S. SOORAJ | 9th May 2021

Wt is the last week of May, the week when the IPL finals are usually played. It is bad enough that the pandemic has us all locked inside our house but the postponement of IPL meant that we lost our prime entertainment during the summer. With the remainder of the biggest and best T20 tournament speculated to resume in mid-September, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The disappointment of missing out on the IPL play-off week has made MTAG: More Than A Game take a stroll through memory lane. Throughout the course of 13 years, we have seen some spectacular IPL finals and some dull ones too. We decided to look back at all these finals and list them from worst to best in terms of competitiveness and quality.

 Let’s get into it.

13. RCB vs CSK – 2011 

Result: CSK won by 58 runs

MOM: Murali Vijay

RCB’s 2nd IPL final turned out to be disastrous as CSK walked all over them to lift their 2nd consecutive IPL trophy. Chennai smelt blood straight off the bat and got off to a murderous start as the openers Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay put up a brilliant opening stand of 155 runs before the former was dismissed for 65.

Vijay missed out on a well-deserved century by just 5 runs as CSK put up a mammoth total of 205 in their 20. 

MS Dhoni’s brilliance to bowl Ashwin in the first over paid off as he dismissed the 2011 Orange Cap winner Chris Gayle for a duck in the first over of the game. After that, things just didn’t seem to get better for the men in red as the men in yellow restricted them to a mere total of 147, cruising past RCB to add a second IPL title to their trophy list. It is easily the most one-sided IPL final in history.

12. CSK vs MI – 2015

Result: MI won by 41 runs

MOM: Rohit Sharma

Chennai and Mumbai have met 4 different times in the IPL finals, with MI having won 3 of them. This was their 3rd meeting and Mumbai had swatted away their eternal rivals. After losing Parthiv Patel in the first over of the game, MI went on to put a century partnership for the second wicket as both Lendl Simmons and the MI skipper Rohit Sharma got their fifties.

With decent contributions from Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu, MI managed to get past the 200-mark in the first innings.

The pacy trio of Malinga, McClenaghan and Vinay Kumar ensured that CSK never got off to a flyer, keeping the required run rate under check constantly. After a point of time, it was too much for the men in yellow to handle as they crumbled to a total of 161 in their twenty overs.

Expectations were overboard for this dream final from the outset and MI decided to ensure there was only one winner on the night.

11. MI vs DC – 2020

Result: MI won by 5 wickets

MOM: Trent Boult

The most recent IPL final wasn’t the greatest in terms of sheer competitiveness. Mumbai Indians dominated the tournament thoroughly, giving the other teams absolutely no choice and it certainly was the case in the finals too.

Mumbai’s bowling line-up was a class apart throughout the tournament with both Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult stepping up. It was Boult’s game in the finals as he picked up three crucial wickets and ran through Delhi’s bullish batting line-up.

Despite a 50 from Rishabh Pant, DC could only muster a total of 157 runs in their 20 overs.

This was a walk in the park for the men in blue who remained as solid as a brick throughout their innings, chasing down the target in just 18.4 overs. The skipper did the deeds once again, scoring a blistering 68 off 51 to see his through towards their 5th IPL title, the most by any IPL side.

DC failed to make an impact in their first and only ever IPL final.

10. CSK vs MI – 2013

Result: MI won by 23 runs

MOM: Kieron Pollard

Another CSK vs MI final and another Mumbai Indians victory. This was the first of many IPL titles for the men in blue as they had the upper hand in this low-scoring encounter at Eden Gardens. Losing three wickets in the powerplay, putting a decent score on the board seemed far-fetched for MI. Thanks to Kieron Pollard’s heroics with the bat, his 36-ball 60 helped them reach an average total of 148 runs.

But MI’s bowling unit was spectacular. They made 148 look like a huge total and managed to win the game comfortably by restricting their arch-rivals to 125-9 in their 20 overs. The dangerous pace duo of Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson swept through the Chennai top-order, picking up two wickets each.

After that, it was just a matter of time as MI eased past CSK towards their first-ever IPL trophy.

9. CSK vs SRH – 2018

Result: CSK won by 8 wickets

MOM: Shane Watson

After a two-year ban in the IPL, CSK came back with a bang in 2018, winning their 3rd IPL title. Despite the criticism for having a team with many players on the wrong side of 30, Chennai blocked out the noise and managed to have a sensational season, entering the playoffs for a record 9 times in as many seasons and they didn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down in the final. 

