IPL 2021 is set to resume, in the UAE, on September 19. As the teams regroup – with some changes to personnel – after a gap of four months, here’s a look at the memorable moments from the first 29 matches of the tournament.
Samson refuses a single
Chasing 222 against Punjab Kings, Sanju Samson scored 119 scintillating runs but it was the single he did not take that remains the abiding memory of his innings. With Rajasthan Royals needing 13 from the last over, Arshdeep Singh conceded only two singles from the first three balls. Samson hit the fourth ball for a six to make it five required from two balls, and then drilled the penultimate ball towards long-off. Non-striker Chris Morris, no slouch with bat, charged halfway down the pitch before realising Samson wasn’t interested in the run.
That meant Royals needed five off the final ball. Arshdeep bowled it full outside off, almost in the slot but Samson could only slice it into the hands of deep cover.
Jadeja tears apart Harshal
In his first four games in IPL 2021, Harshal Patel had bowled seven overs at the death at an economy rate of 5.85 while picking up nine wickets. Then came the game against Chennai Super Kings. Harshal bowled the 18th over of the innings, conceded only five runs and dismissed Ambati Rayudu. His figures at that stage were 3-0-14-3. Giving him the 20th over was a no-brainer.
Ravindra Jadeja, though, had other plans. Harshal tried offcutters, yorkers and a slower bouncer but nothing came out right as Jadeja stood deep in his crease, cleared the front leg and launched everything over midwicket. The first four balls, including a no-ball, were all hit for sixes. The next produced a brace before Jadeja finished it off with another six and a four, making it the joint-most expensive over (37 runs) in the IPL.
Shaw’s six fours in an over
While Jadeja’s onslaught against Harshal came in the last over of the innings with the batter well set, Prithvi Shaw did something similar to Shivam Mavi in the first over itself.
Kolkata Knight Riders had set Capitals a target of 155. Not a daunting task but Shaw reduced it to a cakewalk just after one over. Mavi’s first ball was a wide down the leg side; each of the next six was dispatched for a four via an array of shots – loft, flick, punch, drive and cut. Shaw didn’t premeditate. All he did was reacted to the ball and hit it either in the gaps or over the infield. He and Dhawan added 132 for the first wicket as Capitals cruised home with seven wickets and 21 balls to spare.
Brar gets Kohli, Maxwell and de Villiers
Halfway into his third IPL season, Harpreet Brar had no wicket to his name. And then, in a single match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he dismissed Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers. All in a span of seven balls. Without conceding a run.
In Brar’s earlier overs, Kohli had hit his first balls for a six and a four. At the start of his third over, Kohli once again stepped out but this time Brar shortened his length and castled him. On the next ball, he beat Maxwell’s outside edge to hit the off stump. de Villiers prevented the hat-trick but with the first ball of his next over, Brar snared him as well, caught at extra cover by KL Rahul. That all but sealed Kings’ victory.
Pollard stuns Chennai Super Kings
Set a target of 219, Mumbai Indians were 81 for 3 in the tenth over when Kieron Pollard came to the crease. The asking rate was already above 13 and soon crossed 15. That’s when Pollard started the boundary-fest. He bludgeoned Jadeja for three sixes in an over and Lungi Ngidi for two before meting out similar treatment to Shardul Thakur.
Still, Mumbai needed 16 from the last over, bowled by Ngidi. With Dhawal Kulkarni at the other end, Pollard decided to face all six deliveries. He refused singles on the first and fourth balls while squeezing out two fours in between. With eight needed from two, Ngidi bowled a juicy full toss that Pollard pulled for six. Then he dug out the final ball towards wide mid-on and sprinted back for the second to seal the match and finish unbeaten on 87 off 34 balls.