The Indian Premier League (IPL) – to ensure that teams are as equally balanced as possible – has a salary cap in place. When you first look at such a rule, you would think that the league will have teams of equal strengths across. It’s not usually the case though and there are a few reasons for it.
The primarily reason is, of course, that some teams use their budget wisely at the auction. A few really good players might be bought for a smaller price while some gambles during the auction might not pay off. Hence, there are always going to be some teams that are stronger than the others, at times by considerable margins.
There have been many one-sided matches in the history of the IPL so far. These games, to some extent, might be because of the difference in quality of the two teams but not always does it reflect the total strength of the franchise. For example, in the list below, you will see Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as the victorious team three times. Yet, they are yet to win a title.
This clearly shows that to dominate in one match, you could do so with a few world-class players and RCB who have had a top-heavy team for years have managed to do so. On the other hand, to win the league, you are likely to need a more balanced squad.
Since it was four years ago that the biggest margin of victory (by runs) in the IPL so far was recorded, here’s a throwback to five such one-sided matches.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Pune Warriors (130 runs) - 2013
This match is well-remembered for the record-breaking feats of Chris Gayle. The West Indies batsman scored an unbeaten 175 from just 66 deliveries which still remains the highest individual score in a T20 innings. During this knock, he reached his century in just 30 deliveries which is also a T20 record.
Propelled by Gayle’s magnificent knock, the Bengaluru-based franchise put on a total of 263/5 which at the time was the highest T20 innings total. In reply, Pune Warriors managed just 133/9. Not only was it 130 runs less than RCB’s total, it was also 42 runs short of what Gayle had managed earlier in the day.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab (138 runs) - 2015
Another RCB win. Another Gayle masterclass. While the left-handed opening batsman didn’t reach the heights that he had done against the Warriors a couple of seasons earlier, this was a special knock in its own right. Gayle and Virat Kohli put on an opening partnership of 119 in just over 11 overs, in which the latter made just 32 runs.
While Gayle finished with 117 off 57 deliveries, AB de Villiers’ unbeaten 24-ball 47 during the death overs helped RCB end with a total of 226/3. Kings XI Punjab were reduced to 34/5 at the end of the Powerplay by some impressive new-ball bowling by Mitchell Starc and Sreenath Aravind. They were eventually bowled out for 88, with only two batsmen getting into double digits.
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (140 runs) - 2008
The first-ever match in the history of the IPL saw a blazing innings from Brendon McCullum. This knock was one-of-a-kind. In a match where the second-highest individual score was 20, McCullum smashed an unbeaten 158 from just 73 deliveries. At the time, it was the highest individual score in a T20 innings.
Chasing a target of 223, RCB were never really in the game. They lost wickets at regular intervals with Ajit Agarkar and Ashok Dinda impressing with the ball for KKR. The Royal Challengers were eventually shot out for 82, losing the match by 140 runs which remained a record for eight years.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Lions (144 runs) - 2016
This was the day when two of the greatest batsmen of recent times – de Villiers and Kohli – were at the peak of their powers. Two players recording centuries in the same T20 innings has happened just four times and this was the second such instance when it occurred.
On the back of de Villiers’ 129* and Kohli’s 109*, RCB posted a total of 248/3 in their 20 overs. It was a must-win match for them at the time and win they did with relative ease. Gujarat Lions were bowled out for just 104 with Chris Jordan taking four wickets and Yuzvendra Chahal chipping in with three.
Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils (146 runs) - 2017
The above four innings all included an individual hundred or two for the winning team. This one was a bit different though. It was more of a team effort, with the highest score in Mumbai Indians’ innings being Lendl Simmons’ 66. Some big hitting from Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya in the death overs took Mumbai’s total to 212/3.
In reply, Delhi Daredevils lost a wicket off the first delivery and it was all one-way traffic after that. Spinners Harbhajan Singh and Karn Sharma took three wickets each as Delhi were bundled out for just 66 – the third-lowest total a team has been bowled out for in the IPL. This match also probably explains why Mumbai have been so successful in the IPL. Even in such a huge win, they didn’t look like a top-heavy side but had contributions from many players.