Punjab Kings batsman Deepak Hooda wreaked havoc at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday (April 12) as he smashed 64 runs off just 28 balls against Rajasthan Royals in PBKS IPL 2021 opener.

Hooda smashed 4 fours and 6 sixes- 52 runs through boundaries and completed his half-century in just 20 balls, thus equaling the record of former India batsman Virender Sehwag and Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the list of players who have hit the fastest fifties against Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

Fastest fifties v RR in IPL:

  • 19 balls: David Miller, 2014
  • 20 balls : Virender Sehwag, 2012
  • 20 balls: Hardik Pandya, 2020
  • 20 balls: Deepak Hooda, 2021

Also, Hooda’s 20-ball fifty is the second-fastest half-century by an uncapped Indian in IPL. The fastest record is held by Ishan Kishan of Mumbai Indians who had achieved the feat three years ago.

Fastest 50s by uncapped Indian players (IPL)

  • 17 balls Ishan Kishan v KKR in 2018
  • 20 balls Deepak Hooda v RR in 2021
  • 22 balls Deepak Hooda v DD in 2015
  • 22 balls Krunal Pandya v DD in 2016

However, Hooda is the first and only uncapped player to smash a half-century in less than 23 balls twice in IPL history and incidentally, both of them have come against RR that too on April 12.

Hooda’s fastest fifties in IPL

  • April 12, 2015 – A 22-ball fifty for Rajasthan Royals
  • April 12, 2021 – A 20-ball fifty vs Rajasthan Royals

Overall, it was his third fifty in IPL. It is also the fifth-fastest 50 for Punjab; seventh joint fastest in IPL.

Deepak Hooda makes a statement

Notably, Hooda had a troublesome time ahead of IPL 2021. The 25-year-old was suspended for the season by Baroda cricket body after he had a spat with state team captain Krunal Pandya in January which meant he couldn’t play the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20s as well as the Vijay Hazare one-dayers.

However, it did not have any bearing on his form or confidence with the bat and on Monday night showed what Baroda had missed during the season by suspending him.

Meanwhile, former Baroda teammate and India fast bowler Irfan Pathan commended his mental strength and tweeted, “If you want to learn to never back down then read the story of Deepak Hooda’s past few months and watch him bat tonight. Well played buddy! #Fighter #mentallystrong.”

The right-handed Hooda, who had smashed a 30-ball unbeaten 62 against Chennai Super Kings in the last competitive game he played before this IPL, back on November 1, 2020, scored a 28-ball 64 (6x6s and 4x4s) on Monday to help Punjab Kings score 221/6 in 20 overs against Rajasthan Royals on Monday.

“I was just reacting to the ball and showing aggressive intent in my batting. I got this role at No. 4 and I am happy to get this role, as I bat at this position in domestic cricket,” said Hooda who was pushed up the order and sent ahead of Nicholas Pooran.

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