The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the biggest and grandest league in world cricket. Marquee superstars from all over the world have lit up the league with sensational performances since its inception. As such, IPL is the home for the most competitive and edge-of-the-seat T20 action. IPL has one of the biggest fan following across the sports and people wait for each season with the same excitement.
IPL has produced some unforgettable matches in its 17 years of history, including the ongoing 2023 season. Today we talk about the top five craziest IPL games of all time. But the task isn't simple and this could well be subjective.
The league has seen Chris Gayle hammer the highest individual score of 175 in professional T20 cricket. IPL has witnessed Lasith Malinga turn matches on its head with unplayable spells. It has witnessed MS Dhoni finishing countless matches for Chennai Super Kings as has Kieron Pollard for Mumbai Indians.
Selecting five matches from an ocean of thrilling matches is a tough task but we have tried our best to pick five of the craziest IPL games.
1. MI vs CSK, IPL 2019 final
Heading into the IPL 2019 final, both Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings were three-time champions. This was a clash of the titans. A contest for the bragging rights for the successful IPL team and they delivered a thriller.
The match started well for MI with their openers adding 45 runs in 4.4 runs but then they lost both in a space of four balls. Chennai spinners Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja choked the runflow in the middle overs.
It was Kieron Pollard yet again, who stood up as a giant block between CSK and the IPL title. He smashed 41 off 25 at the back end to give MI a fighting total of 149/8.
The Super Kings had a quiet start in the run-chase before Faf du Plessis took down Krunal Pandya for two fours and a six. Pandya had the last laugh, getting du Plessis stumped out. Shane Watson, who started slow, took 15 runs off Lasith Malinga in the sixth over to end the powerplay on 53/1.
Post-powerplay is where Mumbai Indians really got back into the match. They stemmed the runflow and picked three wickets, including that of MS Dhoni via run-out. Jasprit Bumrah and Rahul Chahar were magnificent with the ball, conceding 14 runs off their four overs each and combining for three wickets.
CSK still had Watson at the crease and he was fighting with an injured knee. He had scored a stunning century for CSK in the 2018 final versus Sunrisers Hyderabad. He hit Krunal for three sixes in the 18th over to bring down the equation to 18 off 12. Bumrah bowled a superb penultimate over but four byes meant the equation was down to the 9 off 6.
Lasith Malinga was tasked with the final over. He had done it before on numerous occasions but he was well past his prime and was taken apart earlier in the match. After taking only four runs off the first three balls, Watson was run-out trying to come back for a second. Watson's commendable knock came to an end on 80 off 59. Two needed off the final ball, Malinga bowled a low slower full toss which Shardul Thakur missed and was adjudged LBW out.
The match swung its course several times in one of the craziest IPL games but it was Mumbai Indians who came out victorious by one run to clinch their fourth IPL title.
2. MI vs RR, IPL 2014
Second on our list of craziest IPL games is the contest between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in the final group fixture of the IPL 2014. Royals had won five out of seven matches in the first half but then lost four of the next six, leaving them in a must-win position.
On the other hand, MI suffered five straight losses at the beginning before winning six of the next eight. Heading into this game, they needed to win by 42 runs or in 14.3 overs to surpass RR's net run rate.
Winning the toss was crucial for MI and they did. Plan was simple. Restrict RR to a low total and chase it down quickly. They kept things tight in the powerplay and even dismissed Shane Watson.
But then Sanju Samson and Karun Nair put on a blistering partnership to take the game away from Mumbai. They added 101 runs for the second wicket in just 9.3 overs, with Nair scoring a 27-ball fifty and Samson blasting 74 off 47. Brad Hodge and James Faulkner also made contributions to push the total to 189.
The task for Mumbai was humongous and there was no time to settle. They scored 61 runs in the first five overs but lost three wickets including Kieron Pollard. Rohit Sharma was also dismissed for 16 off 11, with the team still requiring 82 off 31.
Corey Anderson was the star for the home side. Coming at number three, he smashed an unbeaten 95 in 44 balls. Ambati Rayudu also blasted 30 off just 10 balls. Rayudu was run out trying to get back for the second and the scores were tied in 14.3 overs.
Rayudu was on his knees. Disappointment in the MI camp, and jubilation in the opposite camp. But it was not over yet. Both teams were informed that if MI hit a boundary on the next ball, they could still get into the playoffs.
