Countdown : three days to go April 2, 2017

Icemen at the death

ESPNcricinfo staff
Bowlers have often got the short shrift in the IPL. This countdown winds the clock back to ten near-miraculous death overs from some of the tournament's best
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WATCH - Mustafizur's cutters snatch game away from Kolkata

Mustafizur Rahman, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders, Eliminator, 2016

Equation - 32 needed off 12 balls

Conceded 8 runs in the 19th over

Would the champions have become champions without their cutter man? As ever, Mustafizur Rahman was saved for the slog and even a big-game team like Kolkata Knight Riders couldn't find a way past him. The first ball of his 19th over was that despicable slower one. Somehow R Satish avoided being caught. The third was a yorker that was through Jason Holder before he knew what was happening. With 32 runs to defend - and a spot in the final on the line - Mustafizur gave away only eight and his partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar did the rest from the other end.

Tim Southee, Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders, 2011

Equation - 9 needed off 6 balls

Conceded six runs in the 20th over, with a wicket

Almost exactly five years years ago, the first IPL match after India had become world champions, ended up with a certain MS Dhoni masterminding a win in a tight chase. This time, his contribution was by picking the right man to do the job, perfecting his field placements and directing Tim Southee to deliver a series of toe-crushers over the course of an incredible final over. Southee stepped up, first with the wicket of Laxmi Ratan Shukla and then followed it up with wicked yorkers Knight Riders could not even sneak singles from. In the end, Dhoni ended another night when he could do no wrong, this time vicariously through Southee's perfect execution.

Praveen Kumar, Delhi Daredevils v Gujarat Lions, 2016

Equation - 18 runs needed off 12 balls

Conceded six runs in the 19th over

"Some of the boys came up to me and asked me to try the slower ball, but I thought there were chances that it could have been swung over the ropes." So he backed himself to bowl the most difficult delivery in all of cricket : the yorker. He went for them ceaselessly, nailed them two times, and somehow managed to keep even Chris Morris, who had just hammered the fastest fifty of the 2016 season quiet. Delhi Daredevils were on the verge of a fantastic come-from-behind win. But they were never quite able to take that final step across the finish line thanks to Praveen Kumar.

Shane Warne speaks to Kamran Khan ahead of the Super Over © AFP

Kamran Khan, Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals, 2009

Equation - 7 runs needed off 6 balls

Conceded six runs in the 20th over

He was born in 1991 - right around the time his captain made his first-class debut. Kamran Khan and Shane Warne. The son of a woodcutter and a superstar of world cricket. The 2009 IPL was one for the romantics and there was no greater high than this match in which the 18-year old rookie was given the ball in the final over and asked to defend seven runs. Kamran did so by dismissing the set batsman Sourav Ganguly for 46 off the penultimate ball of the match and completed a run-out thereafter to secure Rajasthan Royals a tie. Then he came back to bowl the Super Over to seal the win.

James Faulkner, Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals, 2014

Equation - 16 runs needed off 12 balls

Three wickets and four runs in the 19th over

It was exactly 11 months before the best day in James Faulkner's sporting career, and it went all right too. Maybe not as good as a Man of the Match performance at the MCG in a World Cup final, but he did change the course of an IPL match almost single-handedly. Kolkata Knight Riders needed 16 to win off 12 balls when Faulkner came on and he knocked out Suryakumar Yadav first-ball, toppled Robin Uthappa and Vinay Kumar's stumps and set up a tie that would eventually lead to his team's victory in the Super Over. Rajasthan Royals had been the runaway train, heading straight to Beatdown City. But their star allrounder basically yawned, stretched, checked his watch, flicked the switch that changed the tracks and made them purr into the Victory Terminal instead.

Rusty Theron, 2 for 9 in the Super Over, Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab, 2010

Equation - Restrict Super Kings in the Super Over

Nine runs and a wicket in the Super Over

Not many in India knew of the man who runs in like a medium-pacer and bowls scorching yorkers. This night changed all that. Given the actual Super Over itself, Rusty Theron produced a beautiful slower ball that snuck into Matthew Hayden's castle and took over its throne and then - right after a scarring blow over the midwicket boundary - he forced Suresh Raina to top edge one and has him caught. Kings XI Punjab made only 136 and they still won because they believed in Theron when few in the world had even heard of him.

Vinay Kumar, Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2014

Equation - 9 runs needed off 6 balls

Six runs and a wicket in the 20th over

Question. What is the short end of a stick? Bowling to AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel with only eight runs in the bank. Question. Who was stuck with it? Vinay Kumar. Ah, you don't have to go on. We know what would have happened. No seriously. Stop it. It's fine. Don't waste your breath. Wait, what? Vinay won it? How? He got AB out? What? How? Did the universe tilt on its axis suddenly and throw him off balance? Oh, the Chris Lynn catch. On the midwicket boundary. When he slipped as he raced to his left, then had to propel his body backwards, off his knees, to grab the ball. Almost forgot about that. Maybe the universe did tilt off its axis 'cause nothing could explain that fielding effort.

