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5 Best Batting performances after league stages in IPL 2017

A look at the top 5 knocks played by the four teams who played in the Playoffs and the finals on Sunday.

Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya. (Photo Source: BCCI)

After 45 days of non-stop action, IPL 2017 came to an end last night with Mumbai Indians winning a record third title. It was a nerve-wracking end to the competition as a low-scoring final oscillated between both teams in a Maharashtra Derby game held at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

RPS played outstanding cricket during the course of the tournament but just could not hold their nerves in the final. They won 3 out of 3 games against Mumbai earlier in the season but it was Mumbai Indians who proved that they are a champion side to come up triumphs by 1 run in the finals.

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The tournament this year was dominated by bowlers as 23 Man of the Match awards were won by them out of 60 games. We saw plenty of par scores getting defended and scores in the category of 148-165 being too much to chase thereby restoring some balance between bat and ball. The batsman’s work was cut out as they were up against quality bowling and we witnessed a number of great knocks in the playoffs and the finals which helped teams to get over the line.

Let us have a look at the 5 best batting performances in IPL 2017 after the league stages:

1) Manoj Tiwary – 58 (48) V Mumbai Indians in 1st Qualifier

Tiwary had an outstanding season with the bat for RPS. Moved up and down in the batting order initially, Tiwary was given an extended run at the No. 4 spot and he responded by scoring crucial runs. One such knock was in the 1st Qualifier against Mumbai Indians. Taking guard with his team tottering at 9 for 2, Tiwary absorbed the pressure by playing percentage cricket. He added a crucial 80-run stand with Rahane for the 3rd wicket and took centre stage post the latter’s dismissal.

When the 17th over was completed, Tiwary was batting on a run-a-ball 41 and the time was to step on the accelerator. 17 runs were scored by the Bengal batsman out of the last 7 balls he faced before getting run out on the final ball for a superb 48-ball 58. His efforts ensured that RPS had 162 runs on the board which turned out to be 20 runs too much for Mumbai Indians. His knock was studded with 4 boundaries and 2 sixes.

2) MS Dhoni – 40* (26) V Mumbai Indians in 1st Qualifier

RPS needed a typical Dhoni innings when he walked out to bat at No. 5 in the 1st Qualifier. Pune were off to a sluggish start due to two early wickets of Tripathi and Smith. Rahane in the company of Manoj Tiwary had rebuilt the innings and at 89 for 3, there was still a lot of work to be done to come out of the shambles. Dhoni showed his intentions early when he hit Karn Sharma for a six on the 5th ball he faced. After that strike over midwicket, Dhoni was kept under check by some magnificent bowling by Bumrah and McClenaghan. With 9 balls left in the innings, Dhoni had not helped his side at all as he was batting on 14 off 18. What followed next left everyone in awe of the explosive batsman.

Dhoni got 26 runs off the next 8 balls he faced to lift his side to 162/4 after 20 overs. He unleashed a flurry of strokes to bamboozle the death over specialists of the eventual champions Mumbai Indians. His knock constituted with no boundaries as he slapped 5 sixes and the best of the lot was off Bumrah in the final over as he lifted the ball straight over the bowler’s head. Dhoni stood up when his side needed him the most.

3) Gautam Gambhir – 32*(19) V Sunrisers Hyderabad in Eliminator

Gambhir scored a lot of runs in the IPL this year before Chris Lynn got back into the side which prompted the southpaw to drop in the middle order. He let Narine and Lynn do the striking up front and batted at No. 3. In the eliminator, which was a shortened game as the second innings was reduced to just 6 overs due to rain; Gambhir sent Uthappa and Yusuf ahead of himself. Both failed miserably which meant Gambhir had to walk out at No. 4 with his side tottering at 7 for 2 in pursuit of just 48. The pressure of a big game was telling on KKR as SRH started fancying their chances.

Gambhir is a man who has done exceedingly well in big games and he stood up again for his side scoring a vital unbeaten 32. His knock calmed the nerves of his teammates as he went about his business very professionally. He faced just 21 balls and hit 2 fours and 2 sixes. Gambhir ensured that they had another shot at getting into the finals which was later denied by Mumbai Indians in the 2nd Qualifier.

4) Krunal Pandya – 47 (38) V RPS in Final

Krunal Pandya had a great season this year before he was injured for a brief while. He thanked the team physio for getting him fit in time for the playoffs and the finals. In the 2nd Qualifier, he played a calm innings of 45* to get his side over the line against KKR but reserved his best knock of the season for the final. Coming into bat at 41 for 3, Pandya’s main motive was to ensure that his side uses up the entire quota of their 20 overs. He took his time initially till he found an ally in Mitchell Johnson.

Both left-arm bowlers stitched up a terrific rearguard partnership of 50 runs for the 8th wicket. Pandya played the waiting game till the end of the 18th over. He smacked 18 runs in the last 7 balls he faced which included two massive sixes – one each off Unadkat and Christian – to give his side momentum and a score which will get the bowlers something to bowl at. His knock of 47 was worth its weight in gold in a tense situation and eventually won his side the IPL title.

5) Steve Smith – 51 (50) V Mumbai Indians in Final

RPS skipper had a big responsibility of anchoring the chase for his side. He came out to bat at the fall of Rahul Tripathi’s wicket and added 46 runs for the second wicket with Rahane. Smith was sedate in his approach as he intended to take the game as deep as possible. When Rahane fell, RPS needed just 59 to get in the last 8 overs.

Since then Smith shepherded the RPS chase. With the asking rate climbing over 9, Smith played a jaw-dropping switch hit off Krunal Pandya which went for a six over point. He struck crucial boundaries – off Malinga in the 18th over and a six off Bumrah in the penultimate over – to ensure that RPS doesn’t have too much to chase in the final over. He creamed one straight to Rayudu at deep cover off Johnson to end his brilliant innings on an unlucky note. Rayudu was the only man stationed between long-off and third man yet Smith found him. A couple of yards either side of him would have won his side the game.

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