The fate of this year’s IPL remains uncertain at the moment. Slated to begin on Sunday, March 29, it has been postponed to Wednesday, April 15. The decision to hold it on that date will be reviewed depending on where we are on the pandemic’s curve. The IPL has given us a lot of wonderful moments over the years. With no cricket taking place at the moment, we decided to take you back a few years to relive some of our favourite IPL memories. In the first of this two-part series, we look at one highlight each from the first six editions of the IPL, that is from 2008 to 2013.
2008: McCullum opens the IPL in style
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum made the first IPL game one to remember. On a flat Chinnaswamy pitch, the maverick wicketkeeper-batsman from New Zealand battered the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers into oblivion. He finished on an unbeaten 158 off just 73 balls, with ten fours and an astonishing 13 sixes. Fans had never seen such an audacious display of batting before. The IPL was a hit overnight. McCullum’s knock gave the fans a trailer of exciting times ahead.
2009: Kumble’s magic spell
RCB had had a forgettable opening season, and the franchise was desperate to turn things around in 2009. The IPL had moved to South Africa. RCB faced defending champions Rajasthan Royals in their opening game on an unfamiliar surface in Cape Town. Two Indian veterans rose to the occasion and engineered their side to victory. RCB were reeling at 17 for 3, when a gritty half-century by Rahul Dravid took them to a respectable 133 in 20 overs. Defending this total would require a great bowling effort, and Anil Kumble produced one of the finest spells in the history of the IPL. In a display of accurate and controlled spin bowling, he ran through Rajasthan’s batting line-up as they were bundled for a paltry 58. His figures were sensational: 5 wickets for just 5 runs in 3.1 overs, including a maiden. “You can’t buy experience from a shop”, RCB captain Kevin Pietersen said about the legendary leg-spinner’s performance.
2010: Pathan’s whirlwind century
Yusuf Pathan had made a name for himself as a powerful hitter of the cricket ball in the first two seasons of the IPL. But it was only in 2010 that he gave us a full display of his destructive ability. The Rajasthan Royals were chasing a stiff target of 212 against the Mumbai Indians. Pathan walked in at 40 for 3 and immediately began dispatching the ball to various parts of Mumbai’s Brabourne stadium. He reached his hundred in just 37 balls, the fastest IPL hundred then. Unfortunately, just before he could take his team across the line, Pathan was run out. The Royals ended four runs short of the target.
2011: CSK make it two in a row
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings had been a prolific side in the IPL thus far, being the only team to reach the semifinals in each of the first three editions. Now, they were facing a formidable RCB side in their second consecutive final. Table toppers RCB had had a stellar run in the tournament, headlined by opener Chris Gayle’s ballistic run with the bat. Beating RCB would require a special effort. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, openers Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay gave CSK a flying start and they finished with a daunting total 204. CSK were aware that they needed to get Gayle early if they were to win this game, and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin did just that. Gayle was caught behind for a duck in the very first over of RCB’s innings. The celebrations in the CSK camp indicated what an important moment this was. MS Dhoni’s team became the first side to win two IPL titles, and firmly stamped their authority as the best team in the IPL.
2012: Clash of the South African titans
The best batsman and the best bowler in the world faced off in an exciting battle. RCB needed 39 off 3 overs in a game against the Deccan Chargers, when Dale Steyn came on to bowl to AB de Villiers. Both men were at the peak of their powers. On this evening, however, there was to be only one winner. ABD carted Steyn for 23 runs in the over, hitting two fours and two sixes. Steyn tried everything, from short balls to yorkers to slower ones, but de Villiers had an answer to it all. Steyn had never been meted out this treatment by any other batsman before. In the end, all he could do was nod and smile at his South African teammate’s brilliance.
2013: A Gaylestorm hits Pune
It hardly comes as a surprise that the highest individual score in T20 cricket belongs to the best T20 batsman in the history of the game, Chris Gayle. On a sunny afternoon in Bangalore, the big man from Jamaica went on a rampage. In an innings spanning 66 balls, Gayle made a tremendous 175, with 13 fours and an incredible 17 sixes. RCB finished with 263 runs in their 20 overs. The second highest score in the line-up was 33, which underlines what a one-man show Gayle’s effort was. Pune Warriors’ coach Allan Donald later said that the team’s bowlers were left scared after Gayle’s thunderous assault on them.
Watch this space for part two of this series, where we pick the most memorable IPL moments from 2014 to 2019.