Aditya Tare had a chance to become a hero. Faulkner with Rajasthan's destiny in hand. He bowled a full toss on leg stump and Tare deposited into the stands. Wankhede stadium and MI exploded in celebration after what was an insane game of cricket.
3. CSK vs KKR, IPL 2012 Final
This IPL 2012 final between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders has great importance in the league. CSK were on a rampage, gunning for their third successive title and KKR were there to end their dominance.
CSK had a terrific start batting first, with their openers scoring 54 runs in the powerplay. Suresh Raina, coming at number three, hammered 73 off 38 balls to power them to 190/3.
If chasing this target in the final wasn't an enormous task already, KKR lost their captain Gautam Gambhir in the first over. But Manvinder Bisla emerged as the hero for the Knight Riders. He scored 89 off just 48 balls and 136 runs for the second wicket with Jack Kallis to put his team in a strong position.
KKR needed 52 off 32 when Bisla was dismissed. Kallis, who had scored 42 in 37 balls till that point, took over and struck 27 off his next 11 balls. They required nine off the final over with Shakib Al Hasan and Manoj Tiwary at the crease.
Pressure mounted after two singles on the first two balls from Dwayne Bravo. But Tiwary then smashed back-to-back boundaries to seal the victory. The celebrations were one of a kind with Shah Rukh Khan and KKR soaking it all in.
4. MI vs PBKS, IPL 2020
This contest between Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings in the 2020 edition will go down in history as one of the craziest IPL games of all time. The match remains unique for the fact that this is the only instance of two super overs in a match. Earlier in the day, the match between KKR and SRH had ended in a super over, making October 18 the craziest day in IPL.
Mumbai Indians batted first and posted 176/6 on the back of Quinton de Kock's fifty and Kieron Pollard's 12-ball 34 not-out. Chasing the target, PBKS captain KL Rahul scored 77 off 51 before Jasprit Bumrah cleaned him up. Bumrah ended with exceptional figures of 3 for 24 in his four overs. Chris Jordan was run-out on the final ball trying to get back for a second run and both teams finished with identical scores.
MI had played a super over in a match against RCB earlier this season as well. This time they were hoping to end up on the winning side. Bumrah delivered an incredible super over, conceding just five and removing Nicholas Pooran and Rahul. MI batters couldn't get the job done against Mohammed Shami who also bowled a terrific over, forcing a second super over according to new rules.
Now it was Mumbai Indians' turn to bat first. Hardik Pandya and Pollard took 11 runs in the over against Jordan. But this time MI didn't have the luxury of Bumrah. It was Trent Boult with the ball, defending against Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal. Yorker on the first ball went wrong and Gayle deposited it for a six. Agarwal then smashed back-to-back fours to seal one of the craziest wins.
5. GT vs KKR, IPL 2023
This fixture between Gujarat Titans and Kolkata Knight Riders from the ongoing 2023 season goes straight into the craziest IPL games of all time. This was the night Rinku Singh etched his name in the history books.
GT batted first and posted 204/4 on the board, with Vijay Shankar smashing 63 not-out in just 24 balls. Chasing the target, Venkatesh Iyer scored a terrific 83 off just 40 balls to keep KKR in the game.
The Knight Riders needed 50 runs off the final four overs when Rashid Khan decided to change the course of the game. The Afghan star claimed a hat-trick in the 17th over, dismissing Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Shardul Thakur.
They now needed 39 off 8 balls. Rinku Singh hit a six and a four against Joshua Little but 29 off the final seemed too much to get. Umesh Yadav took a single off the first ball to hand over the impossible-looking task to Rinku.
Yash Dayal bowled two full tosses and Rinku dispatched them for two sixes. Another full toss on the fourth ball and another six, which gave hope that perhaps it is possible. Three back-to-back sixes but can he keep going?
Fifth ball. A half-tracked outside off and Rinku hammered it over long on.
The equation came down to four off the final ball. A short ball outside off and Rinku smashed it over the bowler's head for another six as the whole KKR camp and the fans erupted in joy.
Five sixes in the final over to win the match. It was never done before. Rinku Singh achieved greatness that night and gave the world one of the most insane finishes of all time.