IPL: Greatest performances in must-win matches
Games towards the end of the league stage turn out to be must-win for some teams. Here are performances by players who rose to the occasion.
The Indian Premier League has hosted over 600 games in its decorated history. There have been games of all kinds, ranging from resounding victories to nail-biting finishes. It's primarily the latter that are etched in most of our memories. Also etched in our memories are games in the league stage that are effectively must-wins. The league stage sees every team play 14 games against the other seven teams, and the four teams who accumulate the most points qualify for the knockout stages. Many a times, the last league games turn out to be must-wins, effectively virtual quarterfinals, for some teams. These games, unlike the nail-biting finishes, are exciting from the very first ball owing to the repercussions of the game.
The prestige of qualifying for the playoffs makes these games very important, and the pressure on the cricketers is very high. Let's take a look at some players who put on incredible performances in these must-win games.
#5 Virat Kohli vs. Chennai Super Kings (2013)
The Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Chennai Super Kings have one of the fiercest rivalries in the IPL. The two teams clashing generally produces an intense, well-contested match. The 70th match of IPL 2013 saw the two teams face each either in their last league game. What made the game more special was that it was a must-win for the Royal Challengers Bangalore to stay in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs.
The Chennai Super Kings had already qualified and eventually ended as table toppers. The Royal Challengers Bangalore had to win to stay in the hunt, although their fate then rested in the hands of the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The game was a rain-curtailed one and was reduced to a mere eight overs a side. The Chennai Super Kings had a clear advantage batting second on a flat pitch. Despite the heavy rains persisting for hours, a large crowd at the Chinnaswamy stayed back to watch the game. The home team ensured that it was worth the wait.
Virat Kohli smashed 56 runs in just 29 balls to help his team post an intimidating total of 106 in their 8 overs. The Chennai Super Kings fell 24 runs short in their chase, which saw the Royal Challengers Bangalore doing their job right and putting pressure on the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Unfortunately for the team from Bangalore, the Sunrisers won their last league game to take the Royal Challengers Bangalore's spot in the playoffs. This doesn't take away Virat Kohli's special performance in a high-pressure must-win game against their rivals in a rain-curtailed game. The captain led his team from the front to help them pull off a memorable victory.