The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the shutdown of the entire sports world. With the coronavirus impacting sports around the globe and developments occurring almost hourly, a number of sports leagues were forced to alter their schedules, with the Indian Premier League being one of them. The franchise-based T20 league has been deferred until April 15, but the fate of it doesn't look great. The Board of Control for Cricket in India still believes that they can pull off the league if the situation comes under control by the end of April. However, there are chances it might get cancelled altogether.
If that happens, it will come as a huge upset for sports lovers. IPL has been a great source of entertainment since its inception in 2008. The tournament has produced way too many heart-stopping thrillers and is inarguably the best T20 league going around the world. While the IPL 2020's fate hangs in the balance, we look back at six of the closely-fought encounters from the 2019 edition.
Delhi Capitals v Kolkata Knight Riders, Match 10
Remember that Kagiso Rabada's yorker to Andre Russell in the super over? Yes, we are talking about the same match.
Asked to bat, Delhi lost Nikhil Naik, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill inside 10 overs and were reduced to 61/5. They needed their ace performers - Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell - to step up and that's exactly what happened. Skipper Karthik slammed a 36-ball 50, while Russell smoked four fours and six maximums in his 28-ball 62 as the two put on 95 runs for the sixth wicket. Thanks to them, Kolkata posted a competitive total of 185/8.
In response, Prithvi Shaw smacked 99 off 55 but missed out on a well-deserved century. Captain Shreyas Iyer (32-ball 43) also chipped in and all Delhi needed in the final over were six runs. Colin Ingram and Hanuma Vihari failed to do the job against Kuldeep and the match ended in a tie. Delhi only managed 10 runs in the super over but that was enough for Rabada who only gave away seven runs against the likes of Russell, Karthik and Uthappa.
Mumbai Indians v Kings XI Punjab, Match 24
KL Rahul and Chris Gayle were at their best but it was still not enough as Punjab got outmuscled by Kieron Pollard.
The Trinidadian dasher was at his brutal best at Wankhede, hammering 10 towering sixes in his 31-ball 83. Chasing Punjab's huge target of 198 for 4, courtesy a 116-run opening partnership between Rahul (100*) and Gayle (63), Quinton de Kock, Siddhesh Lad and Suryakumar Yadav all got starts but couldn't convert it into something substantial.
Leading the side in Rohit Sharma's absence, Pollard walked in at No. 4 and wreaked havoc. He brutalised Ankit Rajpoot and Sam Curran before getting dismissed to the former to the second delivery of the final over. Mumbai needed 4 off 4 but Rajpoot conceded only two in his next three balls. Alzarri Joseph then knocked one past the bowler and got the required two runs to help Mumbai complete an impressive victory.
Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings, Match 25
A yet another last-ball finish for Chennai, with MS Dhoni being the "centre" of attraction.
They call him Captain Cool, but the players, officials and fans at Sawai Mansingh Stadium got to witness the other side of Dhoni. He did help his side come out of a precarious situation and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but there was a moment in the match that left Dhoni fuming. Chennai needed 18 from the final over and Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja managed 10 off the first two deliveries which also included a no-ball. The wicketkeeper-batsman was knocked over on the next delivery for 58, with his team still needing 8 off 3 balls.
Ben Stokes then bowled a high full-toss which appeared to be above the waist and the standing umpire signalled it a no-ball. The square leg umpire however said he never signalled anything and then all hell broke loose. Dhoni stepped onto the field and was absolutely furious with what was happening in the middle. The square leg umpire overruled the no-ball call but Mitchell Santner smashed the final delivery down the ground to give Chennai an astounding victory. Apart from Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu also scored a fifty. Earlier, Chennai spinners - Jadeja, Santner and Imran Tahir - bowled brilliantly and restricted Rajasthan to 151/7.
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Chennai Super Kings, Match 39
Dhoni just has a way of producing thrillers and almost won Chennai the South Indian Derby against Bangalore from an improbable situation.
Chasing 162 at Chinnaswamy, Chennai needed 26 runs from the final over and it all boiled down to their skipper Dhoni. The wicketkeeper-batsman blasted Umesh Yadav's first delivery through the square leg before tonking the next delivery out of the stadium. The next three deliveries went for 6, 2 and 6 and they just needed two off the final delivery. Umesh however held his nerves and went for a slower off-cutter which Dhoni failed to connect.
Dhoni remained unbeaten on 84 off 48 and apart from him, only Rayudu (29) and Jadeja (11) managed double-digit scores. Earlier, Parthiv Patel hit a 37-ball 53, while the likes of AB de Villiers, Akshdeep Nath and Moeen Ali also chipped in as Bangalore managed 161/7 in their 20 overs, which at the end just proved to be enough and helped them defeat Chennai for the first time since 2014.
Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad, Match 51
You simply don't bet against Jasprit Bumrah in the super over. Mumbai's premier paceman was at it again as his brilliance in the super over led Mumbai to a victory in what was the second tied encounter of the season. Mumbai posted 162/5 in their 20 overs on the back of de Kock's 58-ball 69. Wriddhiman Saha and Martin Guptill then got Hyderabad off to a rapid start but it was Manish Pandey (71*) who did most of the scoring for his team. The No. 3 batsman didn't get much support from the middle-order until Mohammad Nabi arrived at the crease. The Afghanistan all-rounder took some pressure off Pandey and with 48 needed from 18 balls, smacked Lasith Malinga for a 4 and 6 in the 18th over. Pandey managed two crucial boundaries off Bumrah in the next over and brought the equation down to 17 off 6.
Nabi clobbered Hardik Pandya's third delivery for a six but got out the next ball. SRH needed 7 off 1 and that's when Pandey marmalised one over deep mid-wicket to tie the match. Bumrah was given the responsibility of bowling the super over and the pacer did get hit for a six but only gave away 8 runs as SRH lost both their wickets with still two balls to spare. Hardik then struck Rashid Khan's first delivery for a six and got the runs required in just three balls.
Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings, Final
Of course, the finale! Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga went from zero to hero in a matter of just six balls after his nerve-wracking last over helped Mumbai win their fourth title in the final against defending champions Chennai.
In-form Shane Watson and Jadeja at the crease and with nine runs needed, Malinga came to bowl the final over after having leaked 42 runs in his first three overs. He however redeemed himself in some fashion and gave away only seven runs to lead Mumbai to an emphatic win - their fourth title in seven years. Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur and Tahir picked up early wickets and didn't allow Mumbai's top-order to dictate terms. Mumbai needed some quick runs and Pollard got it for them by slamming three fours and as many sixes in his 25-ball 41*.
In reply, after struggling throughout the season, Watson (59-ball 80) finally came into his own in the all-important clash. Mitchell McClenaghan, Bumrah and Rahul Chahar were tidy but Watson kept batting and took the match right down to the wire. He hardly found any support but kept the attack going, especially against Krunal Pandya and Malinga. The latter was still trusted to bowl the final over and Malinga kept bowling yorker after yorker and brought the curtains down by dismissing Thakur off the final delivery. The legend of Malinga prevailed!