5 best knocks in IPL finals
The Gujarat Titans (GT) will square off against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, May 28, for the IPL 2023 final.
Defending champions GT will look to defend their title, while MS Dhoni's CSK will be looking to become the joint most successful team in IPL history, equaling the Mumbai Indians (MI) record five titles.
Gujarat and Mumbai have easily been the best teams in the competition from the group stages. Although it will be a home match for GT on paper, it won't be a surprise to see a majority of the spectators support CSK, owing to the crazy fandom for their captain MS Dhoni.
It will be a battle between a master and an apprentice as MS Dhoni will lead his side against Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya.
The Narendra Modi Stadium has proven to be a batters' paradise and yet another high-scoring encounter is anticipated on Sunday.
Today's final will feature some of the best batters in this edition of the IPL such as Shubman Gill, Devon Conway, and Ruturaj Gaikwad. In addition to this, some of the most hard-hitting players in the competition such as MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, David Miller, Rashid Khan, Hardik, Rahul Tewatia, and Shivam Dube will feature in today's game.
Thus, the fans can expect a run-feast tonight with players from both teams looking to go big. It can be the case of one special innings deciding the result of the game.
On that note, let us take a look at the top 5 innings in the IPL finals.
#1 Shane Watson (CSK vs SRH, IPL 2018)
Chasing a competitive target of 179, CSK were off to an extremely slow start. At one point, Shane Watson was on a 10-ball duck with Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling an excellent new ball spell.
Beyond the slow start too, CSK had other worries as they had to deal with 4 overs of Rashid Khan. It seemed that Watson's shaky start would cost his team the game until suddenly he cut loose. The Australian legend ended up finishing the game for his side, striking an unbelievable 117* runs off just 57 balls to take his side to a comfortable eight-wicket win.
Watson stroked 11 fours and eight sixes in that knock that came at a strike rate of 205.26.
The most striking feature of his innings was his ability to soak in the pressure as he played out the eight overs of Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and went after the rest of the SRH attack.
He was adjudged the Player Of The Match award for his spectacular knock.
#2 Wriddhiman Saha (PBKS vs KKR, IPL 2014)
Batting first in their only IPL final to date, the Punjab Kings were in a spot of bother at 30/2 in 5.1 overs. Wriddhiman Saha (115* runs off 55 balls), struck an unbeaten century to bring his side to a par total of 199/4 at the end of their 20 overs.
Saha stroked 10 fours and eight sixes in a knock that came at a strike rate of 209.09. He was well-supported by Manan Vohra, who too struck a half-century.
However, their efforts were undone by Manish Pandey (94 runs off 50 balls), who took his side home with a splendid half-century.
With the win, KKR won their second IPL title and Manish Pandey was awarded the Player of the Match award.
#3 Murali Vijay (RCB vs CSK, IPL 2011)
Batting first at the IPL 2011 final, CSK posted a mighty total of 205/5 at the end of their 20 overs. Murali Vijay (95 runs off 52 balls) and Michael Hussey (63 runs off 45 balls) set the tone with a 159-run opening partnership.
Vijay, in particular, was impressive as he struck four boundaries and six maximums in that knock that came at a strike rate of 182.69.
In reply, RCB could only muster 147/8 at the end of their 20 overs. Ravichandran Ashwin (3/16) was the pick of the bowlers for the Super Kings as they won their second consecutive IPL trophy.
#4 Ben Cutting (RCB vs SRH, IPL 2016)
In yet another heartbreaking final loss for the RCB, Ben Cutting proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Cutting (39* runs off 15 balls) played an excellent cameo for his side at the end of the innings that propelled them to a score of 208/7. Cutting smashed three fours and four towering sixes in a knock that came at a strike rate of 260.
Cutting was the star performer for the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) with the ball too as he broke the 114-run opening stand for RCB by dismissing Chris Gayle (76 runs off 38 balls). He also dismissed KL Rahul later on.
In the end, RCB fell short by eight runs as SRH won their first IPL title.
#5 Faf Du Plessis (CSK vs KKR, IPL 2021)
Batting first, CSK posted a total of 192/3 at the end of their 20 overs. Chennai's batting was headlined by Faf Du Plessis (86 runs off 59 balls), who anchored the innings to perfection.
Du Plessis struck seven fours and three sixes at a strike rate of 145.76 in the course of the whirlwind knock.
In reply, KKR could only manage 165/9 at the end of their 20 overs, in spite of half-centuries from Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer. It was one of those rare instances when all CSK bowlers picked up at least one wicket.
With this victory, MS Dhoni and Co. won their fourth trophy in the cash-rich league.