As the ninth edition of the IPL reaches its conclusion in Bangalore on Sunday, May 29, the prospect of a mouth-watering final lies in wait.
IPL finals through the years have covered the entire spectrum – close wins, improbable chases, last-ball finishes, the whole nine yards.
There have been some thrilling contests over the previous eight editions, and we take a look at each of them here.
#1 Rajasthan Royals def. Chennai Super Kings by 3 wickets, 1 June 2008
The first ever IPL final could not have been a better advertisement for the tournament. With the Rajasthan Royals making the final on the smallest budget of the tournament and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings having won their semi-final by nine wickets, it was a clash for the ages. Put in to bat by Shane Warne, the Super Kings put up a total of 163, with Suresh Raina top scoring with 43.
Yusuf Pathan dominated proceedings, collecting three wickets and recording a half-century in the run chase. At eight runs needed from the final over, and with Warne and Sohail Tanvir out in the middle, it still could have gone either way. But Tanvir held his nerve to hit the winning run off the last ball of the tournament bowled by Lakshmipathy Balaji.
#2 Deccan Chargers def. Royal Challengers Bangalore by 6 runs, 24 May 2009
With IPL 2009 being shifted to South Africa on account of general elections being conducted in India, Johannesburg was the venue for the second final of cricket’s most glamorous tournament. Put in by opposing captain Anil Kumble, the Deccan Chargers piled up 143. Herschelle Gibbs top scored with 53, while Andrew Symonds (33) and Rohit Sharma (24) played their supporting roles to perfection.
Although Kumble had bowling figures of 4/16 in the first innings, he could do little to stimulate the Royal Challengers’ batting endeavours. Roelof van der Merwe was their top scorer with 32, while only three other batsmen reached double figures in a run chase that the Royal Challengers lost by six runs.
#3 Chennai Super Kings def. Mumbai Indians by 22 runs, 25 April 2010
The IPL was back in India for the 2010 edition, and this time the status of the Super Kings as one of the tournament’s finest and most consistent teams was confirmed with the crown. At the Dr. DY Patil Sports Academy in Mumbai, everything went the Super Kings’ way. Raina once again top scored with an undefeated 57 in a first innings total of 168.
Sachin Tendulkar (48) and Abhishek Nayar (27) offered some resistance, but with 55 runs needed from the final three overs, the winner of the game was not in much doubt. Kieron Pollard attempted a late surge with his 27 runs off 10 balls, but Mumbai had simply left themselves too much to do. The Supers Kings won their first of two IPL titles to date.
#4 Chennai Super Kings def. Royal Challengers Bangalore by 58 runs, 28 May 2011
If the Super Kings’ first IPL crown was comfortable, the second was thoroughly emphatic. Batting first after winning the toss, openers Michael Hussey (63) and Murali Vijay (95) rendered all that followed them entirely irrelevant. When the first wicket fell towards the end of the fifteenth over, the score was already 159. Dhoni (22 off 13 balls) gave them another late shot in the arm, but despite losing a few wickets late on, the target for the Royal Challengers was set at an imposing 206.
They were never really in it. After Chris Gayle fell early for a duck, Virat Kohli (35) and Saurabh Tiwary (42 not out) gave the innings some substance. Even Zaheer Khan (21) chipped in late on, although Ravichandran Ashwin’s 3/16 meant the second innings was almost a formality as the Royal Challengers could only manage 147. It was the Super Kings’ second consecutive title.
#5 Kolkata Knight Riders def. Chennai Super Kings by 5 wickets, 27 May 2012
The Super Kings’ third final on the bounce looked to be going much the same way as the previous ones. After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Hussey put up another half-century. Raina (73) was the Super Kings’ top scorer in a final for the third time and Murali Vijay scored 42 as the Super Kings raced to 190-3 from their 20 overs.
But this is where the script was flipped. Manvinder Bisla, a wicketkeeper from Haryana, sought out South African legend Jacques Kallis for this imposing run chase. Together, they took the bowling apart. Only Ben Hilfenhaus (4-0-25-2) was spared the bloodshed as Bisla scored 89 with eight fours and five sixes. Kallis finished with 69, even as Shakib Al Hasan (11) was the only other batsman to reach double figures. In the end, the Knight Riders made it home with five wickets and two balls to spare for their first IPl title.
#6 Mumbai Indians def. Chennai Super Kings by 23 runs, 26 May 2013
A fourth final in four years was a tremendous feat on the part of the Super Kings, but like the previous year’s final, this too ended in heartbreak. Primarily supported by Ambati Rayudu (37 off 36 balls), Pollard blasted his way to 60 runs off 32 balls. Cameos from Dinesh Karthik (21) and Harbhajan Singh (14) were handy, but Mumbai, at 52-4 half-way through the tenth over, had been hamstrung by a top order collapse. A total of 148 would have to suffice.
But the Mumbai bowling was up to the task. Wickets were shared around as no batsman apart from one could cross or even match Vijay’s 18 runs (there were four ducks in the Super Kings’ innings). Dhoni (63 not out off 45 balls) played a defiant lone hand but it wasn’t enough. Mumbai won, and Tendulkar could add yet another trophy to his long list of honours.
#7 Kolkata Knight Riders def. Kings XI Punjab by 3 wickets, 1 June 2014
It was a tournament dominated by Kings XI Punjab’s fiery batting, but it was ironic that they lost the final despite it. It was raining sixes in Bangalore that evening as the Kings XI’s staggering total of 199 was dominated by Wriddhiman Saha’s 55-ball 115 and Manan Vohra’s 67. Glenn Maxwell, meanwhile, had been dismissed for zero.
It was all fairly routine stuff for Kings XI, but they simply did not know what hit them in the second innings. Manish Pandey found some support from Gautam Gambhir (23) and Pathan (36), but he essentially waged war on the Kings XI by himself. His astonishing 94 came off 50 balls with seven fours and six sixes. By the time he was caught by George Bailey, his work was done. With three overs left, the Knight Riders needed 21 runs. Piyush Chawla (13 off 5) promptly took them home.
#8 Mumbai Indians def. Chennai Super Kings by 41 runs, 24 May 2015
Eden Gardens was the scene of Rohit’s historic 264 against Sri Lanka, and it was to be the scene of his second IPl triumph as well. Mumbai, batting first, put on a far better show than in the 2013 final. Lendl Simmons top scored with 68, while there was also a fifty for Rohit. Mumbai finished with 202 from their 20 overs. It was a batting display of far greater authority.
Dwayne Smith led the charge for the Super Kings, scoring 57 off 48 balls before being trapped in front by Harbhajan. There was a quick-fire 28 from Raina, but it speaks volumes that seamer Mohit Sharma was the third top scorer with 21. Mitchell McClenaghan helped himself to three wickets, while Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan both picked up two scalps in a superbly controlled bowling performance. The Super Kings could only manage 161, and Mumabi claimed their second title in three years.