to reach three figures. Walking in at the early fall of Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit transferred the pressure immediately onto the Kolkata bowlers and kept the momentum going for Mumbai. His maiden IPL century helped Mumbai thrash Kolkata by 27 runs.
Ajinkya Rahane – 103* off 60 balls The first century of IPL 5 was scored by Rajasthan Royals opener Ajinkya Rahane against Royal Challengers Bangalore, a belligerent unbeaten 103 that at that time took his side to the top of the fledgling IPL table. Rahane and skipper Rahul Dravid were the most successful opening pair in IPL 5, but in Bangalore it was Owais Shah (60) who gave Rahane company as Rajasthan piled up 195 for 2 against the hosts. Proceedings began quietly enough - Zaheer Khan even bowled a maiden over to Rahane in the third - but before long, Rahane was on the attack, and in the process he also smashed six consecutive fours off an over for the first in Twenty20 history, against the unfortunate S Aravind. His runs came in 60 balls and included 12 fours and 5 sixes, and not too many slog shots. The score proved well beyond a struggling Bangalore's reach, and the failure of big guns like Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, a steady flow of wickets and a disciplined bowling performance gave Rajasthan a massive 59-run victory. Neither of the teams eventually qualified, but having finished with 560 runs from 16 league games, Rahane made sure the calls to select him for the national side only grew louder.
Kevin Pietersen – 103* off 64 balls Kevin Pietersen's stay in the IPL was brief - the England star was only with Delhi for eight games before he left for the home series against West Indies - but even in that little time, Pietersen left an indelible mark. Picked by team-mates like Naman Ojha as the most valuable new addition to their squad this season, Pietersen played many a blistering knock. But it was his match-winning unbeaten 103 against Deccan Chargers at the Kotla that set the tone and put Delhi on course to finish top of the points table after the group stages. Defending a modest 157, Deccan seemed to have the game in control when they picked up three early wickets. Shoddy fielding from the visitors, however, gave Pietersen three lives, and he made them pay by bringing up his highest T20 score. Any bowler Deccan brought on was punished - Amit Mishra went for 17, JP Duminy was clobbered for three sixes in a 21-run over, while Veer Pratap Singh, Daniel Christian and Ankit Sharma also suffered during his 64-ball stay that included six fours and nine sixes. Delhi went on to win by five wickets, leaving Deccan winless at the time, and in retrospect Delhi can only imagine how things might have panned out had Pietersen stayed on, having struggled to find the right balance in their play-off defeats to Kolkata and Chennai.
David Warner – 109* off 54 balls Pietersen's replacement was the equally dangerous David Warner, and though he didn't really reach the heights expected of him, he still managed a hundred - his second in the IPL overall - in only his second game of the season. The suffering opponents were none other than Deccan, for whom it was a case of deja vu as a Delhi batsman once again slammed an unbeaten ton to take his side to an easy victory. Already out of running for the play-offs, Deccan still gave themselves hope after putting up 187 for 4 in Hyderabad. However, Warner feasted on their inexperienced bowling attack and his 109 not out saw Delhi reach their target with nine wickets and 20 balls to spare. Along with Ojha (64 not out), Warner pulled and attacked at will, taking just 54 balls - with 10 fours and 7 sixes - for his century, and only Manpreet Gony had an economy rate in single figures as Delhi returned to the top of the table, where they stayed until the end of the group stage.