Charismatic Australian batter Marcus Stoinis, while clobbering fours and sixes in the ICC T20 World Cup Super 12 game against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday, also smashed quite a few records along the way, as the hosts, riding on his half century, thrashed the Islanders by seven wickets to put their campaign in the showpiece event back on track.
Stoinis became the fastest half-centurion for Australia in T20I cricket with his stunning unbeaten 59 from just 18 balls. The all-rounder struck six maximums in his unbeaten score from just 18 balls, and he reached his half-century in just 17 of those deliveries, one better than team-mate Glenn Maxwell's previous Aussie record for the fastest 50.
"Ronnie (coach Andrew McDonald) said if I feel comfortable then have a go at the spinners," Stoinis said as he collected the 'Player of the Match' award. Only four players from Test-playing nations have scored quicker T20I fifties -- England's Moeen Ali, West Indies' Shai Hope, New Zealand's Colin Munro and India's Yuvraj Singh, according to ICC.
Stoinis's power-hitting display also places him joint-second on the all-time list for fastest fifties at a Men's T20 World Cup. The Australian is tied with the Netherlands' Stephan Myburgh, who hit his 17-ball effort against Ireland in 2014. India's Yuvraj still holds the record for the fast T20 World Cup fifty and fastest ever T20 fifty, bringing up his milestone off just 12 deliveries against England in 2007.
Stoinis hit three consecutive boundaries in Wanindu Hasaranga's 15th over, taking 18 of the 19 runs to come from those six deliveries. He followed it up with 19 of the 20 runs to come from the 16th and Maheesh Theekshana's off-spin, with Stoinis' third six of the over taking him to his 50 in style.
"Once I got in the plan was to keep going," Stoinis was quoted as saying by ICC. "Honestly I was a bit nervous, playing at home with a lot of family in. We wrapped this game up and we look forward to playing the English at MCG."
With Stoinis in sublime form, Maxwell smashing 23 (12 balls) and neither Tim David nor Matthew Wade even used in the chase, the middle-order should not be an issue for the hosts as they chase a place in the last-four of the tournament. However, the same doesn't hold true for the top order, which continues to struggle.
Skipper Aaron Finch was again left frustrated as he managed an unbeaten 31 but chewed up 42 deliveries in Australia's chase of 158 for victory against Sri Lanka. He hit just one boundary in his innings and looked tentative on several occasions.
"My innings was unusual, it was poor, I just couldn't hit the ball," Finch acknowledged. "We knew the first four or five overs with the ball (were key), especially with Kumara nipping it around. It was seaming a long way there -- so if we could get through that none or one down then it was going to be really important to set up the back end of the innings.
"It would have been nice if I could have kicked on and made that chase a bit easier." The Australian captain's strike rate of 73.80 put a little pressure on his middle order, especially after both David Warner (11 from 10) and Mitchell Marsh (18 from 17) had also failed to fire.