5 Closest Encounters in Indian Premier League history
A few days are left for the much-awaited Indian Premier League 2023 and what makes it more special is that the opening battle will be between Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans. Two big hitters are set to lead their squad against one another and it is surely going to be a cracker of a game.
Each year we witness some of the finest battles in the league and it becomes quite tough to rate which one is the best in the fifteen seasons of the cash-rich league. Today, let us go through the top five close encounters in the history of the IPL which must be on everyone’s list. Here’s a glance:
#5 Punjab Kings defeated Mumbai Indians (IPL 2008)
In the very first edition of the IPL, the match between Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings was a complete treat for its fans. After batting first, Punjab scored a competitive total of 188 in their 20 overs, thanks to Shaun Marsh’s scintillating 81 runs off only 56 deliveries. No one from MI’s bowling line-up was effective and they were only hoping for their batting to make it count.
The opening pair of Sanath Jayasuriya and Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was an iconic one and had all the ability to win that match. But Jayasuriya departed early after giving a quick start. Sachin was individually cruising towards the target and almost did it for his side before getting out for 65 off mere 46 balls.
Mumbai was in need of 30 runs off the last 3 overs but they lost the battle by one run in the end as three wickets fell in the last over. The highlight of the match was Yuvraj Singh’s athletic run-out on the last ball. Marsh was awarded Man of the Match for his performance with the bat.
#4 Deccan Chargers defeated Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL 2009)
The match was played during the time when Kolkata Knight Riders used to struggle a lot for victories. It was 2009 and Brendon McCullum was captaining KKR in this battle. They posted 160 on the board after batting first with David Hussey being the top scorer for them with 43 off 17 deliveries.
On the other hand, Deccan Chargers started off really well with Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs scoring 68 for the first wicket. The game slowed down in the middle and looked like KKR would grab victory from here and that’s when ‘The Hitman’ arrived.
Rohit Sharma scored 32 runs off just 13 balls to make sure that the Chargers win the game. In the end, 21 runs were required off the last over and Masrafe Mortaza is capable of defending that. However, Rohit smashed him everywhere out of the park to surprise his fans and achieve this glorious victory.
#3 Rising Pune Supergiants defeated Punjab Kings (IPL 2016)
This match is proof of why MS Dhoni is known as one of the best finishers of all time. It was 2016 when CSK was banned from the league and Indian skipper MS Dhoni was playing for Rising Pune Supergiants.
The clash against Punjab Kings was a high-scoring affair with Murali Vijay & Co. scoring 172 runs in their 20 overs. Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Vijay scored half-centuries for their side whereas Hashim Amla managed to give a good start.
With Ravichandran Ashwin picking up four wickets for RPS, it looked like a spin-friendly track. Now, to chase down 173 Ajinkya Rahane and Usman Khawaja started off well but couldn’t capitalise on their fine touch. MS Dhoni came in the 12th over and stayed till the end. He started steadily and reached the level where 23 was required from the final over.
It was a surprising call from Murali Vijay to give the ball to Axar Patel with an over from Rishi Dhawan, Kyle Abbott is left. Due to lack of experience, Axar failed to defend 23 off his over and MS Dhoni finished once again in style.
#2 Mumbai Indians defeated Rajasthan Royals (IPL 2014)
More than bat and ball, this game was remembered for Rahul Dravid’s reaction post-game when Rajasthan Royals lost it on the last delivery.
It was virtually a qualification match and Rajasthan Royals posted 189 on the board which was huge for a crucial game. Fireworks from Sanju Samson and Karun Nair set the platform while Brad Hodge and James Faulkner finished on a good note.
Now, Mumbai Indians had to chase this down in 14.3 overs to confirm their qualification for the playoffs. A target of 190 looks tough in 20 overs and almost impossible in 14.3 overs but Rohit Sharma & Co. made it possible. All credit goes to Corey Anderson who was smashing every delivery coming his way. He scored 95 runs off only 44 deliveries to achieve the impossible.
It was not the end as during the time of 14.3 overs, the calculations were showing that the game was still tied. Mumbai got another chance that if they could hit a boundary off the next delivery, then they are into the playoffs and shockingly, Aditya Tare flicked the first ball he was facing for a huge six off James Faulkner to register a victory in one of the epic battles of all time.
#1 Mumbai Indians defeated Chennai Super Kings (IPL 2019 Final)
Both Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the powerhouses of the IPL due to their remarkable record over the years. They have faced off against each other on several occasions but the 2019 final was one such epic clash which will remain unforgettable for both the giants of the league.
Mumbai Indians batted first and with too many big names on the side, they did not do justice to the total. Rohit Sharma & Co. managed to put on 149 runs in the end, thanks to Kieron Pollard’s late fireworks including three boundaries and as many as sixes. On the other hand, Deepak Chahar and Imran Tahir bowled really well and collectively picked up five wickets for their team.
It was Chennai’s turn now with the bat and they went off to a flyer with 36 runs in the first four overs. It looked like they would win with a few overs to spare but that’s where Krunal Pandya sent Faf du Plessis back to the pavilion.
Regular strokes from Shane Watson kept the Men in Yellow in the game till the end, however, no support from the other end cost them the crucial final. The Australian veteran got run out in the last over and now with two required off the final ball, Shardul Thakur was trapped in front on the last delivery to help Mumbai script a historic victory.