South Africa demolished the T20 record for the highest run-chase on Sunday when they blitzed 259-4 against the West Indies….with seven balls of their innings to spare.
Records tumbled all game long as Windies batsman Johnson Charles hammered a 39-ball century – the fastest in West Indies history and the fourth-fastest of all-time – but even that was not enough to secure victory at the aptly-named Centurion.
South African opener Quinton de Kock, who has recently signed up to play in the inaugural edition of America’s Major League Cricket, scored exactly 100 from 44 balls in a remarkable 152-run opening partnership with Reeza Hendricks, whose knock of 68 came off just 28 balls at a strike rate of 242.
The South African pair took a particular shine to West Indian opening bowler Sheldon Cottrell, whose one and only over was flailed to all parts at a cost of 29 runs. Their score after six overs, 102-0, is the highest powerplay tally in a T20 game involving test-playing countries.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the record was broken at the Centurion stadium, which sits at an altitude of some 4,500ft above sea level. Scientists have proven that the thin air at high altitude can contribute to balls – be it cricket, golf or any other – travelling further and faster.
What is the Highest Ever Score in a T20 Match?
It should be noted that South Africa broke the record for the highest-ever T20 run chase – but others have scored a greater total when batting first.
Afghanistan blasted a ridiculous 278/3 against Ireland in a game back in February 2019. More than half of their total was contributed by opener Hazratullah Zazai, who caned the Irish bowlers to all parts with 11 fours and 16 sixes in his tally of 162 not out, which came at an extraordinary strike rate of 261.
The highest T20 score in a game involving a major nation is Australia’s 263/3 posted against Sri Lanka in September 2016. Glenn Maxwell was the chief architect, notching 14 fours and nine maximums in his unbeaten score of 145. Remarkably, that mammoth Australian score featured only nine extras as the Sri Lankans bowled a tight line but were despatched to all parts.
Australia’s Big Bash League has also seen its fair share of big scores over the years, and in January 2022 those in attendance at the MCG witnessed a remarkable feast of big hitting when the Melbourne Stars entertained the Hobart Hurricanes.
That man Maxwell was at it again as he hammered, caressed and annihilated the Hurricanes bowlers all over the iconic stadium, finishing up 154 not out with a whopping 26 boundaries struck in his side’s 273/2.
The previous highest T20 run chase came courtesy of those cricketing titans Bulgaria, who hauled in Serbia’s total of 245 in a contest back in June 2022.
But in a game involving recognised cricket nations, Australia chased down 244 with seven balls to spare against New Zealand in February 2018 – Kiwi opening bowler Ben Wheeler serving up an economy rate of some 20.21 from his 3.1 overs.