IPL 2021: Top five games of curtailed season

The Indian Premier League is the best T-20 league in the world due to the quality of games. The most lucrative cricket league never fails to come up with nail-biting games with some brilliant individual performances. While IPL 2021 may have been indefinitely suspended, it doesn’t change the fact that it gave us some amazing matches with stellar performances.

The points table at the end of three weeks of IPL 2021 may suggest that it was a one-sided tournament until now. However, the margins of some wins or defeats have been very narrow, while some jaw-dropping performances made difficult wins look easy. Here are our top five games of IPL 2021 until now.

Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings, Match 27

What can only be termed as the El Classico of the IPL, the much-awaited match was nothing less than exciting. Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings battled out at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi just before IPL 2021 came to an abrupt halt.

The match started with CSK losing the toss and being put to bat by MI. The team had a wobbly start as their opener Rituraj Gaikwad was dismissed in the first over, but their new team member, Moeen Ali along with Faf du Plessis scored runs at a great pace to set up the platform for a big total. Despite a mini-collapse in the middle order, Ambati Rayudu’s incredible knock of 72 runs in 27 balls helped CSK to post a giant score of 218.

Mumbai Indians managed to pull off their record chase to beat Chennai Super Kings
Mumbai Indians managed to pull off their record chase to beat Chennai Super Kings.

A pretty good total, which MI started chasing well, scoring almost 60 runs without losing any wickets in the powerplay. CSK did halt this progress by taking three quick wickets. It did look like the game was in the bag for CSK as the asking rate was over the roof.

However, Kieron Pollard had different plans. The West Indies all-rounder started the onslaught from the 12th over by hitting three sixes. MI looked pretty much like they were done with the game, but Pollard’s fearless hitting between middle overs brought them back in the game. CSK did give him a lifeline, but Pollard eventually got his team over the line in what was Mumbai’s biggest chase in IPL history. He managed to score 87 runs in just 34 deliveries to help MI script a memorable win.

Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Delhi Capitals, Match 20

While 2020 was the season of super overs, this year saw only one very thrilling match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals that needed super over to decide the winner.

SRH has been going through a rough patch in IPL 2021, and this match was no different. DC’s top order fired with Prithvi Shaw scoring 53 and stitching a good opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan. Skipper Rishabh Pant made 37 runs, while Australian batsman Steve Smith also scored 34 runs at a decent strike rate of 136.

Delhi Capitals had to work hard against Sunrisers Hyderabad to clinch victory in Super over
Delhi Capitals had to work hard against Sunrisers Hyderabad to clinch victory in Super over.

Delhi’s bowlers also did a good job restricting SRH as Axar Patel used good variations for bowling, denting the middle order by taking two wickets in one over. He was supported by Avesh Khan. Kane Williamson was the lone man standing for SRH as he scored 66 runs in 51 balls. Apart from Williamson, Jonny Bairstow played a good hand in the chase. However, the middle order provided no support to Williamson. Late exploits from Jagadeesha Suchith made sure that SRH could take the game to super over.

An exciting encounter had a low-scoring super over. SRH managed only eight runs with David Warner running one run short, so the target for Delhi Capitals was eight. Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan had to grind hard to chase down this total as they won the game in the last ball of the super over. A game of fine margins, but plenty of drama for fans.

Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings, Match 4

None of the first round of games in IPL 2021 were as thrilling as the clash between Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings at Wankhede Stadium. While batting first, Punjab posted a huge score of 221 runs. The ever-reliable KL Rahul scored 91 runs, while Deepak Hooda scored 64 runs in 28 deliveries to help Punjab to start IPL 2021 strongly.  

Royals began their innings with a huge disappointment, as their all-rounder superstar Ben Stokes was dismissed for a duck by Mohammed Shami. Along with him, Manan Vohra too was sent back to the pavilion when RR had just 25 runs on the scoreboard.

Punjab Kings managed to hold their nerves to beat Rajasthan Royals in high scoring thriller
Punjab Kings managed to hold their nerves to beat Rajasthan Royals in a high-scoring thriller.

On his IPL captaincy debut, Sanju Samson came out to bat and stole the show by making 119 off 63 balls. From nowhere, Samson had taken Royals to the cusp of an unlikely win. However, his efforts went in vain when Arshdeep Singh managed to dismiss him in the final ball of the innings when Royals needed five runs from one ball. It was a painful defeat for the Royals, but tremendous entertainment for fans.

Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Match 19

This was probably one of the most exciting matches of the season, well at least for Chennai Super Kings. The yellow army completely dominated Kohli’s men at Wankhede.

After winning the toss, CSK batted first. The former IPL champions started brightly as Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis played some majestic strokes to score 51 runs in the powerplay. Suresh Raina accelerated the game, but then Harshal Patel took important wickets to halt CSK’s momentum.

Ravindra Jadeja single handedly helped Chennai Super Kings to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore
Ravindra Jadeja single-handedly helped Chennai Super Kings to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Just when it looked like CSK will post an under-par total, Ravindra Jadeja came up with one of the best innings in IPL history. The southpaw scored 62 runs in 28 balls. The most astonishing aspect of Jadeja’s innings was that he scored 37 runs in the final over of the innings against Harshal Patel. Jadeja hammered five sixes and one boundary in the final over to power CSK to a match-winning score of 191.

RCB lost the momentum after the mind-blowing final over from Jadeja. They never recovered to put up a fight against CSK. Even though they got a good start to the chase, Jadeja was also their nemesis with the ball. He managed a runout and took key wickets of AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell to script a big win for CSK.

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals, Match 16

The season was not an ideal one for Rajasthan Royals. They have endured horrible luck with injuries as Jofra Archer missed all games, while Ben Stokes returned to England after suffering an injury in the first game. An unfortunate season with inconsistent players in the squad was summed up well during the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

After winning the toss at Wankhede, Kohli decided to bowl. RCB bowlers jolted Rajasthan Royals in the powerplay overs. A terrific opening spell from Mohammed Siraj and Kyle Jamieson made sure that David Miller, Jos Buttler, and Manan Vohra were back in the hut before the end of the powerplay.

Royal Challengers Bangalore delivered clinical display against Rajasthan Royals
Royal Challengers Bangalore delivered clinical display against Rajasthan Royals.

Sanju Samson played few quality shots, but he once again gifted his wicket due to poor shot selection. After his departure, Shivam Dube and Riyan Parag stitched a half-century stand. Some rearguard action helped Rajasthan to post a total of 170.

RCB came up with a perfect chase as Devdutt Padikkal notched up his maiden IPL century in the 17th century. Meanwhile, Virat Kohli provided ideal support from the other end by scoring a half-century. RCB cruised to a comfortable ten-wicket victory, the biggest margin for victory while chasing in IPL 2021.

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