Nerves held, plans in place, bowler targeted, shots executed, one brilliance trumping the other. Chasing is as difficult an art in Cricket as like any other. It doesn’t get over until it is actually done, 2 to get from 2 balls may have three possible results. From individual brilliance to well thought out strategies and unexpected heroes, the game of cricket has seen many such memorable chases. Each has their own way of approach, Virat’s impatience to be on the winning side makes him patient enough to chase off a target before things get out of hand whereas Dhoni’s way to maintain the pulse rate as the opponents’ and finishing things off when they sniff a chance is well known. Indian Premier League too has had its share of some edge of the seat chases as we take you through the top five.
The Royal Chase: Rajasthan Royals vs Deccan Chargers, 2008
IPL was eight games old and the fans were excited about everything it offered. But least did they expect it from the Warne-led Rajasthan Royals. Things were turning out to be just another T20 game, but Symonds wanted it to be a memorable one. Backed by his power hitting and a little support from others,the now-defunct Deccan Chargers finished with a mammoth 214/5. Symonds remained unbeaten at 117 of 53. After a slump at the start, it was game-on when Yusuf Pathan entered into the scene. Standing tall, he flailed at will to give Royals a hope. For DC, it was Afridi who had things under control and Pathan was having a go at the others. The Required run rate was 11.16 when he came in and 10.10 after his 28 ball 61. Watson failed to keep the momentum going and it was Kaif who continued from where Yusuf left. Smith too promoted himself from anchor role to hitter owing to the situation. Afridi swung the momentum back to the Deccan dug out after he dismissed the well set Smith and Kaif. RP Singh delivered a perfect penultimate over and with 17 to get from the last over and with Vaas, Afridi and RP Singh done with their four, skipper Laxman preferred Symonds ahead of rookies Ojha and Kalyana Krishna. The DC’s body language looked a bit relaxed and the game was left in Symonds’ hands to make his century a winning one. After 3 in the first two, 14 was needed from four. Warne launched a full toss straight above Symonds head for a four. 10 needed off 3. Symonds fired one short and Warne swung wildly for a six over deep mid-wicket. 4 needed off 2. A half volley from Symonds, and Warne gave himself room and guided it over extra cover for another six. It was the first time when IPL witnessed a 200 plus target being chased.
When the kings chased it down: Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2014
Chasing down a 200 plus target with 8 balls to spare indicates how well it was done. 2014 was Kings XI Punjab’s season until the final and this chase happened in a group stage match versus SRH. Losing Sehwag in the first over when the target is 200 plus can shake any side. But it was after Sehwag’s departure that Saha and Vohra took the SRH attack head on to finish the power play at 86/1, missing the then record power play score by a run. The required run rate never crossed 9 after that. The Sun Risers Hyderabad too didn’t have the best of the starts but it was a blinder of a knock from Naman Ojha which was well supported by Dhawan and David Warner that took their score past 200. Sandeep Sharma had the worst of nights with figures of 4-0-65-1. If it was Sandeep Sharma for the Kings XI, then it was Dale Steyn for the Sun Risers. After Saha and Vohra’s dismissal, Maxwell continued his blistering form with a 22 ball 43. Only 40 was required in the last six overs and skipper Bailey ripped Dale Steyn for 22 in the 18th over and completed the formalities with a six in the penultimate one.
Kohli getting a taste of his own medicine: Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2012
It was one of those chases where Virat Kohli was in the thick of things, but this time, on the receiving end. It will surely be among those matches which brought CSK closer to their fans and a classic example of how an over can change the course of the game. CSK was hardly in the game for 38 overs, and the last two changed everything. The game started with Mayank Agarwal’s domination at the start of the innings followed by the Gayle-Kohli show. Gayle’s brutal hitting and Kohlis ability to pick the gaps took RCB to 205. Faf laid the foundation at the start for CSK with Raina and Dhoni playing their parts. Dhoni departed at a time when many would have thought he would be needed the most, but Morkel and RCB proved it wrong. With his main bowlers left with no overs, Vettori backed Virat Kohli. And then, Chepauk witnessed one of the famous turnarounds as Morkel pummeled 28 off the over. Shivers spread over RCB camp and it was evident in Vinay Kumar’s final over. Bravo and Jadeja made sure that the required 15 runs were scored in the last over. The whistle had found a way.
The Maxwell-Miller Show: Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2014:
This was the match which kick-started the Maxwell-Miller show which further continued throughout 2014 and was sporadically seen after 2014. CSK had the best possible start to the tournament with a century stand between Mccullum and Dwayne Smith. Dhoni’s late assault took the score past 200 for the men in yellow. Punjab lost their openers in quick succession and Axar’s promotion up the order backfired as the score board read 52-3. From then on, Maxwell and Miller formed a 115 run partnership and had their moments of luck with a couple of drops for Maxwell and one for Miller. When Maxwell departed for 95 in 16th over, the target was at an arm’s stretch. Bailey joined with the set David Miller and took their team home in 18.5 overs with no further damage.
Jacques Kallis redefines the importance of class: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab, 2010
There are players who have made sure to evolve their game with time. South African Savior Jacques Kallis was one such. He is not known for being too flashy, but his game was always eye catching. It was a night when he guided RCB to chase down 203. Manish Pandey played the aggressor role at the start and Kallis made sure that one end was taken care off without any slump. The Bopara-Bisla pair did the same for Punjab in their century stand. Bisla dominated the powerplay overs, Bopara did the supporting role and caught up with him as the innings progressed. Bisla’s dismissal and Yuvraj’s short stay didn’t dent the start they got as the classy Jayawardene took their total past 200. For RCB, Robin Uthappa’s entry on Pandey’s dismissal further changed the course of the match in their favor. He bludgeoned four fours and four six’s in his 21 ball 51. Once Uthappa departed, the experienced Kallis further raised his ante and along with a young Kohli brought the curtains down on the chase with an over to spare.