Often in the Indian Premier League (IPL), nothing separates the two teams at the end of an intense and electrifying final session. If there's a tie in the scores, the modern game deems it necessary to break it instead of settling for an old-fashioned draw.
Well, how does the modern game decide a winner, you ask? The answer lies in a gripping Super Over. The rules are pretty simple; each team has two wickets in hand and one over to bat.
The team that batted second in the match gets to bat first in the Super Over and sets a target while the other team is tasked with chasing it. The team that wins the Super Over is declared the winner of the match.
Over the years, the IPL has witnessed a total of 13 Super Overs, of which some were one-sided affairs while others did not leave us with any more nails to bite off.
The 2020 edition of the grand extravaganza was arguably the most tightly contested, with four matches going down to the wire, the highest of any edition of the IPL so far. With the 14th season right around the corner, we relive three of the most riveting Super Overs we have been treated to over the years:
3.Gujarat Lions vs Mumbai Indians (IPL 2017)
The now-defunct Gujarat Lions played a hair-raising contest against the eventual champions Mumbai Indians at Rajkot on 29 April, 2017. Having elected to bat first, the Lions posted a total of 153/9, riding on a swashbuckling 35-ball 48 by young Ishan Kishan, and contributions in the twenties from Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner and Andrew Tye.
In reply, the Mumbai Indians were off to a flier, courtesy of a 44-ball 70 by Parthiv Patel. However, a middle-order collapse left them with 15 runs to chase off the final two overs. MI could eventually only tie the contest following some brilliant bowling by Basil Thampi and three run-outs.
In the Super Over, James Faulkner had the ball in hand for Gujarat while Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler walked out to bat for Mumbai. A single off the first delivery was followed by a boundary and a maximum by Pollard. Just as the big man from the West Indies threatened to take the game away from Gujarat, Faulkner dismissed both Pollard and Buttler off consecutive deliveries.
In the second innings of the Super Over, MI entrusted Jasprit Bumrah with the ball despite the likes of Lasith Malinga playing. Defending 12 runs, Bumrah got off to the worst of starts with a no ball and a wide off his first three deliveries. But he recovered well. Though he gave away a total of four extras, he allowed only two runs off the bat of the daunting duo of Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum. Bumrah's clever bowling - a combination of slower balls and fast yorkers - helped his team get over the line.
2.Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals (IPL 2014)
The encounter between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals in the UAE in the 2014 edition of the IPL will perhaps go down as one of the most controversial ones in its history. At the end of it all, the Royals were declared winners on the basis of boundaries after a tied Super Over.
In the original match, the Royals had opted to bat after winning the toss. They notched up 152/5 from their 20 overs, with Ajinkya Rahane stealing the show with his crisp 59-ball 72. A quick cameo of 19 runs from 11 deliveries by Steve Smith helped the Royals reach a par total.
In reply, none of the KKR batsmen could convert their starts into big scores. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals and were in a spot of considerable bother at 88/4, before Suryakumar Yadav and Shakib Al Hasan steadied the ship. Ultimately, they required 12 runs from the last over but managed only 11, which resulted in a tied contest.
The Super Over that followed was no less enthralling. The Knight Riders put up 11 runs, which included a six off Manish Pandey's bat. The tables had turned as this time, it was the Royals who needed 12 runs off one over for victory. Shane Watson hit a four which helped them get to 9 runs off the first 5 balls. Steve Smith gently tapped the last delivery towards deep extra cover for a couple of runs to get them to 11.
The IPL at the time did not provide for multiple Super Overs to be played in case of a tied one. Each team had scored one boundary (i.e. a four or a six) in their respective super overs and the winner was decided by the boundary count in the 20-overs-a-side game. The Royals had aggregated 18 boundaries while the Knight Riders had managed only 14, which led to RR being adjudged the winner of the contest.
1.Mumbai Indians vs Punjab Kings (IPL 2020)
Defending champions Mumbai Indians were involved in arguably one of the best games in IPL history when they went up against the Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab) at the Dubai International Stadium in 2020. The game ebbed and flowed, kept everyone on their toes and eventually presented the winner only after two Super Overs.
In the first innings, the Mumbai Indians' batsmen could not fire on all cylinders. Quinton de Kock's 43-ball 53, 34 runs apiece from Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya, and a quickfire 12-ball 24 from Nathan Coulter-Nile helped them put up a decent total of 176/6 on the board.
With KL Rahul playing both anchor and aggressor, the Kings appeared to be in complete control of the chase. A sense of urgency brought Jasprit Bumrah back into the attack and the pacer weaved magic yet again, sending Rahul back after his 51-ball 77 and turning the game on its head. Deepak Hooda and Chris Jordan fell one short of garnering the required 9 runs off the final over and the game was tied.
In the first super over, Bumrah nailed his line and length as he restricted the trio of Rahul, Nicholas Pooran and Hooda to a mere 5 runs.
From the Kings, Mohammed Shami returned the favor as he delivered a barrage of yorkers which proved too hot to handle for Quinton de Kock and skipper Rohit Sharma. Like Bumrah, Shami also conceded just 5 runs which dragged the game into Super Over 2.
With the innings order again getting reversed, it was MI's turn to bat first in the second Super Over. Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard put up 11 runs against the bowling of Chris Jordan. In reply, Chris Gayle clobbered a huge maximum on the first ball of Trent Boult's over and Mayank Agarwal then smacked a couple of boundaries to finally seal the deal for KXIP.
Plenty to look forward to in IPL 2021
Post the auction in January for IPL 2021, all the squads look stronger than ever as they resume their challenge for the trophy. The eight outfits willing to give it their all, we may witness a few super overs over the course of this edition as well.