The 10 most memorable moments from the first decade of the IPL.
10. VALTHATY, THE SHOOTING STAR
120* off 63, 19 fours, two sixes
Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, April 13, 2011, IPL 4
Paul Valthaty’s career was the IPL in microcosm: a blindingly bright and tantalisingly short burst of action. It had been a long road for him – as far back as 2002 he was in the India under 19 squad – but how he seized his moment, when it finally came. He shot from obscurity with a spectacular 120*, as he chased down CSK’s 188 almost by himself – the next highest score was 21 – and a superb all-round display the game after, taking 4-29 before smashing 75 off 47 to help KXIP ace another chase. But after that? Nothing. Or at least very little. By the middle of the next season, he would be dropped for good, never to be heard of again, having left an unforgettable mark on the tournament and vanished into the night.
9. PACE IS PACE YAAR
On IPL debut, at Eden Gardens, the ground where he’d bowled Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar with successive yorkers a decade earlier as Pakistan won a classic Test match, the Rawalpindi Express gave a further exhibition of his frightening abilities. Not for Shoaib – this time at least – were the subtleties of slower balls; pure pace accounted for every member of Daredevil’s top four, Sehwag, Gambhir and de Villiers among them, in a ferocious new ball spell, as KKR clinically defended a small total. It is a shame that now the performance serves as an example of the value Pakistani players could bring to the tournament, were they allowed to participate.
In a tournament of barmy finishes, this was one of the barmiest. RCB needed 81 off six at the start of a rain-shortened chase, and it came right down to the wire. Twelve off four were required, which became four off two thanks to a brace of Kohli boundaries, and then seemingly 4 off one as the right-hander holed out to Sunrisers captain David Warner at long-off. But, backpedalling as he celebrated, the pugnacious Australian inadvertently stepped on the boundary rope. A wicket became a six, and Kohli and RCB had won a thriller.
7. IN ADDED TIME
6 off 1 ball, 1 six
Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals, May 25, 2014, IPL 7
One for the mathematicians. Thanks to the miracles of net run rate, Mumbai Indians needed to surpass Rajasthan Royals’ 189 within 14.3 overs to qualify for the playoffs, and push Royals down into fifth place. Corey Anderson’s 95 off 44 got them close, but when Ambati Rayudu was run out going for a match-winning second, it seemed all over. But was it? Confusion reigned, as Mumbai’s boffins put their heads together and calculated that the extra runs from a boundary would push the run rate up just enough to seal the deal. Aditya Tare came in to face his first ball, and duly smashed a James Faulkner full toss over square leg for six, breaking Royals hearts.
6. DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST (AND LAST) TIME
Perhaps the tournament’s most heart-warming moment. Adam Gilchrist – walker, smiler, good bloke – was playing his last ever game of professional cricket, and, with the match in the bag, handed the gauntlets to Praveen Kumar and decided to give himself a bowl. With his first ball in the format – offies if you were wondering – he coaxed Harbhajan Singh into a slog, and the ball nestled in the hands of long on, sealing the game for his team. Cue jubilant, unfettered celebrations. With an economy and average of zero, and a strike rate of one, Adam Gilchrist has unquestionably the best record of any bowler. We wouldn’t wish him anything less.
5. GAYLE’S RECORD-BREAKER
175* off 66, 13 fours, 17 sixes
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Pune Warriors, April 23, 2013, IPL 6
Forget the Test triples and the World Cup double – this is the Universe Boss’s defining moment. Gayle can justifiably claim to be the greatest batsman the shortest form has seen: he is its record runscorer and century-maker, and this game against Pune Warriors saw him at his most destructive. Halfway through the innings 200 didn’t seem implausible. He had to settle for 25 runs short, and a slew of records: the format’s highest individual and team score, the most sixes in a T20 innings, and professional cricket’s fastest hundred.
Indian and Australian cricketers don’t always get on, but when they can co-operate it can be deadly. And nothing beats Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, 171 international hundreds between them, opening for Mumbai Indians. To complete the dream, the sixth over of this match was bowled by the man with 1,347 international wickets, Muttiah Muralitharan. When Sachin unveiled that straight drive, we were truly in heaven.
3. THIRD TIMES THE CHARM
A true comedy of errors. We’ll do our best to describe, but really the only way is to watch it. In the final over of Sunrisers’ innings, Amit Mishra’s wild slog missed a James Faulkner slower ball by about a pitch width, and went through to Royals keeper Sanju Samson. Mishra tried to steal a bye, but was left stranded by his unresponsive partner Irfan Pathan. Then it got weird. The leg-spinner seemed to decide now was a good time to go on a leisurely stroll, as Faulkner and Samson enjoyed a bit of fielding practice, throwing it back and forth to each other on the bounce, unsuccessful twice in their attempts to nail direct hits. Finally, the gloveman managed to find the target, just as Mishra’s wander was about to take him back to safety. Nonplussed he found himself with his foot hovering in the air over the crease as the timber was demolished.
All very silly
2. MCCULLUM’S CURTAIN RAISER
158* off 73 balls, 10 fours, 13 sixes
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders, April 18, 2008, IPL 1
When it began, the IPL brought forth many questions. Was this the beginning of the end of the supremacy of international cricket? What would happen to our beloved ODIs? And why had Cameron White been bought for more money than Shane Warne? Therefore as Brendon McCullum prepared to face up to the first ball of the season, we all waited with bated breath for what would follow. And if BMac’s extraordinary first effort – 158 off 73 balls, 10 fours, 13 sixes, then the record for the format’s highest score – didn’t exactly answer any of these questions, (especially not about White, whose sole over went for 24) it did tell us one thing: wherever we were going, it would be one hell of a journey to get there.
1. CLASH OF THE TITANS
47 off 17 balls, 5 fours, 3 sixes
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Deccan Chargers, May 6, 2012, IPL 5
The IPL at its very best: two countrymen, the best batsman and best bowler in the world, at the top of their games, facing off in a high-stakes contest. The match situation saw AB’s RCB needing 39 off three overs, a tough ask, especially since two would be bowled by Dale Steyn. Thanks to AB, Dale would just bowl the one over. He took Steyn, bowling with all of his 90mph fury, apart. Bouncers were hooked, slower balls dismissed, yorkers smashed over extra cover, and length balls scooped over fine leg. Then, to show he could be calm as well as incandescent, he dropped the last ball of the over for a strike-retaining single. Fourteen more runs flowed from his bat off the first three balls of the 19th, and the game was done with seven balls to spare. The look on Steyn’s face, as anger turned into amazement, proved that sometimes all you can do is applaud.