Five of the best knocks
Chris Gayle, 175* v Pune Warriors
The most brutal Twenty20 innings was an exhibition of utter disdain for a hapless bowling attack. If ever there was an instance of a complete one-man demolition of a side, this was it. Gayle tore into anything that came his way, clubbing sixes at will, having made his mind up fairly early into his 66-ball unbeaten knock that he would dominate the bowling. Ishwar Pandey and Ali Murtaza, playing their first game of the season, were left scarred, captain Aaron Finch was clueless in his only over that went for 29 as he constantly changed angles, and Mitchell Marsh was thrashed for 56 in three overs. It helped Gayle that he was fed with a generous dose of length deliveries, an epidemic this IPL not exclusive to Pune Warriors. The knock also broke a series of records, the fastest century in the format and and most sixes in a T20 innings among them.
David Miller, 101* v Royal Challengers Bangalore
Not to take credit away from Gayle's effort, but it came under easier circumstances with his side batting first. Miller, in an important game for Kings XI Punjab, who were struggling to remain in contention for the play-offs and reduced to 61 for 4 in 9.5 overs chasing 191, played perhaps the best innings of the competition. He had to first tread carefully to set a platform before taking off. He was 27 off 18 at one stage, then dropped on 41 by Virat Kohli at extra cover, receiving a blow on his mouth as he let it slip through his fingers. Royal Challengers' bowlers were left staring beyond the ropes, as Miller singled out the straight boundary for his assault. He made 74 runs off his last 20 deliveries, Kings XI won with two overs to spare in a 180-degree turnaround executed in a matter of minutes.
Kieron Pollard, 60* v Chennai Super Kings, IPL final
Mumbai Indians' gamechanger played a valuable innings in the tournament's most important game, with Chennai Super Kings having had the better of the first 10 overs. Pollard came in at 52 for 4 and began with a beautifully-timed off drive past mid-off, received good support from Ambati Rayudu, then Harbhajan Singh, but his presence at the crease was felt most in the last over of the innings. He was kept off strike for the first four deliveries of the over, and disappointment was writ large on his face when he saw Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga dismissed in the first three. Left facing the final two balls, he ensured he did the most damage, smacking Dwayne Bravo for two sixes.
Kieron Pollard, 66* v Sunrisers Hyderabad
Pollard and Rohit Sharma have been among the cleanest hitters this IPL and their unbeaten 85-run stand included 10 sixes, eight of them from the bat of Pollard. Mumbai Indians needed 64 to win off the last four overs, but there was a look of resignation on the faces of some of the Sunrisers players at the end of the 17th over. Thisara Perera undid the good work by Dale Steyn in the previous over, bowling two long-hops and three length balls to be smashed for 29. That over featured three of Pollard's six sixes in seven balls, three more reserved for Amit Mishra in the next. Perera was drilled for two more in the final over to finish things off, Pollard middling the ball better than he had all tournament, with each of his sixes clearing the ropes by a fair distance.
Ravindra Jadeja, 36* v Kolkata Knight Riders
Jadeja stood out on a pitch that wasn't made for scoring big and scoring quick. After Knight Riders limped to 119, Michael Hussey scored what was the slowest 40 in all IPLs, off 51 balls. Chennai Super Kings were behind in the chase, at 89 for 6 in 16.5 overs but Jadeja stepped up in a 14-ball innings that clinched victory in the final over. He launched Sunil Narine over long-on, then struck Jacques Kallis for two straight boundaries, one of them, on 24, should have been caught by Yusuf Pathan at deep square leg. At the end of the over, Super Kings needed 2 off 6 and Jadeja ended the game by sending Yusuf over long-on.
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo