IPL 2020 has moved to the play-offs stage. Mumbai Indians will face Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1 for a place in the final. Royal Challengers Bangalore will face Sunrisers Hyderabad in Eliminator. The winner of Eliminator will take on losing team of Qualifier 1 in Qualifier 2 for a place in the final.
Hence, the first 2 teams in the points table get two chances to qualify for the final. Hence, DC and MI are at an advantage because even if they lose Qualifier 1, they get another chance to make it to the title round.
The play-offs has provided few excellent nail-biting thrillers in the history of IPL. Here are those matches.
1) 2017 IPL final: RPS vs MI
Rising Pune Supergiant were led by Steve Smith, and they had a great run going into the tournament final. They defeated Mumbai Indians in both the league games, and the Qualifier 1 to move into the final. Mumbai defeated KKR in Qualifier 2 to set up a title round with RPS.
Mumbai chose to bat first, and could manage just 129/8, with Krunal Pandya top-scoring with 47. It was set to be RPS match, but Mumbai fielded and bowled brilliantly to keep themselves in the game till the last over. It came down to RPS needing 11 runs off the last over, with Smith batting on 51.
Manoj Tiwary struck a four off the first ball of the last over to bring down the equation to 7 runs off 5 balls. But RPS lost their cool, with both Smith, Tiwary dismissed going for glory shots. It came down to 4 runs needed off the last ball, but RPS could manage just 2 runs, while Washington Sundar was run-out going for the run to tie the final. Mumbai won by just a run.
2) 2019 IPL final: MI beat CSK by 1 run
CSK were the defending champions and looked good to go all the way. But MI have had a reputation of beating CSK in finals. They have had beaten CSK twice before in the finals. MI again won the toss in a final and chose to bat first. Mumbai stuttered to 149/8, with Kieron Pollard providing a late flourish with 41 not out. Shane Watson led the lone battle for CSK in the title round, anchoring the chase, but got little support from the other end.
It boiled down to 9 runs off the last over from Lasith Malinga, who bowled perfect yorkers to restrict CSK to just 4 runs off the first 3 balls. On the fourth ball, Watson made a desperate bid to get two runs, but was run-out for 80.
It came down to 4 runs off 2 balls. Shardul Thakur then took 2 runs to make it 2 runs required off 1 ball. But Malinga bowled a perfect slow ball to dismiss Thakur LBW and win the final by just a run. Mumbai Indians squad then lifted Malinga on their shoulders to win a lost match, and a fourth title.
3) Deccan Chargers beat RCB in IPL 2009 final
Deccan Chargers were last in the inaugural edition of IPL. But they came back strongly in the next edition in 2009 under the leadership of Adam Gilchrist. They set up a title clash with RCB, led by Anil Kumble. DC could manage just 143/6 in the final, with Herschelle Gibbs top-scoring with 53. Kumble took 4/16 for RCB. But unfortunately, RCB could not pull off the chase as they fell short by just 6 runs. RCB had to score 12 runs off the last over, but RP Singh strangled Robin Uthappa, who could manage just 3 runs off the bat of the last 5 balls.
4) IPL 2012 final: KKR vs CSK
CSK were into their third straight final, and were favorites to win another title. They were even more secure of a win after piling up 190/3 in their 20 overs. But CSK were not prepared for an unknown keeper-batsman in Manvinder Bisla, who played the most important innings of his life, top-scoring for KKR with 48-ball 89 with 8 fours and 5 sixes to put KKR on the path to victory. CSK panicked in the death overs, with Dwayne Bravo conceding two fours in the last over.
5) 2008 IPL final: CSK vs RR
This was the inaugural IPL and it lived up to its billing, with a nail-biting final. CSK posted 163/5, with Suresh Raina top-scoring with 43, and were probably few runs short. Rajasthan Royals, led by Shane Warne, were a young team, and had punched above their waist in the tournament. Although CSK kept making inroads in Royals innings, they got stuck into Yusuf Pathan, who made 56 runs to put his team into the victory path. Sohail Tanvir scored the winning runs off the last ball to spark wild celebration in the camp.
Cover Credits: CircleofCricket