Icemen at the death

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

R Sathish puts in a dive to make his ground, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2016, Delhi, May 25, 2016

Mustafizur Rahman and co put their hands up when it mattered in last season's Eliminator  •  AFP

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.