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Best IPL finals: Memories that don't fade away

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Rajasthan Royals were the worthy winners of the first IPL in 2008

Chennai Super Kings have booked their place in the finals of IPL 8, which will be the sixth time they will be contending for the championship. They will have another shot at Mumbai Indians, the same team that defeated them in the first qualifier.

Mumbai Indians have had time to rest and adapt to the conditions at Eden Gardens while it will be hectic for CSK, as they played the second qualifier on Friday against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Ranchi. In spite of MI’s freshness, CSK will hope their momentum is intact and hasn’t faded away.

The IPL final at Eden Gardens might favour Chennai, as they have a better team for slower conditions than Mumbai. But, over the years, the IPL Final has always dished out surprises. Very rarely has the team that was expected to win, picked up the trophy. Let us look at three such unforgettable finals that are fresh in the minds of all the followers – 

Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2008 

Years later, this match might be seen as the ultimate heist pulled off by Rajasthan Royals, yet anyone who had watched the Royals under Shane Warne steamroll richer teams, knew they were the favourites even against the class of the Chennai Super Kings. It was a battle between two cricketing masterminds in Dhoni and Warne. The match which was played in Mumbai, saw CSK choosing to bat first, and they were making steady progress. 

Their innings though was given a boost by Suresh Raina, who grabbed the opportunity on the big day. He made 43 off just 30 balls and was supported by cameos from Parthiv Patel and MS Dhoni. The latter gave the final push to the score with a 17-ball 29 to take the total to 163, which was a good score, considering it was the first IPL.

The T20 world didn’t have half the strategies, shots or bravado that it now possesses. Neither Sohail Tanvir nor Shane Watson did a lot of damage with the ball, but it was Yusuf Pathan who shone and did the star turn for the Royals, with his figures of 3-22 in four overs the highlight.

During the chase, Rajasthan didn’t have the best of starts and slumped to 42 for three after seven overs. Once again, it was Yusuf Pathan who came to the rescue, adding 65 runs for the fourth wicket with Shane Watson and then another 32 with Mohammad Kaif.

Asnodkar and Watson played cameos that took RR close but not over the line. Eventually, they needed 25 runs from the last three overs.

Although they had to overcome the dismissals of both Ravindra Jadeja and Pathan, the Royals held off the Chennai bowlers, with Tanvir and skipper Shane Warne taking them to victory off the last ball to win the inaugural IPL in a thriller of a match. Pathan scored 56 off 39 balls and was the only half-centurion on either side in the final. 

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