Cricket can be a cruel game at times. A spectacular performance by an individual player can be overshadowed by a cameo of a counterpart or a combined effort from the opposition. Such instances are in abundance when the game under consideration is an IPL game. Known for its nail-biting finishes and intense competition, the lucrative tournament has provided the cricketing world with some irreplaceable gems.
Here are a few instances when a player excelled with the bat but ended up on the losing side.
Wriddhiman Saha 115* off 55 balls, KXIP vs KKR, Final 2014
After two quick wickets, Saha joined Manan Vohra and unleashed havoc in the middle for the Knight Riders bowlers. Smashing 10 boundaries and 8 sixes in his unbeaten endeavor of 115, Saha elevated the score to a competitive 199/4 in the Final of the 2014 edition at Bengaluru.
Watch M60: KKR vs KXIP- Wriddhiman Saha's 115 ipl match centre IPL T20 video
This, however, proved to be futile as Manish Pandey struck 94 off 50 balls and a couple of blows by Yusuf Pathan and Piyush Chawla got KKR to the crown with 3 balls and 3 wickets to spare.
Shane Watson 101 off 61 balls, RR vs CSK, 2013
The Aussie all-rounder was on fire as he led his team to a fighting total of 185/4 in the 20 overs all by himself in a crowded Chepauk Stadium at Chennai. Apart from a few heaves by Stuart Binny lower down the order, Watson was supported by none of the other batsmen. In reply, Michael Hussey got his team to a flying start and scored 88 off just 51 deliveries. Suresh Raina chipped in with 51 off 35 balls to steer the home team to a 5 wicket win in a match that went down to the wire with just a ball to spare.
Steven Smith 101 off 54 balls, RPS vs GL, 2016
In another nail-biter finish, Sourabh Tiwary was sent off early in the innings by Dwayne Bravo with a brilliant piece and brought Steven Smith to join Ajinkya Rahane. The two batsmen created all sorts of problems for the Lions as they added 111 for the second wicket. Smith scored his maiden IPL hundred and Rahane contributed with a well-constructed half-century as the Pune team posted 195/3 in the 20 overs. In response, Dwayne Smith scored 63 off 37 balls while McCullum, Raina, and Dinesh Karthik, also provided useful contributions as the Lions won the game on the very last delivery.
Virat Kohli 100* off 63 balls, RCB vs GL, 2016
Leading the team from the front, Virat scored his maiden IPL hundred against the Lions at Rajkot. Firing on all cylinders and taking advantage of the excellent stand provided by KL Rahul, Virat ensured that the Royal Challengers posted a commanding 180/2 on the board on a track that was known for being slow. Dinesh Karthik had other ideas as he notched up his maiden fifty for the Lions. He was provided a good foundation by Smith, McCullum, and Raina up the order as the Lions snatched another nail-biting finish with 6 wickets and 3 balls to spare.
Sachin Tendulkar 100* off 66 balls, MI vs KTK, 2011
The maestro scored his only T20 century at his home ground, Wankhede Stadium, against the Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011. With 12 fours and 3 sixes, one of which hit the famous Sachin Tendulkar stand at the iconic venue, Sachin led MI to 182/2 in 20 overs. Brendon McCullum played spoilsport for the great man as he and Mahela Jayawardene scored half centuries while opening for the Tuskers and snatched a win right under the noses of the home team with 8 wickets and 6 balls to spare.
Yusuf Pathan 100 off 37 balls, RR vs MI, 2010
In the opener of the season for both the teams, Mumbai batter first and piled up a mammoth 212/6 in 20 overs. At 9.2 overs, RR were struggling at 66/4 when Pathan walked in. From the word Go, he took the Mumbai bowling for granted as showed no mercy against any of them. His innings constituted of 9 fours and 8 massive sixes. Rajasthan were in sight of a miraculous win when Pathan was dismissed trying to sneak in a non-existent run. His dismissal slowed down the chase for the Royals and they fell short of a swashbuckling win by just 4 runs.