IPL 2020 is just a couple of nights away as the cricket universe gears up to witness yet another edition of the world's most competitive T20 league. The BCCI initiated the tournament in 2008 following India's historic victory in the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007.
Eight city-based franchises took part in the first season of IPL, and the organizers used a home-away format for the tournament. In the last 12 years, the league has gone through many ups and some downs, but has always managed to entertain fans.
Although IPL 2020 is not happening during its usual time, the viewership is still expected to be at an all-time high.
One of the main reasons behind the immense popularity of T20 cricket is that batsmen play extravagant strokes right from the get go. The likes of Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, David Warner, and several other batsmen have done this and amassed big hundreds in IPL cricket.
However, there have also been a few players who have had great starts quite a few times but never managed to go on and reach the three-figure mark. Here's a look at the five batsmen with the most half-centuries but no hundreds in IPL history:
5. Dinesh Karthik - 18 fifties before IPL 2020
Dinesh Karthik has played for six franchises in his IPL career so far - Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, and Kolkata Knight Riders. Karthik has taken part in 182 matches, scoring 3,656 runs at an average of 27.08.
The right-handed batsman generally bats in the middle order. Therefore, Karthik usually does not get enough overs to build a big innings. The KKR skipper came close to registering his maiden IPL hundred last year against the Rajasthan Royals but could not do so, eventually remaining unbeaten on 97.
As KKR already has a stellar top order, it is unlikely that Karthik will promote himself in the batting lineup this season.
4. MS Dhoni - 23 fifties before IPL 2020
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is another IPL captain who does not bat in the top three. Playing for Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiant, Dhoni has registered 23 half-centuries in IPL cricket.
His highest score in the league is 84*, which came against Royal Challengers Bangalore last year. With Suresh Raina to miss IPL 2020 entirely, there is a slim chance fans get to see Dhoni bat higher up the order, and perhaps register his maiden IPL hundred in the process.
3. Robin Uthappa - 24 fifties before IPL 2020
Former Orange Cap winner Robin Uthappa has played some memorable knocks in the IPL over the last 12 years. The Karnataka-based player has represented Mumbai Indians, Pune Warriors, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Uthappa will don the Rajasthan Royals jersey in IPL 2020 and be keen to end his century drought in the tournament. The right-handed batsman has played 177 matches, where he has aggregated 4,411 runs at a strike rate of 130.50.
While he has opened the innings several times, Uthappa has never managed to go past the 90-run mark let alone reach three figures, registering a top-score of 87 against Rising Pune Supergiant.
2. Gautam Gambhir - 36 fifties
Gautam Gambhir was one of the most successful captains in IPL history, as evidenced by the two trophies Kolkata Knight Riders won under his leadership. The southpaw from Delhi also played a few seasons for his home franchise.
The opening batsman played 154 IPL matches in his career, aggregating 4,217 runs at an average of 31.01. While Gambhir achieved a lot in his career, he could never manage to score an IPL hundred.
The closest he came to the milestone was against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2012 edition. Gambhir scored 93 runs off 51 deliveries at the Eden Gardens before being dismissed by Zaheer Khan in the penultimate over. Had he batted till the last ball, he could have registered his first century, but that wasn't to be.
Gambhir ended his career following IPL 2018 with no hundreds in the tournament to his name.
1. Shikhar Dhawan - 37 fifties before IPL 2020
Shikhar Dhawan has become a big name in white-ball cricket owing to his consistency and power hitting. The left-handed batsman has also been a perennial candidate to win the Orange Cap in the IPL.
Surprisingly however, Dhawan has neither won the Orange Cap nor scored a century in the league. The Delhi Capitals opener has played for Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers, and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL as well.
His 37 fifties in the league showcase his dominance over bowlers, but Dhawan has failed to convert any of these into a hundred. He was unbeaten on 97* against Kolkata Knight Riders last year and will look to improve his highest score in IPL 2020.