The IPL 2016 has come to an end, after entertaining cricket fans with sixty matches, with the Sunrisers Hyderabad lifting their maiden IPL title after defeating the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Besides this high-octane IPL final, there were a number of matches, which caught the attention. As always, there were games in IPL 9, that will be etched in our memories.
So, let us relive five of those IPL 2016 matches, which thrilled us.
Match 5: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians
What is the meaning of an interesting match? Answers may differ, but a game, which produces lots of boundaries, resulting in a high-scoring game, and to add icing on the cake, the game goes to the last over, could be one of the answers. The same transpired at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, where 16 sixes were struck. Gautam Gambhir, Manish Pandey and Andre Russell tonked the bowlers to all parts of the ground, scoring 187 runs in 20 overs. Mumbai Indians, in reply, got off to a flier, with Rohit Sharma dealing in fours and sixes, and Jos Buttler's 22-ball 41 helped MI register a win. This match may be criticised for being in the list, but it set the ball rolling for an entertaining IPL 2016.
Moral of the game: Mumbai Indians need Rohit to perform in every match
Match 19: Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Scoring centuries in the T20 format is a huge task, and when a batsman does so, his team is expected to win the match. But, things did not go according to plan for Virat Kohli, who had scored his maiden IPL hundred in 63 balls. Kohli helped his team to 180 runs from their allotted 20 overs, and RCB were the favourites to win. But, the formidable GL batting lineup, which included Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik, all contributed with the bat to reach the target in 19.3 overs.
Moral of the game: T20 cricket is not always a one man's game, but a team game.
Match 23: Delhi Daredevils vs Gujarat Lions
GL, after having scored 172 runs on the board, with some great batting from Smith and McCullum, were strong favourites to emerge victorious. The Gujarat Lions were soon in the driver's seat as DD were tottering at 57/4, and some fans might have switched off their TV sets in frustration as well. They would have then missed out on some of the best and cleanest hitting in IPL 2016, courtesy Chris Morris. DD required 115 runs from 54 balls, which looked quite difficult, but the South African smoked huge sixes at hill. His hits came with a sweet sound off the bat, as the South African middled the ball to perfection. The game was in their bag, with 18 runs from 12 balls, but Morris could not produce his magic in the end, which resulted in a one-run loss.
Moral of the game: Morris is one of the cleanest hitters when on song
Match 53: Rising Pune Supergiants vs Kings XI Punjab
Not many would have watched this IPL game as it was a dead rubber, but those, who did were treated to an MS Dhoni special. The India limited-overs captain is known to take matches till the last over of the game, and finish it with a bang. Dhoni followed a similar pattern while chasing KXIP's score of 172 runs, which was made possible by half-centuries from Murali Vijay and Gurkeerat Singh. But their innings stands nowhere when compared to Dhoni's 32-ball 64, studded with five sixes and four fours. With Dhoni at the crease, RPS required 23 runs from 6 balls, which must be impossible for many, but not for the man from Jharkhand, who hit 16 runs from the last three balls to win the match.
Moral of the game: 'Never say never' when Dhoni is at the crease
Qualifier 1: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Lions
On a match in which the GL batsmen struggled, only Dwane Smith stood up, playing a sensational innings of 73 runs from 41 balls to help his team score 158 runs. Such a score was always going to be tricky, and it became difficult with RCB losing their first five wickets for 29 runs. AB de Villiers played sensibly, rotating the strike initially, but after he got his eye in, it was vintage De Villiers, who took the game away from GL. The South African tore apart the GL bowlers in the latter stages, and shone brightly to chase down the score in 18.2 overs from a seemingly impossible situation.
Moral of the game: Cometh the hour, cometh De Villiers