Champions League 2013 September 19, 2013

TNT-powered Pollard, and Warner the right-hander

Alagappan Muthu
A look back at some of the best moments of the previous editions of the Champions League T20

TNT-powered Pollard
If Brendon McCullum's 158 put the wow into the IPL's first season, it was Kieron Pollard who put the Champions League on the map - in the space of nine balls.

With 51 needed off 24, Moises Henriques started the 17th over of Trinidad & Tobago's chase against New South Wales with a wide and then it began. Pollard thumped the next two balls for fours and launched the third and fourth - full tosses - over cow corner for two massive sixes. Henriques had conceded 27 runs off six balls, but returned for the penultimate over and Pollard cracked another two consecutive sixes to seal the match in a fairy-tale sign-off. He had hit 48 of the required runs himself, reached his fifty off just 18 balls and became an overnight T20 star, as evidenced by his million-dollar contract with Mumbai Indians in the following season of the IPL.

One right, one wrong, game gone
MS Dhoni's knack of picking the perfect bowler in a crunch pushed Chennai Super Kings' 2010 CLT20 match against Victoria Bushrangers into a Super Over, but that was when his luck ran out.

Victoria had required 24 from the final three overs and still had their captain David Hussey at the crease on 48. Justin Kemp and L Balaji both had two overs in the bank but Dhoni picked Suresh Raina to bowl a second spell and the part-time offspinner provided rich returns - four wickets in eight balls and completed a run-out to force a tie and set up the Super Over.

Just when it seemed like Dhoni had pulled off one of his heists, R Ashwin was struck for three sixes and Victoria won the one-over eliminator.

Why Davy, why?
Davy Jacobs, the Warriors captain, was the tournament's leading run-scorer in 2010, until this match. His 61 off 41 balls had powered his side into the final and one of the features of his play was his hits straight down the ground. The final was no different, with Jacobs striking 32 of his 34 runs in boundaries to set his side on course for an imposing total. And it would've happened too, if it wasn't for one meddling reverse-sweep.

It was Ashwin's first ball of the match, darted in at middle stump but instead of trusting that broad, straight bat of his, Jacobs succumbed to innovation and had to walk back and the innings slumped. Only three other players managed double figures as Super Kings bundled them out for 128, Warriors' second score below 150 in the tournament, to seal the double of winning the IPL and Champions League titles.

Warner, the right-hander
Australia's former coach John Buchanan said cricket would soon feature players who are deft with both hands. David Warner took it upon himself to add weight to that prediction, creaming five of his 19 boundaries right-handed during a 69-ball 135 that knocked defending champions Super Kings out of the 2011 Champions League.

"He [Ashwin] was one of the wicket-takers that we had to respect, but I thought why not go after him?" was how Warner explained switch-hitting the offspinner's fifth ball of the match to square leg, which had a second ago been point. He went for another in Ashwin's second and was quite happy to attempt it against the quicks as well, launching Dwayne Bravo for a four over extra cover/midwicket.

Need six off one? Call Arun Karthik
Virat Kohli described this 2011 Champions League match as the best T20 game of his life. In addition to a personal contribution of 70 from 36 balls, there was one other event that compelled Kohli to say so - a last-ball six from uncapped 25-year-old Arun Karthik to win the game.

Royal Challengers were systematically dissecting South Australia's 200-plus total with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kohli's half-centuries but at 182 for 2, a collapse ensued - they lost six wickets for 20 runs.

Seamer Dan Christian, with ample experience bowling in the death, did not need the comfort of an equation that read six off one. Karthik, meanwhile, took strike for only his second ball of the match. It was length and it was slower. Karthik swung with all his might and the ball sailed over the midwicket boundary as Bangalore booked a semi-final berth in the most dramatic fashion.

By hook or by crook
Pat Cummins took the Sydney Sixers into the final of the Champions League last year. With the bat.

With six needed off five balls, Ben Rohrer's wicket brought No. 10 Mitchell Starc to join No. 9 Cummins. Despite connecting bat with ball only once, the big, strapping quicks sprinted through for leg byes and squeezed the equation to one off one.

CJ de Villiers attempted a slower bouncer. Cummins replied with a wild slog - and missed. Starc was already halfway down the pitch and by the time Cummins caught on to the suicidal bye, he suffered a minor nightmare, colliding with the bowler and falling to the floor. A more easier run-out could not have been possible, but the keeper's throw was inaccurate, both batsmen made their ground and the Sixers celebrated an unlikely win.