IPL: Top 5 man of the match performances in a losing cause
It's commonplace in cricket to see one player on top of his game, but the rest of his team not being able to follow. It's unfortunate in a team sport how a brilliant individual performance is completely inconsequential when it's in a losing cause.
Most compilations of the greatest IPL performances generally consist of knocks and spells that brought their team victory. Great performances in a losing cause tend to be forgotten after all.
There have been more than a handful of spectacular innings that went relatively unnoticed owing to the fact that it didn't result in a win for the team. On most other days, these knocks/spells would have given the player and his side a win. It's hard to pick out just five from a list of umpteen performances in a losing cause.
However, the five innings listed here have been special owing to the circumstances they came in. So special in fact, that they were given the man of the match laurel despite being on the losing side. Splendid all-round performances and exceptional performances in important games or difficult conditions make the player's efforts worthy enough to hand him the man of the match award.
Sachin Tendulkar's maiden and only century was in a losing cause, but he still didn't earn the man of the match award for it. A man of the match award in a losing cause is given only when the innings have been out-of-the-world special.
Let's take a look at some of these special one-man efforts that were unfortunately in a losing cause.
#5 Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli smashed all batting records out of the park with his audacious performance in the 2016 season. He hit four centuries in a single season and finished the season the orange cap winner with a whopping 973 runs.
The previous record for runs obtained in a single season was 733, a massive 240 runs lesser than Kohli's total.
Kohli's maiden IPL century came in Rajkot against the Gujarat Lions.The skipper won the toss and elected to bat first, and justified his decision by helping his team post a target of 181 runs. Kohli had came in to this match in form, having made an impressive 80 against the Rising Pune Supergiants a few days earlier.
With scores of 75 and 79 in the opening games of the tournament, Kohli had come close to the much coveted three digit figure on three separate occasions. Fantastic batting by the charismatic batsman yet again saw him flirting with the elusive century yet again. His body wasn't on his side this time, as he cramped and was literally limping for his singles.
Nobody - not his body, or the scorching sun that day or the Gujarat bowlers - could stop the man in scintillating form from achieving his goal that day. Needing 15 runs in the last over to reach his century, Kohli got to the prestigious landmark in style with a boundary of the very last ball of the innings. With a healthy total of 180 on the board, Kohli would have been pleased with his performance.
In the run chase, the Gujarat Lions came in to bat with all guns blazing. Dwayne Smith, replacing Steyn in the squad, and Brendon McCullum started playing their natural shots from the word go. Gujarat ended up with 72 runs in the powerplay overs to perfectly set up the chase. It's tough for a single batsman to go toe-to-toe with Virat Kohli but Gujarat showed how a team effort can outdo a one-man show by chasing the target perfectly as a team.
After the destructive openers fell, experienced batsmen Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik played composed innings and went into consolidation mode rather than going for big shots. They kept the scoreboard ticking and though Raina got out in the 15th over, Jadeja came and finished the job along with the set batsman, Dinesh Karthik.
Virat Kohli's maiden T20 ton thus went in vain thanks to a magnificent team effort by the Gujarat Lions. Kohli deservedly took home the man of the match for his individual effort, though he would much rather have taken the victory.