Tewatia, Stokes, Virat, KL, Surya: 10 Best Knocks of IPL 2020
From centuries by Dhawan, Stokes to Tewatia’s blinder against KXIP, IPL 2020 has seen some of the best batting.
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League came to a close on Tuesday but not before the cricketers had put on a spectacle for over seven weeks in the UAE. Taking the field after a long layoff due to the lockdown had its obstacles, but the players displayed great tenacity and temperament to make the edition a grand success.
The batsmen, in particular, had a tough task as they had to adapt themselves to the slow and low nature of the tracks found in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. However, that did not stop them from playing some memorable knocks, and here we look at the top ten innings from the edition.
Rahul Tewatia (53 off 31, vs KXIP)
Rahul Tewatia’s 53 in 31 balls will forever be etched as one of the most memorable knocks of the season due to the come-from-behind carnage that was inflicted. Punjab found themselves in the driver’s seat after scoring 224 in their first innings, and despite RR getting off to a flier, they would have fancied their chances with Tewatia struggling to connect bat to ball. The all-rounder was batting at 8 off 19 at one stage, which only increased the pressure on the players at the other end. His slow-paced innings meant that the equation had reduced to an improbable 51 off 18, and just when fans and critics alike questioned Tewatia’s approach, he smashed five sixes in the 18th over bowled by Sheldon Cottrell to completely swing the game in his side’s favour.
The last 8 balls that Tewatia faced fetched 36 runs, as he helped his team record the highest run-chase in the IPL. However, more than the result, it was his self-belief and his never-say-attitude even in the midst of tremendous pressure that made the player an overnight success story.
Ishan Kishan (99 off 58, vs RCB)
The youngster scored over 500 runs this season, with the highlight being his determined knock of 99 that came against Royal Challengers Bangalore in a lost cause. The youngster, playing his maiden game of the season, walked out to bat at 16 for 2, with his team needing 202 for a win. Pacing his innings to perfection, the wicket-keeper saw off deliveries of over 142kmph with ease as he held his end up before attacking in the death overs. Accompanied by Kieron Pollard, who smashed 60 in 24, Kishan took his team almost within the finish line but lost his wicket rather selflessly while going for a big hit with 5 needed off the last 2 balls.
The game eventually went into the Super Over, but Kishan who batted for almost 18 overs in temperatures over 40 degree Celsius, could not take the field due to the fatigue caused by the hot and humid conditions.
AB de Villiers (73* off 33, vs KKR)
Sharjah was a batsmen’s paradise in the first half of the tournament but the track slowed down considerably in the second half. The batsmen found it tough to play their natural strokes, which makes AB de Villiers’ magic knock of 73* in just 33 balls against KKR one of the best of the season. Opting to bat first, RCB struggled to get runs on the board after the openers had given them a solid stand of 94 in 12.2 overs. Skipper Virat Kohli managed just one four in 28 balls, and had it not been for de Villiers’ crucial innings, RCB would not have managed the competitive 194 that they piled on.
The fact that the rest of the players could collectively score just 233 in 207 runs indicates how sluggish the track was, which only makes the South African’s efforts praise-worthy.
Ben Stokes (107* off 60, vs MI)
The England all-rounder was asked to open the innings midway through the tournament for RR without much success initially. However, the franchise backed Stokes at the top, and the move paid off in a crucial do-or-die game against a mighty Mumbai Indians team. Chasing 196 for a win, the inconsistent Rajasthan team came back strongly after losing two wickets for just 44 runs. Along with Sanju Samson, Stokes took on the quality MI bowling attack, and was particularly harsh on the spinners in the middle overs. The duo ensured that the asking rate never climbed up to unreachable levels as the team recorded a memorable win.
The hundred was even more special for Stokes, who dedicated his knock to his father who is suffering from brain cancer.
Sunil Narine (64 off 32, vs DC)
A surprise entrant in the list, KKR’s Sunil Narine played a brilliant counter-attacking knock against Delhi Capitals in Abu Dhabi to take his team over the 190-run mark. Playing his first game after being reported for a suspect bowling action, the West Indian, who walked out to bat with the scoreboard reading 42 for 3 in 7.2 overs, got together with Nitish Rana and piled on 115 in just 56 balls for the fourth wicket. Narine smashed 4 sixes and six fours and was the aggressor-in-chief as the KKR innings gained momentum after a sedate start.