RP Singh, Deccan Chargers v Royal Challengers Bangalore, Final, 2009

Equation - 15 runs needed off 6 balls

Conceded eight runs in the 20th over

Adam Gilchrist was faced with that question in the biggest match of the IPL - "Who ya gonna call?" Now RP Singh is about as far removed from a Ghostbuster as a man has ever been but, in top form, he could certainly summon some scary thoughts in the batsman's mind. His efforts were instrumental in India becoming the first World T20 champions in 2007 and, back in the country of that triumph, the left-arm quick looked like he hadn't missed a beat. He was given the 18th over in a chase of 144 and gave away only four runs, the result of his canny changes of pace and not offering any room to the batsman. So it was essentially his right to come back to bowl the 20th over and seal the title for Deccan Chargers. He conceded only one boundary in his entire spell.

Morne Morkel, Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals, 2012

Equation - 15 runs needed off 12 balls

Three runs and a wicket in the 19th over

You come on to bowl in the death, but the opposition have nine wickets in hand - nine wickets, and only need to chase at a required rate as silly as 7.5 - and you win the game for your team. That is the devastating ability Morne Morkel has. Imagine his yorkers for a second. Off that chest-on, high-arm action, coming down from at least 10 feet. It's disorienting. Imagine his bouncers. Climbing up to your throat off a length that when other bowlers hit barely even comes up to the ribs. His height, his pace, his accuracy all combined seamlessly in this game to produce one of the most memorable game-changing overs in all of IPL history. Oh, did we mention he took out Brad Hodge with his last ball?

Amit Mishra, Pune Warriors v Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2013

Equation - 14 runs needed off 12 balls

A hat-trick and two runs in the 20th over

It was the stuff of high fantasy the kind kids have when they are out in the backyard, creating a world where they become the best player in their country. A hat-trick to kill the match. A hat-trick to win the match. Pune Warriors needed 14 off 12 balls and they had their captain Angelo Mathews at the crease. That was a problem for Sunrisers Hyderabad. So Amit Mishra took care of it. Then it was just the tail and they don't like legspinners. Especially legspinners who have a superb googly. One by one Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Sharma and Ashok Dinda swung hard and one by one they fell as Mishra covered himself in the kind of glory that is so scarcely believable it might never happen again.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kris_vijay on April 5, 2017, 5:35 GMT

    I second @insult. What's the need of appreciating Dhoni here ? Tim won the game for their team. This so called "going overboard" especially treating cricketers like Demi gods have to be stopped. This guy, Dhoni, couldn't bear the tortures of test cricket and left the team in the middle of the sea in Australia. What sort of a cricketer is he ? I'm not forgetting the fact that he has helped win a lot of accolades. But leaving the team in dire straits is not any captain would do and the explanation he gave "to give chance to Saha" Why didn't he give chance to Saha before the start of the series ?

  • Insult_2_Injury on April 4, 2017, 3:19 GMT

    So you start the article with how bowlers get short shrift for their efforts and then proceed to congratulate Dhoni for doing the obvious! Choose a class international death bowler - Southee - to do the job he's done on the international stage for years. So Southee isn't the one to be congratulated for execution & cool head, no it's Dhoni. Couldn't even finish the paragraph by congratulating Southee it was all about Dhoni. Any wonder supporters have had a gutful of the position of bowlers in cricket. An article supposedly praising bowlers is praising a wicketkeeping captain. Pathetic!

  • GAUTAMKUMAR on April 3, 2017, 16:48 GMT

    we need an article done rubs given away in last over proving costly at the end. I can recall two matches involving Ishant Sharma. In one match he gave away 22 and his team by 18 runs

  • AayushVarma18 on April 3, 2017, 11:14 GMT

    Wow, I'm surprised Vinay Kumar's last over v/s MI for RCB in 2013 didn't make the cut. That really was a brilliant piece of death bowling, should've been included.

  • cricfan19845732 on April 3, 2017, 9:25 GMT

    Now, Kamran Khan is a farmer and is settled in his village. From cricket to farming, thats quite a tragedic story or maybe a peaceful life.

  • espn62392796 on April 3, 2017, 2:29 GMT

    I remember a game where munaf defended 4 runs in final over MI.

  • Jose...P on April 3, 2017, 1:02 GMT

    19th Over:

    20th over, is supposed to be an exciting over in close contests. It is almost like the wedding night in many cultures, which is supposed to consummate the sacrosanct human tie for life. With all the peak of excitement expectations reserved for that moment, even in this age, As is happening in life, so in cricket. Now, you can see that they finish off that excitement in 19th itself. As f almost saying why wait for the 20th; and why not we finish most of it now itself. We can see that happening in the tumble & roll of T20.

    So, it is not unexpected to see samples of that from IPL in the above list.

    {}:-)

  • Pinch-Hitter_Night-watchman on April 2, 2017, 20:57 GMT

    Wait, what happened to Kamran Khan? He seemingly played cricket in Sri Lanka it seems, a bit like Kieron Powell. Should do an article about him.

  • Corridor-of-Certainty on April 2, 2017, 19:08 GMT

    I remember that RR v DD game in which Rahane struggled to get bat on ball towards the end. How RR could not chase down 153 from 141/1 is truly astonishing. That 19th over by Morkel was superb though.

  • ATIMAYANK on April 2, 2017, 19:07 GMT

    The link to RP Singh's profile is wrong. BTW where is RP Singh these days? He was the next big left hand swing bowler for India.

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