IPL has never been short of close finishes and match-winners like Rohit Sharma (left), MS Dhoni (centre) and Kieron Pollard add their own flavour of aggression to it © IANS & PTI
AB de Villiers produced yet another match-winning innings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. In the second and final part of the series covering some of the memorable blitzkriegs, Shiamak Unwala recaps knocks from the previous two editions of IPL.
6) Chris Gayle (RCB) vs Rahul Sharma (PWI) — IPL 5: A struggling Pune outfit put together a terrific performance with the bat to get to an imposing 182 for six. In reply, RCB lost TM Dilshan, Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli early, as they trudged to 76 for three after 12 overs. With a seemingly impossible 107 needed from 48 balls, Rahul Sharma — who had gone for just four from his first over — came on to bowl the 13th over of the innings. Saurabh Tiwary got a single and gave Gayle the strike. What followed was vintage Gayle: Six over long-off, six over midwicket, six over the bowler’s head, six over long-on, and six over square leg. Gayle jumped from 41 off 36 to 71 off 41, and RCB were right back in the game.
What happened next: Gayle was dismissed for 81 from 46, but AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary pulled off a thrilling victory, off the last ball of the match, as RCB won by six wickets.
7) Rohit Sharma vs Dan Christian (DC) — IPL 5: Rohit Sharma showed his final-over histrionics again three years after doing it for Deccan Chargers. However, this time he did it against his former team. Mumbai were chasing a paltry 139, and perhaps got a bit over-confident in the process. They probably never imagined that they would make heavy weather of it, but at the end of 10 overs they had crawled to a mere 49 for two. With 90 runs needed off the final 10 on a sluggish pitch, the warning bells started ringing and the batsmen started showing more impetus. Rohit was the best batsman on display by far, hitting boundaries or sixes every other over, but the asking rate was still looking ominous. With 23 runs needed off the last two overs, Dale Steyn bowled a typically tight and hostile over in which he took the wicket of Dinesh Karthik and conceded just four runs off the bat. MI needed 18 off the final over, and new man James Franklin helped their cause with a boundary off the first ball. He managed to get three off the next two to leave Rohit with 11 to get off three balls. Rohit sealed the match in style, smashing two of the last three deliveries for sixes to win the match off the last ball.
What happened next: Rohit once againt guided MI to a last-over victory with a terrific unbeaten 73 off 50 deliveries. MI reached the elimination final, but went down to CSK by 38 runs.
8) Kieron Pollard (MI) vs SRH — IPL 6: Kieron Pollard recently played a terrific innings in a losing cause against Sunrisers Hyderabad in which he thrashed Amit Mishra and co for plenty. However, this was not the first time the Caribbean batsmen had stamped his authority against those opponents. In match No 62 of IPL 6, SRH batted first against MI and posted an imposing 178. Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik were looking good when Tendulkar hit leg spinner Karn Sharma for a six, only to keel over in pain. He walked off the field with an injury, and was replaced in the middle by Rohit Sharma. The break caused a slip in Karthik’s concentration, as he was dismissed in that same over. An over later, new man Ambati Rayudu was sent back as well. At the end of the 14th over, MI needed 79 off the final six with Rohit and Pollard in the middle. Rohit hit seamer Ishant Sharma for a six, and Pollard got things going with a boundary in that same over, but Dale Steyn followed it up with a miserly four-run over as MI stumbled to 117 for three. With 62 needed off 24 balls, Pollard went ballistic. Rohit started the over, bowled by Thisera Perera, with a six, and gave strike to Pollard off the next ball. Pollard went on to plunder a four and three sixes off the next four balls of the over. But he wasn’t done. Amit Mishra, bowling the 17th over, was then hit for three more sixes by Pollard. His last eight balls yielded 4, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 0 and 6. After another tight over from Steyn, Perera had seven runs to defend. Pollard hammered the first two balls for sixes, and ended up on a mind-numbing 66 off 27 with two fours and eight sixes.
What happened next: MI stormed through to the finals, where they defeated a strong CSK side to pull off their first ever IPL victory.
9) Albie Morkel (CSK) vs Virat Kohli (RCB) — IPL 6: RCB batted first in a high-scoring encounter against Chennai Super Kings. Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal and Kohli helped RCB to 205. In reply, CSK put in a team effort with all their batsmen putting in important contributions. However, it seemed like it wouldn’t be enough for the southern juggernauts, as they were left needing a mammoth 43 off the last two overs, with Dwayne Bravo and a recently arrived Albie Morkel at the crease. Bangalore newcomer Raju Bhatkal had gone for plenty, and part-timer Kohli had bowled a relatively cheap eight-run over before that, so RCB skipper Daniel Vettori threw the ball to Kohli. What followed possibly gives Vettori and Kohli nightmares even now. Albie Morkel, who hadn’t even faced a ball till then, went wild on a hapless Kohli. The first ball was hit for four, the next for six, then another four, then another six, then just a couple, before ending with the third six of the over. Morkel was on 28 off six balls!
What happened next: Morkel was dismissed off the seventh ball he faced, but Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja managed to get 17 off the final over and win the match off the last ball. RCB failed to qualify for the final four yet again, and CSK went on to be the finalists.
10) MS Dhoni (CSK) vs Thisara Perera (SRH) — 2013 Champions League T20: While this isn’t actually an IPL match, it was still played between two IPL sides, and the innings that Dhoni played was unlike any other seen before that. Batting first in Dhoni’s home ground Ranchi, CSK were at a comfortable 115 for three in the 15th over, with an ideal platform for the incoming batsmen to take full toll. Dhoni showed his intent by smashing the second ball he faced down the ground and over the ropes for six. The next couple of overs passed without incident. At the start of the 18th over, Dhoni was batting on 11 from seven balls. Thisara Perera came on to bowl, and all hell broke loose. He started off with a wide ball, and Dhoni followed it up by clobbering a 92 metre six off the next delivery. Perera bowled another wide. Off the next ball, Ishant misfielded to allow Dhoni to come back for a second run. Had that been a single, SRH would have had to chase a good deal fewer runs. Unfortunately for them, it was Dhoni on strike. And Dhoni was in a murderous mood. The next four balls of the over were deposited to various ends of the stands, one of them going 101 metres long to make it 34 runs off the over.
What happened next: Dhoni got to the quickest ever CLT20 50, off just 16 balls. He hit two more sixes in the final over bowled by Darren Sammy, to end with a tremendous 63 not out from merely 19 deliveries . SRH fought back bravely, but could only manage 190 in reply to CSK’s 202.
Series concluded. Read Part I of the article here
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)