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Stoinis’ Record-Breaking Century Powers Lucknow to Stellar Victory

It was a display of sheer cricketing brilliance as Lucknow Super Giants’ allrounder Marcus Stoinis stepped onto the field in the 39th game of the Indian Premier League 2024 season. The clash against the formidable Chennai Super Kings turned into a spectacle as the Australian powerhouse hit a breathtaking century, making him the eighth player to hit a ton in the current IPL season.

At 34, Stoinis showcased a performance that can only be described as a masterclass, aiding Lucknow in scaling the mammoth target of 210 runs. His exploits on Tuesday (April 23) etched the highest successful chase ever recorded at Chennai’s Chepauk stadium.

However, the start was far from ideal for Stoinis, who was ushered to the crease in the first over following the dismissal of Quinton de Kock for a duck by Deepak Chahar. With conditions looking grim after the fall of skipper KL Rahul, leaving Lucknow teetering at 33 for two in the fifth over, the situation was rife with challenge, a setting not quite tailor-made for success.

But as the pressure mounted, Stoinis stood undeterred, unleashing a ferocious attack that bore no mercy for the bowlers of Chennai Super Kings. Exhibiting nerve and finesse, he raced to his fifty in just 26 balls, keeping the chase well within the realms of possibility for the Lucknow Super Giants.

His laser-like focus didn’t waver as he continued his onslaught, amassing an unbeatable individual score of 124* off merely 63 balls. This herculean effort, decorated with 13 fours and six maximums, came at an astonishing strike rate of 196.82. Such was the might of Stoinis’ innings that he shattered the record for the highest individual score in a run chase in IPL history, surpassing Paul Valthaty’s 120 to set a new benchmark.

In a post-match revelation, Stoinis admitted that strategic targeting of certain Chennai bowlers was key to maintaining their chase trajectory and also commented on the decision to promote him up the order. He elucidated, “There are plenty of opening batters in the competition, so I will let them be, but I am settled in the middle. It is not just go, go, go. It was ebb and flow. There were some bowlers we targeted, and some against whom we were cautious. Nicholas Pooran played a good innings, Deepak Hooda also. It ebbed and flowed.”

Coupled with his domestic brilliance, Stoinis is also eyeing the international stage with hopes of a return to the Australian squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, slated to be held in the Caribbean and the USA. Despite not receiving a national contract, his relationship with the coach remains positive, and his aspirations clear. “Me not getting a contract, I knew a while ago. I am absolutely fine with that on the contract front. On the playing front, I want to play. I love this competition, I started my career here,” Stoinis conveyed after the game.

The game against Chennai Super Kings has not only refreshed Lucknow’s campaign but also reinforced Stoinis’ reputation as a formidable force in cricket’s shortest format. As IPL 2024 continues to unfold, eyes will undoubtedly be on Stoinis to see if he can replicate his sensational form and steer his team to greater heights, possibly even securing that coveted spot in the Australian T20 World Cup squad.