The SRH skipper Kane Williamson’s sensible 36-ball 47 and Yusuf Pathan’s blitzkrieg 45 off 25 helped SRH put up a total of 178 runs which appeared to be a defendable total for their quality bowling attack.

But it certainly wasn’t enough to put the brakes on the men in yellow’s dream comeback as Shane Watson smashed a 57-ball 117 to ensure an easy win in just 18.3 overs for his side, which is to date the highest individual score in an IPL final.

8. CSK vs MI – 2010

Result: CSK won by 22 runs

MOM: Suresh Raina

The 3rd playoff outing for CSK turned out to be a fairytale one after two failures in the first two editions of the IPL. This game marked the first time that the El Clasico of the IPL was on for the world to witness and CSK displayed dominance over the men in blue to clinch their 1st ever IPL title.

Suresh Raina’s 57 off 35 balls helped CSK get to their total of 168/5. Even though it didn’t seem like a great total at the time, it was more than enough for MS Dhoni’s genius as his tactics paid off immensely in the second half of the game.

Mumbai Indians were very well set in the game till the 18th over of the second innings when both Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard looked settled and ready for the kill. Albie Morkel’s 18th over turned out to be decisive for CSK as they picked up two decisive wickets to turn the game on its head.

The infamous decision by Dhoni to place the tall Mathew Hayden at mid-off was pitch perfect as the Australian legend took a beautiful catch to dismiss the dangerous Pollard. The game was in CSK’s backpack after that wicket.

7. KKR vs KXIP – 2014

Result: KKR won by 3 wickets

MOM: Manish Pandey

Kings XI Punjab’s first and only ever IPL final turned out to be a cracker of a game as they set out to bat first and put up a sizeable tally of 199 in their 20 overs. Manan Vohra with a sensible 67 off 55 and the elegant Bengali Wriddhiman Saha’s 115 off just 55 balls helped Punjab set a test for Kolkata.

Saha’s 115 was the first-ever century as well as the highest individual score in an IPL final at the time which was then surpassed in 2018 by Shane Watson. But the mammoth total didn’t seem to be a problem for KKR.

Shahrukh Khan’s franchise chased down the target of 200 with ease, finishing the game with three balls to spare. Manish Pandey played a scintillating knock of 94 off 50 balls to see KKR through to their 2nd IPL trophy in 3 years.

When Pandey was dismissed in the 17th over, KKR needed just 21 of the remaining 18 balls which the other batsmen ended up scoring without much hassle. This is the only instance where a target of 200 was chased down in an IPL final.

6. RCB vs DC – 2009

Result: DC won by 6 runs

MOM: Anil Kumble

The 2009 IPL final featured some legendary names such as the likes of Herschelle Gibbs, Adam Gilchrist, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble to name a few. The now-defunct side from Hyderabad, Deccan Chargers, led by Gilly pulled off a famous win against RCB in the 2nd edition of the IPL.

Kumble bowled a splendid spell of 4/16 in his four, making the DC batsmen dance to his tunes. He helped RCB restrict the Chargers to a meagre total of 143 as none of the batsmen except Andrew Symonds managed a strike rate of over 110.

Despite the heroics of Jumbo, RCB failed to lift their first IPL title, which they still haven’t as their batting order collapsed majorly. Just when Ross Taylor seemed to pull RCB back into the game, Andrew Symonds struck with the ball too, dismissing Taylor and a young Virat Kohli in back-to-back deliveries.

In the end, the Deccan Chargers managed to slip past Bangalore with a 6-run margin towards their first-ever IPL title before being dismantled in 2012. This was the only time that a player from the losing side, Anil Kumble, picked up the Man of the Match award.

5. RCB vs SRH – 2016

Result: SRH won by 8 runs

MOM: Ben Cutting

This was RCB’s 3rd attempt in the IPL finals and it was their best performance in an IPL final. But it certainly wasn’t enough to defeat Warner’s men in orange.

This was a high-scoring game as both sides managed to put 200 runs on the board. Warner offered SRH a great start with his 69 off 38 which was followed by two quick cameos by Yuvraj Singh and Ben Cutting. The latter also picked up a couple of wickets in the second innings of the game. SRH finished with an intimidating total of 208/5 in their 20.

Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli gave RCB a promising start, putting up a century stand for the 1st wicket. But after the dismissals of both the openers, things began going downhill for the men in red. Even a star-studded middle order of AB de Villiers, Shane Watson and KL Rahul couldn’t help RCB score just 68 off 50 balls, and their capitulation led to the Sunrisers Hyderabad lifting their first and only IPL trophy.

