Castrol Index picks 5 breathtaking performances from Indian T20 League
The Indian T20 League is nearing the end of the group stages and we have been entertained to the core by some thrilling finishes and performances so far. There have been moments where a batsman has singlehandedly turned the match around with a blistering batting performance or a bowler with a stupendous spell powered his team to an improbable victory.
Based on the Castrol Index of the first 65 matches played till now, here are some breathtaking performances that we have witnessed in the league*:
Top Performances in the Indian T20 League 2012
One of the most memorable performances of the season so far has been Ajit Chandila’s hat-trick in the 60th match against Pune. Defending 170, the off-spinner from Jaipur – in only his second game – took the first hat-trick of the season in the Quick Start Overs as he ripped through the top order with his dicey flighted off-spinners. Being provided with a challenge to bowl upfront, he scalped the wickets of Jesse Ryder, Sourav Ganguly, Robin Uthappa and Anustup Majumdar which gave him a staggering Bowling Efficiency of 363. This propelled him to the top of the Index with 78 points in the match which was way ahead of the second best, Shane Watson who finished with 66 points. His role proved to be crucial as Jaipur thumped Pune by 29 points on Index.
Albie Morkel destroyed Bangalore with his 7-ball 28 run innings in the Extreme Performance Overs as he helped Chennai chase down a mammoth target of 206 in Match 13. He arrived at the crease in the penultimate over and with 43 runs needed; it looked as if Bangalore were the favourites. But Morkel turned the match around with some humongous hitting as he clobbered 3 sixes and a couple of fours to bring the equation down to 15 from 6 balls which was finally achieved in the end. He also took two wickets in the match but it was his cameo with the bat that achieved an Index rating of 63. His Batting Momentum of 123 was instrumental in securing a 14-point victory for him team on the Index.
Another Index-topping classy innings of 47 from 17 balls saw AB de Villiers force a tremendous turnaround as he helped Bangalore score 75 runs off the last six overs chasing 181 against Hyderabad in the 50th match. He came to the crease at the point when Bangalore were in trouble at 107/3 at the end of the 14th over. It was an intricate task but de Villiers stood up to the challenge, and with some dexterous hitting in the Extreme Performance Overs, powered Bangalore home with 7 balls to spare. The fact that he performed magnificently against one of the fiercest and best bowlers in the world, Dale Steyn, hitting him for two sixes and a couple of fours, helped him garner 149 Batting Momentum points as well as the highest Index of 56 in the match.
Dwayne Smith provided one of the most thrilling last-ball finishes of the season as he drove Mumbai home with a six and a couple of boundaries to score 14 runs off the final three deliveries against Chennai in Match 49. Chasing 174, Mumbai were left with 16 runs required in the last over. They were trailing behind by 3 points on the Index and Chennai looked to be the favourites. They could manage just two runs off the first three balls which meant that 14 runs were required off the remaining deliveries. Smith stepped up to the occasion and took apart pacer Ben Hilfenhaus hitting him for a six and couple of boundaries to bail Mumbai in the dying moments of the game. His 9-ball innings of 24 achieved him a decent Batting Momentum of 74 and this helped Mumbai race ahead and beat Chennai by a slim 2 points on the Castrol Index.
Morne Morkel’s brilliant penultimate over against Jaipur helped Delhi pulled off victory from the jaws of defeat as they defended 15 runs off the last two overs in the 39th match. With 15 runs required and 9 wickets in hand, it seemed as if it would be a cakewalk for Jaipur but Morkel had other ideas as he bowled one of the best Extreme Performance Overs one could ever witness. With a string of deadly yorkers, he tied down the batsmen completely and conceded just 3 runs and also scalped the important wicket of Brad Hodge. A Bowling Efficiency of 71 paved the way for an incredible victory as Delhi beat Jaipur by one run to pull off a stunning heist.
Some other notable mentions include Hodge’s 21-ball 48 – a blitz against Hyderabad which helped Jaipur chase down 197; Robin Peterson’s 7-ball flurry of 16 in the Extreme Performance Overs to help Mumbai score 32 off the last two overs against Mohali; and rookie Gurkeerat Singh’s 29 runs off just 12 balls against Hyderabad that powered Mohali home when the asking rate was actually quite steep.
It is the never-say-die attitude and a fearless approach of the players that has provided the league with some exhilarating moments to cherish. Individual performers, especially finishers, have made a huge impact on the outcome of the games. With the most crucial juncture of the season, just round the corner, each and every team would be expecting that these match-winners deliver the goods again which in turn might take them closer to the coveted trophy.
*NOTE: All match statistics and Castrol Index data mentioned in the article are as per 15th May 2012.