(500) games of T20I cricket

A look back at the first 500 games of international T20 cricket

The United Arab Emirates' thrilling five-run win over Ireland in Abu Dhabi overnight marked the 500th men's T20 international since its inception in 2005.

The first match, 11 years ago today, in Auckland featured Australian and New Zealand teams sporting retro uniforms and matching hair styles in what was more an exhibition than a serious international bout.

Australia, fuelled by Ricky Ponting's unbeaten 98 which included 30 runs off one Daryl Tuffey over, motored to 5-214 from their 20 overs on the rectangular Eden Park playing surface with no clue of what was a good score, nevermind of the intricate tactics that would now be employed to defend it.

In reply, the Black Caps were bowled out from the match’s final ball for 170 but not before paceman Glenn McGrath was met with boos, cheers and a red card from the pocket of umpire Billy Bowden after feigning an underarm delivery – a performance that perfectly surmised the carnival feel of the new format's international debut.

Image Id: ~/media/2D2A6906E1424284B5F6D95878B7C873 Image Caption: The Black Caps brought back the beige // Getty Images

Fast-forward 11 years and 499 more games and there are no more gimmicks. No more throwback outfits. No more mysteries. 

Five ICC World Twenty20 tournaments – the 20-over World Cup – have crowned five different champions, with another set for coronation in six weeks' time in the undisputed hub of limited-overs cricket, India.

As it turns out, the 214 Ponting's mob posted in the first match was very good. On 31 occasions a team has racked up 200 or more batting first, only six times have they tasted defeat, with the highest score of 260 set by Sri Lanka against Kenya in Johannesburg in September 2007.

Sri Lanka also inflicted the lowest T20I score; bowling out Netherlands for 39 in Chittagong in March 2014, a match they won by nine wickets inside five overs.

Pakistan, with 98, have featured in the most matches, and own the most wins, 57. At the other end of the scale, New Zealand have lost the most games, going down 39 times from their 88 matches, one more than Pakistan. Associate Bermuda is the only nation yet to register a win, striking out from their three matches.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, who will farewell international cricket at the conclusion of the 2016 World T20, holds the record for the most appearances by a player with 90; in a format that was tailor made to his frenetic approach.

Image Id: ~/media/7C36404A6D5F4EE1A401A5064BFAEAF9 Image Caption: Afridi's trademark wicket celebration, repeated 90 times // Getty Images

Outgoing New Zealand Test skipper Brendon McCullum is equal second behind Afridi, with Pakistan pair Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal, and is the leading run-scorer in the format with 2,140 run. He is also the only man to post two centuries.

With 91 sixes, McCullum has cleared the rope more than other player, and with 199 fours, he has also found the boundary on the bounce the most.

West Indies master blaster Chris Gayle will eventually overtake McCullum, currently sitting four lofty blows back in second place. Remarkably, but hardly surprising, Gayle's 87 maximums have come from only 43 innings.

Aaron Finch, the world's No.1 ranked T20 batsman according to the ICC's official player ratings system, has hit the most sixes in a match – 14 – in his brutal knock of 156 – the highest score in T20I cricket – against England in Southampton in 2013.

Image Id: ~/media/D32A8762E85743FB9FDFFD5329AACC3C Image Caption: McCullum was hitting scoop shots for six // Getty Images

Yuvraj Singh holds one record that will take some beating after he recorded the most runs off a single over, a jaw-dropping 36 (6x6) off England's Stuart Broad in Durban in September 2007.

Yuvraj hit the fastest T20I half-century in that innings against England, coming from only 12 balls. South Africa's Richard Levi is the fastest man to three figures, reaching the milestone in only 45 balls against New Zealand in Hamilton in 2012.

Zimbabwe's Malcolm Waller has the highest strike rate (with a minimum of 250 balls faced), plundering 153.61 runs per 100 balls. Windies allrounder Darren Sammy (152.02) and Finch (151.47) round out the top three.

With the ball, Afridi has taken the most wickets, 91, ahead of teammates Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal who both sit second with 85 victims.

Sri Lanka mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis is the only bowler to take six wickets in an innings, and he's achieved the feat twice; first with 6-16 against Australia in Pallekele in August 2011, and then an astonishing 6-8, including two maidens, against Zimbabwe in Hambantota in September 2012.

Image Id: ~/media/FCE732B21BEF4C5B9A9B3A95375F2C74 Image Caption: Mendis the magician // Getty Images

Spin was meant to suffer a horrible death at the hands of T20 cricket, but it's a trio of tweakers who are the most frugal. West Indies duo Samuel Badree (5.39) and Sunil Narine (5.69) are the hardest to get away, while Black Caps veteran Daniel Vettori (5.70) joins them as the only bowlers to concede less than a run a ball (with a minimum of 500 balls bowled).

Under the same criteria, Dutch bowler Ahsan Malik has the best strike rate, taking a wicket every 11.9 deliveries, ahead of Mendis (13.4) and Gul (14.1).

There have been four hat-tricks in T20I cricket, with Australian speedster Brett Lee claiming the first against Bangladesh in Cape Town in 2007. Kiwis Jacob Oram and Tim Southee both have taken three wickets in three balls, while Thisara Perera achieved the feat only three matches ago against India in Ranchi.

With the gloves, Kamran Akmal's 60 dismissals for Pakistan is the most by any wicketkeeper, comprising of 28 catches and 32 stumpings – the latter the record, while Windies gloveman Denesh Ramdin has the most catches with 30, one ahead of India captain MS Dhoni.

And to round it all off, Afghanistan 'keeper Mohammad Shahzad has pouched the most dismissals in an innings, taking three catches and two stumpings against Oman in Abu Dhabi in November 2015. 

Image Id: ~/media/28C825FFC49747C8A9259C134F9D1D64 Image Caption: Lee celebrates his hat-trick, his second for Australia // Getty Images