Four 50+ runs margins, two chases with 20+ balls remaining, and four chases with five or more wickets to win. That was the sorry state of the Indian Premier League in the 12 matches before Sunday. No close encounters, making it really boring.
But, oh Boy!! In two days, two matches have produced an adrenaline rush like no other. More than naming those as thrillers, they were one of the most dramatic matches in the history of the IPL. Rinku Singh of Kolkata Knight Riders snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by hitting five sixes in the last over when 29 was required.
And in Match 15, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Lucknow Super Giants were involved in a super dramatic match. Unlike the game between Kolkata and Gujarat Titans, this match didn't see a herculean effort in the last over.
Lucknow had a poor start to their chase and were reeling at 37/3 in pursuit of 213. Our Criclytics win predictor at the end of the powerplay had a 96 % winning chance for Bangalore. Obviously! Who would think a team would chase this big a target after such a dismal start?
The middle-overs mayhem
It all started from the eighth over. Lucknow smashed 17 runs off Harshal Patel and followed it up with another 16-run over against Karn Sharma. From single digits at the end of the eighth over, the win predictor went up to 11 % win for Lucknow. In the three overs between eight to ten, Lucknow smashed 48 runs. Their win percentage raised from six to 17.
In back-to-back overs, Lucknow lost Stoinis and KL Rahul. But there wasn't a massive dip in the win percentage. From 17 %, it came down to 12 in the 12th over.
Hmmm! Our Criclytics knew about Nicholas Pooran’s ability. From there, Pooran just doubled the chance for Lucknow. He started with a 20-run over in the 13th, taking Lucknow's win % to 26, a +14% hike. Every following over until the 16th, there was at least a +10% hike in Lucknow’s win percentage.
In the span of four overs between 13-16, they scored 69 runs without losing a wicket. The win percentage that was at 12 at the end of the 12th over was at 79 at the end of the 16th— all thanks to a 15-ball half-century from Pooran. This was the joint second-fastest half-century that IPL has ever seen.
The pendulum swung again. After conceding double-digit runs in each of the overs from the eighth to the 16th, Siraj bowled a sensational over. He conceded just four runs and picked up the crucial wicket of Pooran. This saw Lucknow's chance dip to 65 % from 79.
Harshal in the 18th and Wayne Parnell in the 19th over conceded nine and ten runs. Before starting the last over, Lucknow required only five runs, which was easily chasable. But they had a 77 % win chance, and that was because of the lower-order batters present at that time.
Interestingly, there was no chance of a tie in the chase till the 13th over. From the 14th over, there was a two % chance of a tie, and it crept every over from there on. At the end of the 19th over, there was a nine % chance of a tie.
The last over hullabaloo
With three wickets in hand and five runs to win, it should have been a walk in the park for Lucknow. After a single off the first ball, Lucknow had a 76 % of chance and 12 % of super-over. With the wicket of Mark Wood on the second ball, Lucknow's chance went down to 60 %.
After a double on the third ball and a single on the fourth, only two results were possible. Either a Lucknow win or a tie. Unadkat's wicket in the penultimate ball had Lucknow's win percentage at 64 and 36 % of a super over. But Lucknow managed to steal a win with a bye off the last ball.
The dramatic moments in the last ten balls
The match would have been over much earlier if not for Ayush Badoni's hit-wicket in the 19th over. With seven runs required, Badoni scooped Parnell for a six. But, he hit the stumps in his bat flow.
Then came the last-ball drama. Harshal was clever enough to try and affect a run-out at the non-striker's end. However, he missed his connection, and Ravi Bishnoi was able to make his ground. Dinesh Karthik fumbled a straightforward collection in the bye, handing Lucknow a win off the last ball.
From RCB, LSG and a tie, the game swung like a pendulum. Only the second match in IPL history, where a team won off the last ball with one wicket in hand.
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