Manish Pandey and Shane Watson, the stars as we take a look at the top 5 best and most memorable performance in IPL final.
Cricket is essentially a game of two wheels. One, when you play it with the bat or ball in your grasp, and the other is when you perform with your mind. When it comes to crucial games, the latter inevitably comes into the frame, and the final of an IPL season is one occasion, which surely falls into that category.
The Indian Premier League is into its 13th edition, but the intensity that we witness in a final is unmatched. Almost sixty days of Cricket, and after going past several other players to walk between the line of fireworks on the final day, the 22 players want nothing but to tee off on the D-day.
Hence, when their want becomes a reality, the process in the middle is most-likely to be remembered. Their knocks are frequently telecasted, and the bowling spells go on to feature in the promos next season. But most importantly, and more often than not, their respective teams would have become champions on that day.
On that note, in this article, we take a look at the top 5 most memorable player of the match performances in the final of an IPL season.
#5: Krunal Pandya || Mumbai Indians || 2017
Score: 47(38) || Fours: 3 || Sixes: 2 || SR: 123.7
Spell: 4-0-31-0 || Dots: 8
Now, imagine this. A Maharashtrian derby final to determine the IPL winners, and your team gets thumped by your rivals in the first few overs. At 65-5, with just 54 balls to go, Mumbai Indians were in deep trouble. The not-so established bowlers of the opposition were buzzing, and you are in the crease, with the likes of Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard looking on with dreary eyes from the dug-out.
The set-up could not have been spicier to announce your class to the fraternity. Krunal Pandya wasted no time in reading in the situation, as he got busy in collecting milking singles and doubles. Not as quick as you would like, but quite enough to douse the fire that his team was in.
WIth calculative risks, he took MI to respectable 129 on a slow pitch and made the sequence interesting for the second innings. With the ball in hand, Krunal kept the run flow in check, and applied pressure on the opposition with timely dots. Although he did not pick any wickets, he made sure RPS never ran with the chase. MI won the game, and the performance earned Krunal the ‘Player of the Match’ award.
#4: Manvinder Bisla || Kolkata Knight Riders || 2012
Score: 89 (48) || Fours: 8 || Sixes: 5 || SR: 185.4
A strong CSK squad playing on their home turf, and with already 190 runs in their bank, the going would have only been difficult for KKR. They needed something special to happen, and exactly this befell that night with an uncapped Manvinder Bisla special.
With the experienced Jack Kallis in the ranks, Manvinder Bisla played an aggressive game of cricket. This allowed Kallis to hold one end up perfectly for KKR. Bisla went all guns blazing as he dismantled CSK’s strong bowling. He combined elevation with gaps, as his knock came up with eight fours and five sixes.
Bisla never felt the pressure of getting out, and for CSK, they did not seem to have a plan for the uncapped player. Although he got out in the 15th over, Bisla had done just enough for the others to close the game. The fact that he was not expected to deliver this performance makes this knock very special and memorable.
#3: Ben Cutting || Sunrisers Hyderabad || 2016
Runs: 39 (15) || 4s: 3 || 6s: 4 || SR: 260
Spell: 4-0-35-2 || Dots: 7
For the first time ever, the winds were strong in favor of RCB to register their maiden title if not for the brutal performance of Ben Cutting on that fateful night in Bengaluru. 4 years since, it still seems as though RCB are yet to come out of the ‘Cutting-jolt’.
Batting first, SRH needed a strong finish to end their innings given both Warner and Yuvi were already in the hut. Having taken their wickets, RCB appeared relaxed. It is here that they lost the game. In came Ben Cutting, and after 15 balls that touched his bat, the match turned on its head.
The Aussie all-rounder slapped four sixers, and was particularly pit-less even against his fellow countrymen, Shane Watson. After being 147-4 in 16 overs, Cutting’s cameo of 39 runs from 15 balls helped SRH post a competitive target of 209.
With the ball in hand- despite the carnage around, Cutting was able to bowl to his plans. In the process, he removed the dangerous Chris Gayle and knocked off KL Rahul’s stumps hurriedly. He ended with the figures of 2/35 as he helped SRH land the maiden and only IPL title.
#2: Manish Pandey || Kolkata Knight Riders || 2014
Runs: 94 (50) || 4s: 7 || 6s: 6 || SR: 188
Going by what KXIP had done that season, imagining them lifting the IPL trophy was not that difficult. Also, given what they did in the first innings, the reality also appeared close enough. But, on his home turf, the Karnataka born Manish Pandey had different ideas.
In his slightly unorthodox way, Manish concluded from the very start that taking the game close was the only way for KKR to have a chance in the game. Hence, he did not allow any of the bad balls to stay within the ropes and made sure the pressure remained outside too.
In the process of chasing 200, Manish Pandey made a handsome 94(50) that included 7 fours and 6 maximums. Although he couldn’t close the game, Manish had done enough to win the game for his side and also take up the No.2 spot on this list.
#1: Shane Watson || Chennai Super Kings || 2018
Runs: 117 (57) || 4S: 11 || 6s: 8 || SR: 205.3
Making a comeback after a gap of two years, CSK needed something inspirational on the D-day. They were already facing criticism of being an ‘old-age squad. While the criticism watered down with good performances in the group stage, the job still had to be done on the final day.
Ninety-five minutes into the final game, and CSK might have looked up at the scoreboard, and then at the SRH bowling with a lumped throat. But, under the inspiration of MS Dhoni, that was not the case though for the retired Australian all-rounder, Shane Watson.
Chasing a target of 179, Watson ensured that it was a one-man show. Despite a slow start, Watto just attacked the bowlers and never seemed to have a different plan. He smacked eleven boundaries and smoked eight sixers, as his knock of 117* helped CSK cross the line comfortably.
All this he did despite being rusty and out of the experience of not playing international cricket. Hence, we feel that this knock was special. While giving it number 1 is perceptive, for us it deserves to rank 1 on the list of best and most memorable performance in an IPL final.
So, that’s the top 5 most memorable player of the match performances in the final match of an IPL season. While the above mentioned are the most memorable, Rohit Sharma in 2015, Kieron Pollard in 2013, Jasprit Bumrah in 2019, Murali Vijay in 2011, and Suresh Raina in 2011 were equally memorable too.
Thanks for reading! Which performance did you enjoy the most from this list? Please, let’s know in the comments.
Nesara is an Author at AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics. He is an Engineer by profession. Watching Cricket, Football & Movies is one of his topmost priorities within the day.