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The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 saw many great moments whether good or otherwise. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at some of the highlight of IPL 7 that left everyone gasping for breath.
In Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014, one saw a profusion of breathtaking matches, gilt-edged performances twinned with a touch of sportsman spirit and an ugly spat too. Let’s look back at some of the highlights of IPL 7.
1. Piyush Chawla’s epoch-making moment in IPL 7 final: As 11 runs are needed of six balls and Mitchell Johnson, one of the world’s fiercest bowler, is thundering into the crease to bowl at a No 8 batsman, Piyush Chawla. Instead of quivering for cover like a cat on a hot tin roof, Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR’s) Chawla walks around the crease and with a dash of adventurism, pulls Johnson for a six over square-leg. It proved to be the game-changing moment of the IPL 7 final. Johnson may mutter to himself that it didn’t exactly come from the middle of the bat. But the credit has to go to Chawla for having that guts and gumption to take on the pace spearhead of the opposition ranks, Johnson.
2. Virender Sehwag brings back old memories with blistering ton: The bespectacled Virender Sehwag is 36 now. But in the IPL 7 Qualifier 2 against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Wankhede stadium, he showed that on occasions he can still bat with preternatural hand-eye co-ordination. In the fifth over of the game, he greeted the left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra with three boundaries. Spin twins, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin were carted to all corners of the ground as well. He clambered all the bowlers and went onto score 122 of a mere 58 balls. Interestingly, Suresh Raina, the pillar of strength in CSK’s line-up matched him stroke-for-stroke, but ended up on the losing side.
3. Corey Anderson’s coup de theatre act floors Rajasthan Royals: While chasing a target of 190 against Rajasthan Royals in the all-important clash at Wankhede stadium, Mumbai Indians needed to win in 14.3 overs at least. A spellbinding performance from someone was required. It was provided by Corey Anderson, who cracked an unbeaten 95 off just 44 deliveries and with Aditya Tare took them to a heart-stirring victory with a first-ball six. Let it be Rajasthan’s captain Shane Watson, Parvin Tambe or James Faulkner, nothing seemed to bother the stocky all-rounder from New Zealand that day.
4. Chris Lynn and Kieron Pollard take catches with superman-like efforts: One area where modern-day cricket has progressed beyond recognition is ground fielding. In IPL 7, we saw further evidence of it. Chris Lynn and Kieron Pollard took couple of jaw-dropping catches respectively on the boundary line to leave you scratching your head in sheer disbelief. In the game against Kolkata, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) needed six runs off three balls. AB de Villiers plonked his front-foot forward and gave himself room to flat bat medium pacer R Vinay Kumar over mid-wicket. He almost pulled off the stroke, but Lynn showed great judgment and presence of mind after slipping at the deep mid-wicket region before taking the catch. He also had to think about the boundary rope behind him and was naturally blindsided by it.
Pollard, the giant from Trinidad and Tobago hit the headlines with a superman-like effort to take arguably the greatest catch in cricket history. While fielding at long-on against Rajasthan Royals, he leapt in the air in an attempt to take the catch and then threw the ball up in the air as his momentum took him over the boundary line. He then came back into the field and dived superbly to complete the catch to send Kevon Cooper back to the pavilion. The superhuman effort from Pollard broke the well-defined boundaries of fielding.
5. AB de Villiers single-handedly wins it for Royal Challengers Bangalore: AB de Villiers up against Dale Steyn. Teammates and vital cogs of the South African line-up standing toe-to-toe in the cauldron of bubbling tensions against each other in IPL. This is what exactly happened when RCB met Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at Bangalore. It was de Viliers who came out on top by thwacking one of the greats of the game, Steyn for 24 runs a in a single over to take his team to a memorable win.
6. Dale Steyn shows great sportsman spirit: In the same game between Bangalore and Hyderabad, Steyn upheld the traditions of the ‘gentleman’s game’. Even after being thwacked for 24 runs in a single over by de Villiers, he clapped his South African teammate and said that he is in a ‘different class’ to rest of the batsmen going around. After the game got over, he also gave de Villiers a warm hug.
7. Steven Smith and James Faulkner pull off heist against Bangalore: When 83 runs were required by Rajasthan off just 36 deliveries, not many would have expected them to cross the finishing line. However, Steven Smith and James Faulkner gave a glimpse of their incontrovertible self-belief and Rajasthan pulled off a miraculous victory.
8. Pravin Tambe takes hat-trick at 42: In the world of IPL, bowlers are treated as second class citizens. But Pravin Tambe, the leg-spinner shone brightly with a hat-trick against Kolkata at Ahmedabad. It has to be remembered that he is 42 now.
9. Glenn Maxwell shows his worth for Kings XI Punjab: During IPL 2013, Mumbai Indians picked up Glenn Maxwell. Unfortunately, Maxwell didn’t exactly make his mark and was ridiculed as ‘million dollar baby’. This year though, Maxwell with Punjab was in rip-roaring form. He smashed four fifties and more importantly, most of them were match-winning knocks. During the latter half of IPL 7, he struggled a bit. However, he left an inedible mark with his sparkling strokes in IPL 7. The same can be said about Robin Uthappa too. The KKR batsman has re-invented himself by tinkering with his technique and that helped him to scale compelling peaks in IPL 2014.
10. Lendl Simmons’ West Indies flair and panache sends the crowd in a tizzy: Mumbai qualified for playoffs mainly on the back of some whirlwind knocks by Lendl Simmons. In the game against Punjab, Simmons scattered the opposition attack to shreds and even cracked a hundred. Simmons was always known as a fine player through the on-side. But in IPL 7, he did show that he has a wider range of strokes by essaying strokes through the off-side as well.
Other highlights of IPL 7 include; Kieron Pollard-Mitchell Starc’s ugly spat, Yuvraj Singh’s brave comeback, Manish Pandey and Wriddhiman Saha compiling heart-warming knocks in the IPL 7 final.
Days now will turn into months and then into years, but some of these masterpieces will be etched in one’s memory and remain as symbol of excellence in the history of IPL for a long time to come.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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