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 part of this series, we picked our favourite moments from the first six editions of the IPL, that is from 2008 to 2013. In the second and final part, we look at one highlight each from from the 2014 to 2019 editions of the IPL.
2014: Mumbai’s near impossible heist
The Mumbai Indians had a seesaw campaign in 2014. At one stage, they were languishing at the bottom of the league table after losing each of their first five games. Thereafter, they surged to win six out of their next eight games and held an outside chance to reach the playoff stage. To qualify, they not only had to beat the Rajasthan Royals in their final league game, but also needed to surpass the Royals’ net run rate. Rajasthan batted first and set a daunting target of 190. Mumbai needed to chase it down in just 14.3 overs to make it to the playoffs. The task seemed highly unrealistic, but Mumbai weren’t going to go down without a fight. They promoted Corey Anderson to number three, and the big-hitting Kiwi all-rounder launched a carnage to make an unbeaten 95 off 44 balls. Ambati Rayudu chipped in with a neat cameo of 30 from 10 balls. In the end, it boiled down to Mumbai needing four runs from one ball. Aditya Tare deposited James Faulkner’s full toss into the stands, and the Wankhede erupted in hysteria. The Royals’ coach Rahul Dravid, generally cool and collected, flung his cap to the ground in despair. He had every reason to, Mumbai had stolen a playoff spot from under Rajasthan’s nose.
2015: Southee and Nair’s spectacular teamwork
Rajasthan Royals’ Tim Southee and Karun Nair came together to produce a brilliant display of fielding in a game against the Kings XI Punjab. Punjab were in the fag end of their innings and looking to hit some big ones. Skipper George Bailey launched one into the air and the ball seemed to be clearing the midwicket boundary. Southee, who was manning the region, stuck his hand out at the edge of the boundary line and pushed the ball back into play. Nair, who was nearby, dived and completed a magnificent relay catch off Southee. Bailey couldn’t believe his eyes, and neither could the spectators.
2016: The year of King Kohli
By 2016, Virat Kohli had established himself as one of the top batsmen in international cricket, dominating across all three formats of the game. However he had not made the same kind of impact in the IPL. This was to change in 2016. At the start of the season, Kohli had zero IPL centuries to his name. By the end, he would have four. The Royal Challengers Bangalore captain amassed a staggering 973 runs at an average of 81.08, the highest by a batsman in a single IPL season. His best knock came against the Kings XI Punjab, in a game that was curtailed to 15 overs a side due to rain. Batting first, Kohli wasted no time and immediately began sending the ball to different parts of the ground. He reached his hundred in the 14th over, and RCB managed to go past the 200-run mark in just 15 overs. In a recent social media chat with Kevin Pietersen, Kohli picked this knock as his “most fun innings”.
2017: Bumrah nails the super over
The game between the Gujarat Lions and the Mumbai Indians at Rajkot had ended in a tie and gone into the super over stage. Young Jasprit Bumrah was picked over death bowling veteran Lasith Malinga to bowl the super over for the Mumbai Indians. The task ahead of him was a tough one. He had to defend just 11 runs against a dangerous batting duo of Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum. Bumrah didn’t begin well, as his first delivery was called a no-ball. He managed to contain the ensuing free-hit but followed it up with a wide. The remaining deliveries, however, were bowled beautifully. He got them perfectly into the blockhole, varying his pace and giving nothing away. McCullum and Finch couldn’t hit a single boundary in the over as Gujarat ended with a mere six runs. Bumrah would go on to become one of the finest death bowlers in the world.
2018: Pant lights up Delhi
The Delhi Daredevils were struggling at 21 for 2 at a rate of under six runs an over against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, when Rishabh Pant walked in to bat. He tread carefully at the start, trying to steady Delhi’s ship as wickets kept falling around him. His half century came in 35 balls, after which he launched a vicious attack on the Hyderabad bowlers. It was his treatment of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, one of the most celebrated bowlers in the IPL, that made everyone sit up in awe. The Daredevils finished at 187 in their 20 overs, of which Pant had made 128 at a strike rate just over 200. What made this knock stand apart was that it wasn’t just a display of powerful hitting. Pant, often admonished for being erratic and irresponsible, played a calculated innings to bail his team out of a tight spot.
2019: Malinga seizes victory for Mumbai
It was an all too familiar sight. The Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings, the two most successful IPL teams, were meeting for the fourth time in an IPL final. The match went down to the wire. Mumbai’s old warhorse Lasith Malinga was called up to defend 9 runs in the last over, with CSK’s opener Shane Watson batting on 76. He conceded just four runs in his first three balls. In the very next delivery, Watson was run out thanks to some brilliant work in the field by Mumbai. Eventually it came down to CSK needing two runs off the final ball. Malinga produced an incredible slow yorker that bamboozled Shardul Thakur and got him LBW. Mumbai had won their fourth IPL title. There had been whispers that Malinga’s effectiveness had waned with age, but the Sri Lankan silenced his critics in style.