We continue with the list of last gasp wins and losses from the fifth and arguably most exciting edition of the Indian Premier League-
Royal Challengers Bangalore v/s Pune Warriors
April 17th, 2012
AB De Villiers proved to the world why there is nothing he can’t do on a cricket field. A match which had Ganguly calling the shots during the RCB chase of 186- stifling a subdued Gayle for majority of the innings (12 overs, RCB were 73-1), until he broke lose violently against an unfortunate Rahul Sharma (30 runs). Still, when AB came in, Saurabh Tiwary wasn’t timing the ball at all, and it was left to him to unleash his bizarre shot-making on an unsuspecting, cocky Ashish Nehra- who finally conceded 21 off the last over. A four off AB’s helmet, followed by a reverse sweep for four, a swat over long-on for six, and a scoop over fine leg for six, was topped off by Tiwary’s only meaningful hit of the game- a last ball six to confirm Dada’s worst fears: His team can’t take pressure either.
Kings XI Punjab v/s Royal Challengers Bangalore
April 20th, 2012
A moderate target of 163 was made to look huge, thanks to Bangalore’s brittle middle order- and once again it was the start-finish combination of Gayle and AB that timed their chase to perfection. Gayle replayed his formula again, breaking loose a bit too late, and leaving the final few overs to AB- who again displayed why he is the best batsman in world cricket. A late stutter saw Vettori and Mcdonald finish it off, after a sprightly fightback by Punjab- that had Bangalore see only two players cross 10 in their chase (who else, but Gayle and AB)
Chennai Super Kings v/s Rajasthan Royals
April 21st, 2012
Another game that Chennai shouldn’t have taken to the last over, thanks to some overly controlled batting by Dhoni and Bravo at the end. An impressive last over bowled by Binny made sure that Dhoni had to work for those 8 runs- with him scampering like a stripped captain hoping to retain some dignity- off the last ball for that second run. Rajasthan had no business to take it right to the last ball, but they did, and all credit to Dhoni for pulling it off once again- though it looked like he had botched it up badly a few balls into Binny’s over.
Kings XI Punjab v/s Mumbai Indians
April 25th, 2012
Without the services of an injured Malinga, Mumbai leaked 168 runs- and were set a stiff target away from home. Tendulkar cantered back to form, slow but steady, and gave them the start they required- and Sharma played an impressive innings under pressure once again, only to throw it away in a moment of brainfade that almost cost them the game. Rayadu, though, had a point to prove- this time as a finisher- and he did so, in style with Robin Peterson- who totally destroyed the morale of Chawla in the penultimate over. Even someone of Mahmood’s quality could not defend the 5 runs needed off the last over after Chawla conceded 28 in a stunning 19th over- that had two switch hits by Peterson, followed by some clean six-hitting by Rayadu. There was no way Hussey was expecting to lose this game, and this could have meant a big boost to their fortunes, and could have put them in pole position for another qualifying place.
Delhi Daredevils v/s Rajasthan Royals
May 1st, 2012
The most bizarre match of IPL 2012- Rahane and Dravid made light work of the target, and they seemed fully in control of every single aspect of the chase- until Morne Morkel bowled a great penultimate over. Still, 14 required off the last over with a set Rahane at the crease looked likely- and a few lusty blows brought the equation down to 2 off the last ball. All Rahane had to do was touch the ball, something that he had been doing considerably well to have that Orange Cap- but somehow, in some way, he didn’t, and even Owais Shah couldn’t make the crease after a pinpoint throw by Naman Ojha handed Delhi the most unlikeliest of wins ever. For Rahane, it was two points stolen- and this potentially destroyed a thriving Rajasthan campaign, for they never looked the same team after. The odd part was that they STILL had 8 wickets in hand in that last over.
Chennai Super Kings v/s Kolkata Knight Riders
April 30th, 2012
By now, KKR were the better team and favorites to win this game. Once again, though, common sense went out the window, and fate (read players) almost conspired to hand them yet another typical KKR choke of a chase. Luckily for them, a cool Das took them home in Ashwin’s last over, with two balls to spare- after a comfortable chase was derailed by Chennai’s army of slow bowlers.
Pune Warriors v/s Mumbai Indians
May 3rd, 2012
Another low-scoring Derby encounter meant that Pune had the best chance to pull a double over fancied opponents Mumbai- with only a score of 120 to chase down. After their first game, though, every score seemed safe- and Pune Warriors were found short after the best bowling attack of the IPL came alive. 12 off the last over soon became 8 runs off the last two balls, even of Munaf Patel, seemed difficult- and all B. Kumar could do was flick a full-toss away to deep midwicket for a couple. Another unlikely solitary-run win by a team that was back in competition. Pune, meanwhile, had their fourth successive defeat, and were virtually out of it again.
Mumbai Indians v/s Chennai Super Kings
May 6th, 2012
14 runs off the last 3 balls- after a KKR style choke- meant that new import Dwayne Smith had a chance to do something that no IPL player had ever done before. He is West Indian, and history rarely means a lot to them these days- and so, Smith smashed Hilfenhaus over his head thrice to seal possibly the greatest last-over victory this year. Super Sunday, indeed, after Sachin shot back to form in his greatest IPL innings, with Sharma once again giving him stellar company. Mumbai had no right to win this after sense betrayed them in the last few overs, and Dhoni looked broken by the end of it.
Royal Challengers Bangalore v/s Deccan Chargers
May 6th, 2012
The best day in IPL history was topped off with one of the most significant T20 innings ever played- by that man AB De Villiers once again. It wasn’t only for the 47 off 17 he made at the end, but for the way he made them- virtually destroying teammate and fellow best on earth player Dale Steyn in a manner that left many pundits spellbound and stunned with the sheer audacity of the hitting. A beautiful, violent, thoughtful innings brought RCB a much-needed victory with 7 balls to spare, after it looked like they’d never make it when they needed 13 an over off the last 4.
There’s more to come, and expect things to get heated up with Pune, Rajasthan and Deccan battling for pride, and the rest of them in a dogfight to the closing stages. Deccan, clearly, doesn’t believe in one-sided victories or defeats anymore.