The 2021 IPL had to be postponed indefinitely after there were several positive Covid-19 cases across franchises. There is no real substitute for live cricket action but, like last year, we have some Retro Live action for you. And, since it’s still May, it’s all IPL. Here’s what we have.
May 20, 2021
IPL 2008 final – Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai, June 1, 2008
Teams yet to fully figure out the format, or team compositions for that matter, and after 58 matches, this was what we had: the Chennai Super Kings, led by MS Dhoni, up against Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals.
There had been enough in the competition to whet the appetite of the viewers, and for the organisers to see that the IPL was an idea whose time had come. Brendon McCullum set the ball rolling with one of the great T20 innings of all time, and centuries came from stalwarts like Adam Gilchrist, Sanath Jayasuriya, Andrew Symonds and Mike Hussey alongwith a young Shaun Marsh. But stirring performances from Shane Watson and Yusuf Pathan and Graeme Smith and Sohail Tanvir brought the Royals to the final, while the Super Kings found heroes right when they needed them across the tournament. Manpreet Gony and Albie Morkel picked up most of the wickets, and Dhoni and Suresh Raina and Parthiv Patel scored a ton of runs.
How would the big night pan out? Two outstanding strategists, leading two very good teams. The Royals had reached the title round after winning 11 of their 14 matches to finish top of the table, and then beat the Delhi Daredevils in the semi-final, while the Super Kings finished third, with eight wins from 14, and then got past the Kings XI Punjab in the final four. Was it going to be 11 men from Chennai pulling their collective weight, or a couple of star performers from Rajasthan calling the shots?
Your ball-by-ball commentator will be Saurabh Somani
May 22, 2021
IPL 2009 final – Deccan Chargers vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Johannesburg, May 24, 2009
The tournament moved to South Africa because of the Indian general elections, and some teams adapted better to the vastly different conditions than others. As it turned out, the top two teams after the group stage, the Daredevils and the Super Kings, lost their semi-final games to the Deccan Chargers and the Royal Challengers, respectively, to set up the title clash.
Manish Pandey became the first Indian to score an IPL century, while Matthew Hayden, Gilchrist and Raina had yet another season to remember with the bat. Anil Kumble, in case there were doubters, was one of two bowlers – RP Singh the other – to pick up over 20 wickets by the end of it, and Lasith Malinga made his first big impression in the IPL with some significant strikes during the course of the tournament.
The final, in Johannesburg, had two teams that looked like they had all bases covered… top-notch batters, a lot of solidity up and down the order, and a nice mix of bowlers. But it would probably not be as high-scoring a final as the 2008 edition… experience, more than ever in the IPL, would be key.
Your ball-by-ball commentator will be Varun Shetty
May 26, 2021
IPL 2010 final – Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians, Mumbai, April 25, 2010
Two editions, two different champions. The third edition was going to have a different winner for sure, after the Mumbai Indians beat the Royal Challengers, and the Super Kings beat the Chargers in their semi-finals. Who would have known, then, that the two finalists would soon become the winningest teams in the competition?
For Mumbai, who topped the league table, Sachin Tendulkar was in, well, Tendulkaresque run-scoring form, hitting 618 runs at a strike rate of 132.61, while Saurabh Tiwary (419 runs) and Ambati Rayudu (356 runs) were the other big contributors with the bat. The Super Kings had Suresh Raina – again – leading the way with 520 runs, followed by M Vijay (458 runs) and S Badrinath (356 runs).
On the bowling front, the Chargers’ Pragyan Ojha was the top wicket-taker with 21 strikes, while Harbhajan Singh topped the charts for Mumbai with 17 wickets. Kieron Pollard, Zaheer Khan and Malinga had 15 each. For the Super Kings, Muttiah Muralitharan had 15, with R Ashwin, Doug Bollinger and Shadab Jakati among the best in the tournament too.
The Super Kings, once more, seemed to be working as a team. Would that be enough for them to get past the first-time finalists?
Your ball-by-ball commentator will be Deivarayan Muthu
May 29, 2021
IPL 2012 final – Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai, May 27, 2012
The Super Kings had won the IPL in 2010, and then in 2011 as well, and were in line for a hat-trick when they came up against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2012 final, at home at the MA Chidambaram Stadium at that.
The Knight Riders, not to forget, had never reached the title round before. That said, under Gautam Gambhir, they had finished second on the nine-team (the Pune Warriors India had come in) table, only behind the Daredevils, with ten wins from 16 games. Two more than the Super Kings’ eight.
As had become a bit of a norm, Raina was the Super Kings’ leading run-scorer, while Gambhir led the way for his team with one big innings after another. But the bigger deal for the Knight Riders, arguably, was the emergence of Sunil Narine – he had picked up 24 wickets in 14 games before the final and, on the whole, was unplayable.
Knowing how to win, as many top athletes will tell you, counts for a lot in a final face-off. On that front, the Super Kings were the bosses. The hat-trick of wins seemed theirs for the taking. Unless beginners’ luck did the trick for the Knight Riders.
Your ball-by-ball commentator will be Sreshth Shah