After a long and frustrating wait, the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to get underway in the UAE. The tournament will be played at three different venues from September 19 to November 10.
However, there are still enough reasons to look forward to the tournament. IPL 2020 will be the first time CSK skipper MS Dhoni will be seen in action since he announced his retirement from international cricket.
With the latest edition all set to kick-off, it’s a good time to look back at some glorious performances in the tournament from the past.
#1. Murali Vijay (95 from 52) in the IPL 2011 final: CSK vs RCB
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batted first after winning the toss against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), and opener Murali Vijay’s brilliance literally smashed RCB out of the contest.
Before the IPL, Vijay was mostly recognised as a solid Test player with a good technique, which enabled him to score runs in tough batting conditions in Australia and South Africa.
However, in the 2011 IPL final at the Chepauk Stadium, a totally different Vijay came to the crease. Vijay switched to complete attack mode and hit 6 sixes and 4 fours in his 52-ball 95. The standout feature of his innings was the amount of time he created to play his strokes.
Vijay featured in a blazing 159-run stand for the opening wicket with Mike Hussey, who contributed 63 from 45. A hundred seemed for the taking for Vijay when he mistimed a big shot in the penultimate over and was caught in the covers off S Aravind.
Vijay’s brilliant knock lifted Chennai to 205 for 5. RCB crumbled under the pressure of a big chase and managed only 147 for 8. Ravichandran Ashwin was CSK’s bowling star with 3 for 16.
#2. Manish Pandey (94 from 50) in the IPL 2014 final: KKR vs KXIP
Chasing a score of 200 is never easy in T20 cricket. It becomes all the more difficult in a high-pressure final. However, it also gives an opportunity for players to turn heroes. Manish Pandey became one following his stupendous effort in the 2014 IPL final at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
The Kolkata Knight Riders were set a mammoth 200 to win the IPL trophy, and Kings XI Punjab were the clear favourites at the halfway stage. However, Pandey made a mockery of what looked like a tough chase with a dazzling 94 from 50 balls.
Even as wickets kept falling at the other end, Pandey held the fort, and ensured the boundaries did not dry up. 18 runs came in the 11th over bowled by Parvinder Awana as KKR’s chase took flight.
The talented youngster’s knock featured 6 sixes and 7 fours as Punjab’s dream of winning the trophy slipped away. It’s a shame that Pandey hasn’t been given enough opportunities to repeat his heroics on the international stage.
Coming back to the final, Pandey just like Vijay in 2011, missed a well-deserved hundred, miscuing a shot straight up into the air off Karanveer Singh. Pandey did enough to ensure KKR clinched the trophy though, by three wickets.
However, Pandey’s brilliance was completely overshadowed Wriddhiman Saha’s unbeaten 115 from 55 earlier in the day.
#3. Shane Watson (117 not out from 57 balls) in the IPL 2018 final: CSK vs SRH
When Sunrisers Hyderabad posted an impressive 178 for 6 while batting first in the 2018 IPL final against the Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium, they had given themselves a more than decent chance of winning.
However, when Shane Watson is in a murderous mood, he can make a mockery of the toughest of onslaughts.
Unfortunately for SRH, they found themselves at the receiving end of one such brutal assault from the former Aussie all-rounder. It was a unique innings in the sense that Watson looked all at sea during the start of the innings. Watson did not score a single run off the first ten balls he faced.
After he got his eye in though, Watson went hammer and tongs and single-handedly lifted CSK to IPL glory on their return from a two-year ban.
The highlight of Watson's innings was swatting five boundaries off a Sandeep Sharma over, which cost 27 runs (the 13th over of the innings). It was all one-way traffic by then as Chennai eased to victory by eight wickets with nine balls to spare.
For the record, Watson smashed 8 sixes and 11 fours in his innings as Sunrisers were stunned into silence by the all-rounder’s sheer audacity.
Other notable batting performances in IPL finals
Manvinder Bisla: 89 from 48 for KKR vs CSK (IPL 2012)
Chris Gayle: 76 from 38 for RCB vs SRH (IPL 2016)
Shane Watson: 80 from 59 for CSK vs MI (IPL 2019)Published 03 Sep 2020, 15:21 IST