Cricket, being a team game, requires collective efforts and it’s unfair to pin hopes on a player to single-handedly pull off something miraculous. Quite often things don’t pan out as per plan or in other words, brilliant performances don’t replicate into the desired results.
The Indian Premier League has thrown up several such instances when a stupendous show, either with the bat or with the ball, failed to shoulder a team to victory. However, even after the team’s defeat, the player’s efforts are deservingly awarded and recognised appropriately.
We took a look some of the scintillating knocks from the erstwhile editions of the IPL, which couldn’t end up as a part of the winning team, but are etched poignantly in the memories.
#5 Kieron Pollard – 78 (64) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2014
When Kieron Pollard is plying his trade in the cricketing arena, a slight moment of complacency can turn fatal for any opposition team. In the clash between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, the man from Trinidad & Tobago took the onus upon himself to get Mumbai Indians over the finishing line.
Hyderabad, courtesy to a blistering half-century by David Warner, presented Mumbai Indians with a daunting target of 172 runs. It was imperative for Mumbai to get off to a healthy start, but instead they lost wickets in heaps during the power-play with not many runs on the board.
With the required rate above 10 after the first six overs, Pollard started taking the Hyderabad bowlers to the cleaners. He brought up his fifty in 37 balls and muscled another 28 runs in the next nine balls. The first ball of the 20th over saw Irfan Pathan rattle Pollard’s stumps, which demolished Mumbai’s chances of a win in the game.
Also Read: Top 5 IPL hundreds in a losing cause
#4 Harbhajan Singh – 64 (24) vs Kings XI Punjab, 2015
Harbhajan Singh is renowned for his reckless and swashbuckling brand of cricket and has scared the hell out of several oppositions with his big-hitting prowess. At the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, things panned out similarly in an encounter between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab.
After Punjab racked up 177 runs, Mumbai hustled and bustled to 59/6 in the 14th over, with the remaining six overs literally being a formality before Punjab registered a win. However, the man from Jalandhar was far from bowing down as he decided to have a crack at the target.
He got Mumbai ever so close to close with the fastest fifty by a Mumbai Indians’ batsman in 19 deliveries, which was garnished with six colossal blows over the ropes. Mumbai eventually lost the game but not before Harbhajan gave his home crowd something to cheer for.
#3 Suresh Raina – 87 (25) vs Kings XI Punjab, 2014
It was the Qualifier 2 of the 2014 season of the Indian Premier League and both teams strained every sinew to outclass each other. CSK was set a target of 226 runs, which was intimidating, but not out of reach, especially with the firepower of Chennai’s batting.
Francois du Plessis’ dismissal brought in Suresh Raina after which it was a one-way traffic in favour of the Super Kings. The next six overs had entertainment galore as Raina peppered the boundary to put the Super Kings on the driver’s seat with 100 runs in the power-play.
In an innings that spanned 37 balls, half of them were boundaries (12 fours and 6 sixes) - a testament to his audacious batting. It required a ballistic throw from George Bailey to get rid of the Indian batsman and the fact that the Super Kings never recovered from that dismissal made things worse as they fell short by 24 runs.
#2 Chris Morris – 82 (32) vs Gujarat Lions, 2016
Chris Morris’s big hitting capability was an open secret, but it’s another facet of his game- temperament- that came under the limelight. In the cliffhanger between Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Morris shouldered the hosts to the threshold of victory, only to run out of steam in the final over.
Chasing 173, Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni curbed the Daredevils’ batsmen through some probing line and length. When Morris took center-stage, Delhi required a mammoth 116 runs from 56 balls with six wickets in the kitty.
While JP Duminy was assumed to be the danger-man, Morris came from behind and murdered the bowlers with expertise by clobbering eight maximums in an innings, composed of 32 deliveries. With eight runs required off the last six balls, Morris and company could only accumulate 12 runs and therefore fell short by a solitary run.
#1 Yusuf Pathan – 100 (37) vs Mumbai Indians 2009
There have been countless times when a brilliant piece of throw gets rid of a big fish and turns the game on its head. The crowd at the Wankhede Stadium was treated to an enthralling extravaganza when Yusuf Pathan entertained the audience, but unfortunately couldn’t take his team to glory.
Playing for the Rajasthan Royals, he had been a revelation in terms of smoking the bowlers across the entire circumference of the ground, especially in the V.
From a point of no return, the Royals were going towards a possible victory, but a deflection from the hands of Rajagopal Satish at the non-striker’s end crashed into the stumps to dismiss Pathan, which halted the run fest and Rajasthan lost the game by four runs.