Mumbai were deserved winners of IPL 2020 as they were the most consistent side in the tournament, finishing the league stage as table-toppers. They defeated Delhi in all three previous encounters between the two sides heading into the final, and made it 4-0 following the triumph in the summit clash.
Delhi, on the other hand, were excellent in phases but lacked the ruthlessness needed during crunch times, which explains why they finished second best.
IPL 2020 also saw a number of excellent individual batting performances from across franchises that left fans in awe. Not all magnificent efforts resulted in triumphs though.
In this feature, we take a look at five stupendous batting feats that deserved to be on the winning side, but weren’t.
#1. Shikhar Dhawan -- 106* vs KXIP
Delhi Capitals opener Shikhar Dhawan created history in the 38th match of IPL 2020 against Kings XI Punjab, becoming the first batsman in the history of the T20 league to slam back-to-back hundreds.
After his unbeaten 101 led DC to victory over Chennai Super Kings, Dhawan smashed a brilliant 106 not out from only 61 balls in DC’s next match against KXIP.
Dhawan’s knock featured 12 fours and three sixes, and he looked in complete control during his stay out in the middle. However, the left-hander found little in the form of support.
As a result, DC only managed to post 164 on the board. KXIP managed to chase down the target without much trouble courtesy Nicholas Pooran’s scintillating 53 from 28 balls.
#2. Ishan Kishan -- 99 vs RCB
Following his heroics later in the tournament, Mumbai batsman Ishan Kishan’s heart-breaking 99 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) very early in IPL 2020 seems like a distant memory.
However, the image of a distraught Kishan in the Mumbai dug-out following their Super Over loss to RCB in Dubai was a poignant moment from this year’s edition.
Chasing RCB’s tough 201, Mumbai were in big trouble at 39 for 3. However, Kishan led a stupendous fight back for his side in the company of Kieron Pollard, who contributed a brutal 60 not out from only 24 balls.
Taking the RCB attack to the cleaners, Kishan smashed nine sixes. However, on 99, he hit a tired shot and perished with just one ball remaining. Pollard took Mumbai to the Super Over, where Navdeep Saini proved to be too good for them.
#3. Chris Gayle -- 99 vs RR
Another 99. Another defeat. Universe Boss Chris Gayle turned around Kings XI Punjab’s fortunes in IPL 2020 since being brought into the playing XI.
However, his knock of 99 from 63 balls against Rajasthan Royals could not translate into victory for KXIP. Gayle blasted as many as eight sixes in his innings, but the RR bowlers pulled things back towards the end to restrict Punjab to 185.
Ben Stokes put Rajasthan firmly in the driver’s seat with a sizzling knock of 50 from only 26 balls. Sanju Samson gave him fine support with 48 in 25 balls, and swift cameos from Steve Smith and Jos Buttler took the Royals home with 3.3 overs to spare.
The lack of support for Gayle hurt Punjab at the end of the day.
#4. Mayank Agarwal -- 89 vs DC
If Mayank Agarwal looks back at his IPL 2020 journey, he will view his innings of 89 from 60 balls against Delhi Capitals in Dubai with regret.
Although it was a fantastic innings, Agarwal played a needles ‘going for glory’ stroke with just one run needed off two balls. Chris Jordan was dismissed off the next ball, and Delhi went on to win the Super Over.
The loss came back to haunt KXIP as they narrowly missed out on a playoff spot.
Speaking of Agarwal’s knock, it was a one-man show as wickets kept falling all around him in the chase of 158. Agarwal began slowly but opened up in the second half with some breathtaking stroke-play to almost single-handedly push KXIP over the line.
It wasn’t to be, and the loss set a pattern of sorts for Punjab in IPL 2020 as the franchise lost a few more very close encounters.
#5. Nicholas Pooran -- 77 vs SRH
It was that kind of a tournament for KXIP. There were innumerable brilliant knocks but as a team Punjab failed to put it together, particularly in the first half of IPL 2020.
Nicholas Pooran’s belligerent 77 from 37 balls against SRH in Dubai also makes the list. Jonny Bairstow and David Warner’s strong opening partnership had lifted SRH to a daunting total of 201. In response, KXIP crumbled to 58 for 3 in the seventh over.
Victory for Punjab seemed completely out of the window. However, left-handed Pooran played a blistering knock, spanking as many as seven sixes to give KXIP faint hopes.
It was a mountain too tall to climb though as the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Mandeep Singh could not support him. Pooran eventually perished himself, looking for another big one, as Punjab went down by 69 runs.Published 11 Nov 2020, 17:40 IST