3 of the most exciting finals in IPL history
- A look at 3 of the most nail-biting title clashes in the 11-year history of the Indian Premier League.
- Each final was decided off the final ball, with two of these games going the way of the team batting first.
The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is under serious doubt in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The start of the event has been postponed from March 29 to April 15. Owing to the worsening Covid-19 situation in India, it looks highly unlikely that the tournament will go ahead.
Some players have advocated the cancellation of the tournament while others have proposed for a tournament without spectators. While a final decision on IPL 2020 is awaited, it is a good time to look back on some past games in the tournament. On that note, let us re-live three nail-biting summit clashes in the 11-year-old T20 tournament.
# 1: 2008 - Rajasthan Royals (164/7) beat Chennai Super Kings (163/5) by 3 wickets
The very first IPL final in 2008, between Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai was decided off the last ball.
Batting first, CSK posted a competitive 163 for 5 in their allotted 20 overs. Parthiv Patel got the team off to a fluent start, scoring 38 from 33 balls. Suresh Raina top-scored with 43 from 30 while skipper MS Dhoni scored two sixes in an unbeaten 17-ball 29.. Yusuf Pathan was the pick of the RR bowlers, with figures of 3 for 22.
Pathan starred with the bat as well, scoring 56 from 39 balls, which featured three fours and four sixes. Swapnil Asnodkar and Shane Watson contributed 28 apiece. Just when it looked like Pathan would take his team home, a direct hit from Raina caught him short of the crease.
Rajasthan went into the last over needing 8 runs to win, with skipper Shane Warne and Sohail Tanvir at the crease. Lakshmipathy Balaji bowled the deciding over and it came down to one run off the last ball.
Tanvir, the bowling star for Rajasthan in the tournament, would not disappoint with the bat in hand. A short of a length delivery was pulled through wide mid-on to set off wild celebrations in the Rajasthan camp. For Chennai, it was the beginning of many more final heartbreaks to follow.
# 2: 2017 - Mumbai Indians (129/8) beat Rising Pune Supergiant (128/6) by 1 run
In a low-scoring thriller in 2017, the unfancied Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) gave favourites Mumbai Indians (MI) the scare of their lives. However, MI, having been there and done that before, prevailed by the skin of their teeth.
Mumbai won the toss and batted first but struggled for fluency on a slowish surface in Hyderabad. Tottering at 78-6 at one stage, Krunal Pandya's 38-ball 47 lent a semblance of respectability to the final score of 129/7.
In reply, Ajinkya Rahane scored a 38-ball 44 but Pune found themselves 98-3 in the 17th over when MS Dhoni was dismissed. However, with captain Steve Smith having scored a fighting half century at the other end, it was not yet a lost cause for the franchise.
Needing 11 off the final over bowled by Mitchell Johnson, Manoj Tiwary scored a boundary over square leg. Looking to score another boundary, though, Tiwary was dismissed next ball and Smith came on strike. 7 off 4 became 7 off 3 when the captain sent a full ball straight to the gleeful hands of sweeper cover.
Dan Christian was on strike as Pune needed a boundary off the final ball. The Australian hit the ball to deep square leg and collected a couple. However, Washington Sundar was run out going for a third which would have forced a super over, sparking celebrations in the Mumbai camp.
# 3: 2019 - Mumbai Indians (149/8) beat Chennai Super Kings (148/7) by 1 run
In their second IPL final in three years, Mumbai Indians won the toss and opted to make first use of the wicket in Hyderabad. Despite their top-4 getting starts, the franchise were indebted to an unbeaten 25-ball 41 from Kieron Pollard to post 149-8 on the board.
67 runs were needed off 44 balls when CSK captain MS Dhoni was run out for a painstaking 8-ball 2. With 62 needed off the last five overs, it looked like a daunting task for the Chennai-based franchise.
But it wasn't yet a lost cause for them as they had two big hitters, Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo at the crease. Either side of a 4-run Jasprit Bumrah over in the 17th, Lasith Malinga and Krunal Pandya each conceded 20 runs apiece. The equation for Chennai petered down to 18 off 12 balls as a pulsating finish lay in store.
Bumrah returned to bowl another mean over, conceding only three runs, which meant that CSK required 9 off the final over to be bowled by Malinga. The experience of the Sri Lankan came to the fore. With his yorkers beginning to find their intended targets, 4 runs came off the first 3 deliveries.
Watson, batting on a fine 79 off 58 balls, was on strike as 5 runs were required off the last 3 balls of the tournament. The right-hander slapped another Malinga yorker to deep point. In his desparation to retain the strike, the Australian returned for a non-existent single and was run out.
A boundary would have sealed the deal for CSK. But Shardul Thakur could only take a couple before being trapped LBW off the final ball as Mumbai registered their second 1-run IPL final win in three years. For his excellent bowling figures of 2-14, Bumrah was adjudged the Man-of-The-Match, although Kieron Pollard was another worthy contender.
As for Chennai and Dhoni, it was yet another case of so near yet so far.Published 09 Apr 2020, 02:05 IST