“Well begun is half done,” goes a popular adage. That could not have been more true, especially in the shortest format of the game - T20 cricket - and more specifically in the IPL.
It has repeatedly been touted how the complexion of a T20 game can be turned on its head in the space of an over. Add in the fast-paced nature of the IPL and a team’s entire campaign can be decided based on their performance on a single day.
With such high stakes, it is safe to say that every IPL team, from the Chennai Super Kings in the south to the Delhi Capitals in the north, yearn to start their innings on a positive, if not spectacular note.
The initial six overs of an innings, called the Powerplay as fielding restrictions are in place, offer batsmen the chance to dictate the tempo of a game; however, failure to do so provides the bowling side much needed momentum right at the outset.
On that note, we take a look at the five lowest IPL team scores in the powerplay and whether the said teams managed to recover their lost momentum in the remainder of the match.
Five lowest IPL team scores in the powerplay:
5. Royal Challengers Bangalore (17/1) vs Chennai Super Kings (IPL 2014); Mumbai Indians (17/3) vs Kings XI Punjab (IPL 2015)
The fifth lowest IPL team scores in the powerplay overs is a tie between the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore; however, their respective fortunes in the two games could not have been more contrasting.
RCB’s 17 runs came during their successful chase of CSK’s modest total of 138/4. The fact that CSK lost only four wickets while posting their score was a testament to the fact that the JSCA pitch in Ranchi favoured the bowlers. Suresh Raina’s 62(48) was the mainstay in the CSK innings as the seemed to have a target score in mind and did not attempt unnecessary accelerations.
Needing 139 for a win, Chris Gayle’s uncharacteristically slow knock of 46 off 50 balls and Virat Kohli’s 27 off 29 set a sturdy platform for a successful chase before AB de Villiers' cameo of 28*(14) brought RCB home with a ball to spare.
On the other hand, Mumbai Indians had a slightly more challenging target than RCB to chase down in their game against Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2015.
Riding on George Bailey’s 61*(32) and Virender Sehwag’s 36 (19), Kings XI set a target of 178 for the Mumbai Indians. Mumbai’s chase began on a disastrous start when they lost captain Rohit Sharma for a duck in the second ball of their innings.
Aaron Finch and Aditya Tare were also back in the hut before the end of the powerplay as MI laboured to 17-3 after six overs.
The KXIP bowlers managed to keep their opponents in check by taking regular wickets, courtesy tight spells from Mitchell Johnson, Sandeep Sharma, and Axar Patel. Despite Harbhajan Singh providing some late fireworks with his 64 of 24 balls, it proved to be a futile effort as MI fell short of their target by 18 runs.
4. Chennai Super Kings (16/1) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (IPL 2019)
In another case of a ‘calculated' start rather than a dismal one, this time it was the turn of CSK to put one across RCB in the first match of IPL 2019.
However, the match which was hyped as a battle of two Indian captains - Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni - turned out to be a damp squib as RCB were folded up for a meagre 70 in the 18th over, with only Parthiv Patel (29) reaching double figures for the batting side.
The CSK spin trio of Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja ran riot, producing a combined return of 44-8 from 12 overs to wreck the RCB innings.
In response, CSK navigated their chase masterfully. In scoring just 17 runs in their powerplay, they doused any slim hopes of an RCB fightback as CSK overhauled their modest target with 14 balls and three wickets to spare.
3. Chennai Super Kings (16/1) vs Delhi Daredevils (IPL 2015)
Usually, CSK's opening combination of Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith are used to providing explosive starts to their team.
But in an IPL 2015 game against Delhi Daredevils, the belligerent opening pair displayed a rarer aspect of their partnership - the penchant to occupy the crease and wait for the bad balls. In that game, McCullum and Smith put on a measly 16 runs in six overs before the New Zealand player was dismissed on the last ball of the powerplay.
However, the struggles of their big-hitting openers made the rest of the CSK lineup cautious, and the franchise could only put up 119/6 in their allotted 20 overs.
The young Delhi Daredevils side, in response, came out with a positive mindset. Mindful but not overtly cautious or fearful of the pitch, the Daredevils chased down the modest target in the 17th over with six wickets in hand.
Shreyas Iyer seemed to be batting on an entirely different wicket as he scored an unbeaten 70 off 49 balls to guide the Daredevils home as CSK experienced a rare off day on the field and were outplayed in all departments.
2. Chennai Super Kings (15/2) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL 2011)
Chennai Super Kings makes a hat-trick of appearances on a list they would rather have stayed away from.
In a 2011 IPL game, CSK captain MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first against KKR, stating that "If rain was forecast we would have bowled first”.
CSK made a sluggish start to their innings, scoring only 15 runs and losing two wickets in their six powerplay overs. It was another instance of a sluggish start from the CSK openers, which was exacerbated by a rain interruption, making the entire lineup too cautious.
With their top three players, Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina contributing a total of 24 runs in 49 balls, CSK were bereft of any acceleration, which is so vital to set up a challenging T20 total. Badrinath fought valiantly to score 54 off 41 balls but his effort was not enough to raise CSK’s final total to above a run-a-ball.
Eventually, CSK's underwhelming total of 114/4 was easily chased down by KKR without breaking a sweat. The experienced Jacques Kallis held the KKR innings together till the tenth over when the heavens opened up. At 61/2, though, KKR were comfortably ahead of the D/L score of 52.
With no more play possible due to rain, KKR were adjudged the winners. The Man of the Match award went to Iqbal Abdulla for his tight 4-over spell in which he conceded only 15 runs and accounted for the key wicket of Murali Vijay.
1. Rajasthan Royals (14/2) against Royal Challengers Bangalore (IPL 2009)
In the second match of the second edition of the IPL in 2009, RCB, the team that had finished second from the bottom in the inaugural season produced something magical.
The defending IPL champions Rajasthan Royals restricted RCB to what looked like a below-par total of 133/8 in 20 overs, one they should have overhauled without much trouble. But that was not the case.
RCB’s top three of Jesse Ryder(0), Robin Uthappa (3) and Ross Taylor (0) back in the hut by the sixth over, Their final score would have been significantly lower if not for The Wall. The ever-sturdy Rahul Dravid scored 66 off 48 balls to give RCB a fighting chance. Little did he know that he would outscore the entire opposition.
Rajasthan came out to bat and were immediately put on the back foot. With the RCB bowlers proving immensely miserly, the defending champions scored only 14 runs in their powerplay overs while losing two wickets. Like RCB, Rajasthan's top three also faltered in the game, accounting for just six runs off 29 balls.
At 14/2 at the end of the powerplay, RR might have still been in with a decent chance to win. But Anil Kumble cleaned up the batting order in a monstrous spell of bowling, returning stunning figures of 5/5 to hand RCB an emphatic 75-run victory in their tournament opener.
RR’s score of 58 remained the lowest team score in the IPL for over three years before RCB received a taste of their own medicine by being skittled out for 49 by KKR during a pursuit of a modest target of 132.