The Indian Premier League has witnessed truly great moments in its 14 seasons with outstanding players coming to the fore to deliver for their respective franchises. The 2021 iteration was no different as the Chennai Super Kings defied the odds to win their fourth IPL crown.
We’ll now look back at some of the signature moments of IPL history ahead of the 2022 season where expectations will be high for another special campaign.
1. Malinga holds his nerve
In the 2019 IPL Final between the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, the usually miserly Malinga had a difficult evening with the ball for the Indians. Defending a total of 149, Sri Lanka had been dispatched for 42 for his first three overs. Australian Shane Watson appeared to have the Super Kings on course for victory.
Despite his struggles, Rohit Sharma turned to Malinga to bowl the final over of the innings with the Super Kings requiring only nine runs to win their second title on the bounce. Malinga bowled the over of his life, pinning Shardul Thakur lbw with the final ball of the innings to secure a one-run win for the Indians and their fourth title.
2. McCullum sets the tone
When the IPL began in 2008, there were obvious concerns about how the tournament would be received by fans in India and across the world. Would the IPL be a success and would it bring out the best in both local and overseas talent? Brendon McCullum dispelled any notion of underachievement on behalf of overseas players in the first game of the competition.
New Zealand blasted a world record score of 158 not out from only 73 balls, notching 10 fours and an incredible 13 sixes for the Kolkata Knight Riders, allowing them to post 222 for three from their 20 overs. The Knight Riders crushed Royal Challengers Bangalore, and the IPL has not looked back since becoming the leading T20 tournament in the world.
3. Dhoni makes his mark
Many moons ago, the Super Kings were hardly the powerhouses of the IPL in the way they are today. In 2008, they were beaten by the Rajasthan Royals in the final of the competition before losing out in 2009 at the semi-final stage. Chennai were in danger of becoming the near team under the tenure of MS Dhoni. The 2010 season was heading in a similar direction, requiring a win to beat the Kings XI Punjab to advance to the post-season.
The Super Kings appeared down and out after conceding 192 runs and slipping to 149-4 in the 17th over, needing another 41 runs off only 18 balls. Dhoni and Albie Morkel gave their team a chance by whittling 28 runs off overs 18 and 19, but there was still work to be done to pull them over the line.
However, Dhoni rose to the challenge by smashing Irfan Pathan for back-to-back sixes to send his team into the post-season. The Super Kings then dispatched Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians to secure their first title.
4. King Kohli Struggles
Although Virat Kohli has been the most successful batsman in IPL history, passing 6,000 runs in the competition in 2021, his form has not translated into success for his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. RCB have yet to win the IPL but are considered one of the leading contenders for the title in 2022 by 1X Bet, who are one of the top IPL betting sites in the business.
It will take a change in fortunes for the franchise to fire on all cylinders after a number of disappointing moments. No event epitomised their issues more than their defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2017 season. After the Knight Riders were bowled out for 131, Kohli and company would have been confident of chasing down their total. However, Kohli was dismissed for a first-ball duck by Nathan Coulter-Nile and the rest of the line-up was skittled for 49, the lowest IPL score in the history of the competition.
5. Chris ‘Super’ Gayle
It took five seasons for McCullum’s record-breaking 158 to be surpassed. If you were looking for a player to top his score Gayle would certainly be on the shortlist. Gayle not only broke the record, but he also smashed several others in the process against Pune Warriors. The RCB opener notched the fastest T20 century of all time by reaching the landmark in 30 balls.
— Somerset Cricket ? (@SomersetCCC) April 23, 2016
He accumulated his 175 in only 66 deliveries, blasting 17 sixes, the most by one player in a single inning. He guided RCB to a mammoth total of 263 for five from their 20 overs, which remains the highest IPL team score to this day. Only David Warner and AB de Villiers have more runs as overseas players in the competition than Gayle. Moments like that proved that the West Indian will be long remembered.
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