18 runs off the last over was just too much for RCB’s inexperienced pair of Sachin Baby and Chris Jordan as they could only manage 9 runs.

4. CSK vs KKR – 2012

Result: KKR won by 5 wickets

Whenever the talk about the 2012 IPL final arises, one name always pops up in our heads, and that is that of Manvinder Bisla. Bisla registered his name in the IPL history books with 89 off 48 to win KKR their first ever IPL trophy.

After what seemed like a great first innings by CSK as they put on a very good total of 190 on the board in their 20 with fifties from both Mike Hussey and Suresh Raina, almost everyone expected the men in yellow to win their 3rd consecutive IPL title. 

But KKR being the chase masters they are, pulled off another incredible chase in an IPL final as both Bisla and Kallis scored the fifties for their sides. Things seemed to get more exciting as KKR required 9 runs off the last 6 balls with new batsmen, Shakib and Manoj Tiwary on the crease.

However, Manoj Tiwary’s experience paid off as he smashed consecutive boundaries off the 3rd and 4th balls of the 20th over, winning the game for KKR with 2 deliveries left.

 3. CSK vs RR – 2008

Result: RR won by 3 wickets

MOM: Yusuf Pathan

The first-ever IPL final was a trailer for what the IPL was about to bring for over a decade but to many, this contest is up there as one of the very best. After winning the toss and electing to field, RR did a disciplined job with the ball as they managed to restrict a stacked CSK batting line-up to an underwhelming total of 163.

Yusuf Pathan, RR’s most reliable player throughout the tournament scalped 3 wickets, including that of the dangerous Albie Morkel while conceding only 22 in his 4 overs. 

Yusuf didn’t stop at just that as he went on to score a crucial 56 off 39 in the 2nd innings, before running himself out in the 18th over. The game went down to the wire as Rajasthan required 8 off the last over with skipper Shane Warne and the purple cap holder Sohail Tanvir on the crease.

Just when CSK seemed to have the game in palm of their hand, Balaji bowled a wide in the 4th ball of the over, and Parthiv Patel, who was behind the stumps due to MS Dhoni’s finger injury, failed to collect the ball cleanly which ended up being costly for the men in yellow.

What. A. Game.

2. MI vs RPS – 2017

Result: MI won by 1 run

MOM: Krunal Pandya

In the 2 seasons that the Rising Pune Supergiants featured in the IPL, they managed to reach the final in the 2nd one. In what was a low-scoring encounter, the 2017 final ended up being a cracker of a game with the Mumbai Indians having the last laugh.

Krunal Pandya was the lone warrior for Mumbai as his 47 off 38 looked as good as a century with MI ending up with a score of merely 128 in their 20 overs. Almost every cricket fan and analyst ruled them out of the game only to end up learning it was a mistake to underestimate the Mumbai Indians.

MI’s pace trio of Malinga, Bumrah and Johnson stepped up as none of them had an economy of more than seven. They kept all the RPS batsmen at bay, taking the game to the last over.

Mitchell Johnson bowled what will go down as a historic over in IPL history with RPS needing 11 runs to win off that over. He ended up picking 2 wickets in the over, conceding just 10 runs, which was more than enough for the men in blue.

With 3 required off the last ball, Steve Smith’s side could only manage 2, handing the trophy over to Mumbai Indians.

1. MI vs CSK – 2019

Result: MI won by 1 run

MOM: Jasprit Bumrah

A high-octane final featuring two of the IPL’s most successful sides and arch-rivals, CSK and MI, both fighting it out for their respective 4th IPL titles, the most by any team in the competition’s history. Can it get any better?

This final surely lived up to the hype as it went on towards a nail-biting finish with MI on the winning side. Only three times has an IPL final gone towards the final ball of the game and surprisingly, MS Dhoni has been a part of the losing team in all three instances. After restricting a high-quality MI batting line-up for 148 runs, CSK were over the moon and just about everyone’s favorites to wear the IPL crown.

However, MI’s extraordinary bowling attack, led by the sublime Jasprit Bumrah denied Chennai the title in the last ball of the game, helping them become the most successful IPL side of all time. CSK’s 8th entry into an IPL final, the most by any side ended as heartbreak as despite the heroic knock of 80 off 59 by an injured Shane Watson, they couldn’t see the game through.

With 2 runs required off the last ball, IPL’s all-time top wicket-taker Lasith Malinga took the wicket of Shardul Thakur to help his side towards their 3rd IPL final victory over CSK.