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Standing in the finals


Who will be the highest run-getter in the final? Dhoni? Steven Smith? Robin Uthappa? Kieron Pollard? Or is it a case of DKCS – Don’t Know, Can’t Say (that familiar option in a multiple choice question). Who will bag the most wickets? Sunil Narine? Washington Sundar? Harbhajan Singh? Or is it again a DKCS?

Let that be known when it would be known, but at least we could dabble in some ‘memory-lane jogging.’ Who were the highest run-getters in the finals of the earlier editions and who bagged the most wickets? Either of these may have been in a winning cause or otherwise, but that does not matter to us now. The focus is on individual brilliance and success.


 Figure 1: Top score in the finals of the IPL – from 2008 to 2016


 Figure 2: Bowler/s with most wickets in the final of the IPL – from 2008 to 2016

Look right back to 2008, when the IPL kicked off…and there was this cricketer who was there at the top both with bat and ball – scoring 34 per cent of his team’s total and bagging three wickets – for the Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals. Yusuf Pathan, who is still around playing for a different team in the IPL, was deservedly the first Man-of-the-Match in an IPL final.

In 2009, it was the South African Herschelle Gibbs who stole the limelight with the bat, scoring a half century which accounted for 37% of his team’s total. Anil Kumble, then captaining Royal Challengers Bangalore, bowled a wonderful spell, and scalped four batsmen, conceding over 16 runs in his quota of 4 overs.

It was Suresh Raina for Chennai Super Kings the next year, a half-century which made up about 33% of his team’s total. Two bowlers – one from either team – bagged two wickets each. They were Shadab Jakati and the Sri Lankan Dilhara Fernando. Come 2011 and it was two Indians from Chennai Super Kings - Murali Vijay missing his hundred by 5 runs, and Ravichandran Ashwin bagging 3 wickets. Vijay’s score accounted for 46% of his team’s total of a little over 200 this time.

Percentage-wise, Manvinder Bisla contributed exactly the same to his team’s total the next year, as Vijay had done in 2011. He top scored with 89 while the Aussie quick, Ben Hilfenhaus, was the highest wicket-taker with 3 wickets. In 2013, MS Dhoni, with exactly half his team’s score (63 of 125) and Dwayne Bravo with 4 wickets – again a case of two Chennai Super Kings players – led the two tables.

2014 was special. Very much so. A century was scored in the final for the first time. It was an unbeaten knock to boot. The dapper Wriddhiman Saha with 115 runs – a massive proportion of his team’s total of 199. But guess what? This was in a losing cause. And Saha’s anguish can be easily imagined by cricket fans – both connoisseurs and aficionados. With the cherry, it was Karanveer Singh’s day – 4 wickets, to ‘do a Bravo’ and ‘a Kumble’.

In 2015 and 2016, there were no Indians among the quartet who finished the final up there, two with bat and two with ball. Both the top scorers were incidentally West Indians – Lendl Simmons in a winning cause for the Mumbai Indians and Chris Gayle in a losing cause for RCB. Simmons got to 68 in 2015 and Gayle to 76 in 2016. McClenaghan finished with 3 wickets in the final of 2015 and Chris Jordan emulated him the next year.

Of all those who finished at top from 2008 to 2016, there are two who have the chance to do it again – MS Dhoni with the bat, and Mitchell McClenaghan with the ball. May the best team win, and may any two among the 22 get to the top of the two lists.


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G Venkatesh (born 1972) is a senior lecturer in Energy and Environment, at Karlstad University in S...

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