Narine’s knock allowed Rana to anchor the innings and helped KKR get a much-needed win after their campaign had faced a slump.
Virat Kohli (90* off 52, vs CSK)
Though Virat Kohli did not have the greatest starts to the season, he found his groove soon after, scoring three forty-plus knocks in his next three innings. The highlight was his unbeaten 90 against CSK that contained his trademark shots, quick singles and the cheeky doubles. The RCB skipper paced his innings to perfection, scoring 34 in 32 balls before unleashing himself. His next 20 balls saw four sixes and two fours, which allowed his team to score as many as 74 in the final five overs. After crawling to 95 for 4 in 15 overs, the Bangalore side finished with 169 on the board, which proved to be 37 runs too many for MS Dhoni’s Chennai.
The typical Kohli-esque innings, however, went missing thereafter as the 32-year old struggled to time the ball in the remaining matches, and ended with the IPL sub-par strike rate of just 121.35 this year.
Shikhar Dhawan (101* off 58, vs CSK)
Shikhar Dhawan is not known for his aggressive batting in the shortest format, which has often been a bone of contention for his team. The DC opener was batting with a strike rate of just 122.22 in the first 6 games of the season, and there were question marks over his place in the side. However, a quick chat with head coach Ricky Ponting turned his fortunes, and there has been no looking back since. Dhawan hit his straps against Chennai Super Kings on a day when the rest of his side failed to create an impact with the bat. Chasing a tough 180 on a sluggish track, DC collapsed to 26 for 2 before a 68-run stand between Shreyas Iyer and Dhawan got the team back on track.
However, DC were left needing 53 in 26 balls, which meant that Dhawan had to take on the responsibility to take his side home. A few pressure-relieving boundaries along with Axar Patel’s quick cameo got DC the two points. Most importantly, Dhawan batted with a strike rate of 174.14 - the second-best in the innings.
KL Rahul (132* off 69, vs RCB)
KL Rahul became the first centurion of IPL 2020 when he raced away to 132 in just 69 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Not only was his innings the highest score by any Indian in the history of the edition, it was also the highest score by any skipper and the fourth-highest score by any player in the league. Rahul, who opened the innings, was particularly harsh on the duo of Umesh Yadav and Dale Steyn, who went for 92 in just 7 overs. His innings was laced with 14 fours and as many as seven sixes, which helped his team post a mammoth 206 for 3 on the board.
In reply, RCB were unable to put up a fight as they were bundled out for just 109 to hand Punjab a mammoth 97-run win.
Suryakumar Yadav (79* off 43, vs RCB)
One of the most consistent T20 batters in the format from India, Suryakumar Yadav was left disappointed as he was ignored for Team India’s tour of Australia. The Mumbai Indians batter, however, let his bat do the talking as he took on Kohli-led RCB the very next day after the team announcement, and stamped his class with a match-winning 79*. Walking out to bat in the sixth over of the run chase of 165, Suryakumar anchored the innings perfectly and held his end up even as wickets kept tumbling. MI slumped from 52 for 1 to 107 for 4, and needed another 63 in 37, which was when the batter unleashed his aggressive self, smashing five fours and a six in the last 15 balls that he faced to take the attack to the opposition.
Kohli, who had tried to unnerve the batsman upfront had to pay the price as Suryakumar impressed with his temperament.
Wriddhiman Saha (87 off 45, vs DC)
SRH took a huge gamble when they decided to bench Jonny Bairtsow for their crucial game against Delhi Capitals to accommodate all-rounder Jason Holder in the XI. SRH desperately needed an experienced player in the lower middle-order and with the ball as well, which prompted the franchise to bench opener Bairtsow for Holder and open with Wriddhiman Saha. Though the Bengal wicket-keeper had scored a hundred in the IPL in 2014, he had failed to replicate his form thereafter, with just three fifties in the next five seasons (2015-2019).
He was a revelation, though, in the first game that he opened for SRH, blazing away to 85 in just 45 balls. The keeper improvised his shots beautifully, picked the lines and lengths of the deliveries and batted with great composure as his team managed to post 219 for 2 in the do-or-die clash.
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