PUNE: Indian Premier League (IPL) is a byword for pulsating encounters on the field, razzmatazz and breezy entertainment. A host of teams compete fiercely with each other for two months to lift the coveted trophy. As we gear up for the 2022 final, let’s look at the three IPL finals which were unmitigated heart-stoppers.
2008: The final of the inaugural season of the IPL threw up a last-ball cliffhanger in which Rajasthan Royals, led by the charismatic captain Shane Warne, pipped Chennai Super Kings by three runs.
Rajasthan were the most consistent team of the tournament and had dominated the league stage as well by finishing at the top of the points table.
It was fitting that Sohail Tanvir, who was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament, struck the winning runs on the last ball as Rajasthan needed only one run.
Chasing 164, they were in a spot of bother at 42-3 but Yusuf Pathan, who was in blazing form throughout the tournament, stepped up to the plate and cracked a scintillating 39-ball 56 along with stitching a crucial 65-run alliance with Shane Watson.
In the end, Warne and Tanvir held their nerves and clinched a thrilling nail-biter.
2017: Mumbai Indians looked down in the dumps at 92-7 in 17 overs after opting to bat against now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant but the all-rounder Krunal Pandya had different plans. First, he cracked 37 runs in the last three overs to guide his team to a respectable 129-8 in 20 overs.
It was still a subpar score, the lowest by a team in the IPL final batting first, but at least it had given Mumbai a glimmer of hope to put up a fight.
While the wickets were falling like ninepins from the other hand, he held one end resolutely and his first 23 runs came off 27 balls. He teed off in the last three overs and smacked 24 runs off just 11 balls. Overall, he made 47 off 38 balls.
Pune were 71-1 at one stage and were galloping towards the target. The match looked done and dusted. However, left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson and Jasprit Bumrah got into the groove and scripted a stunning comeback. They chalked up three and two wickets respectively and suddenly Pune was left tottering.
Lasith Malinga and Karn Sharma pitched in marvellously economical spells and strangled opposition batsmen. Pune needed 12 runs in the last over to seal the win but ended up losing the match by 1 run.
2019: Two years after their jaw-dropping one-run victory in the IPL 2017 final, Mumbai Indians once again prevailed by one run in the nerve-jangling final; this time against Chennai Super Kings.
Batting first, all the top-order Mumbai batsmen got breezy starts but no one kicked on and produced a big innings. But the all-rounder Kieron Pollard made up for it by running amok in the death overs and walloped 41 runs off just 25 balls to lift his team to 149-8 in 20 overs.
Chennai were going great guns at 70-1 in 9 overs but leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and Bumrah nipped out Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu in quick succession to derail their innings. Shane Watson batted with gusto and kept Chennai in the hunt but his run-out in the last over proved catastrophic as Mumbai squeaked to a one-run victory.