Every team in the world sets out on the field with the sole aim of winning the encounter and getting the better of the opposition. While they managed to achieve it most of the times, there were some occasions when things didn’t fall in place and the team ended on the losing side. The loss as expected affected their winning streak and the situation seemed to be getting out of their control. With remaining hopes gone for a toss, an inspirational show from a batsman or a bowler changed the momentum for them to the extent of lifting the trophy at the end. We have seen many such comeback stories in the history of IPL, some of them have still left us speechless. In the below piece, we look at 5 top comebacks by franchises in the history of IPL:
1. Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2009
The Bangalore-based franchise had a bad start to their IPL journey, finishing 7th in the points table in the inaugural season of the IPL. That naturally led to a few changes for the new season, prominent of them being the appointment of Kevin Pietersen as the new skipper in place of veteran Rahul Dravid.
However, things refrained to improve as RCB lost 4 out of their first 5 games in the tournament contested in South Africa. With Pietersen having left after the 6th game, Kumble was appointed as the stand-in skipper, who played a key role in the change of fortunes.
RCB won 4 out of their 10 games and needed 4 more wins to qualify for the last stage. They did so with aplomb under the able leadership of Kumble and set their semi-final date with 2008 finalist CSK. The Bangalore side did defeat them, but, unfortunately, missed out on their maiden triumph, going down against the Chargers in the final of IPL 2009.
2. Deccan Chargers, 2010
The Gilchrist-led Chargers were coming into IPL 2010 as defending champions, having won the tournament held in South Africa. They had a lot of firepower in their batting and bowlers to back them, augmenting the chances of them winning consecutive titles.
But DC had a bad start to their campaign, who could win just 3 out of their 9 games. The shift of their home matches to DY Patil Stadium at Mumbai did have a role to play in the dismal performances and only a miracle could have turned the fortunes for them.
That did happen as DC won all of their last 5 games to qualify for the knockout stage. However, they lost to Mumbai in the semi-final game and brought an end to one of the memorable comebacks in the history of IPL.
3. Mumbai Indians, 2014
This time it was MI, who came into the tournament as frontrunners, having won their maiden title in 2013. Young skipper, Rohit Sharma did a fantastic job to lead the side midway and win them not just the IPL trophy but also the Champions League T20 for that year.
Owing to general elections, the first half of the 2014 season was to be played at UAE. The change of venues did affect MI’s performance as they lost all 5 games played there and needed something special to bounce back.
With just 3 wins from 10 games, MI needed to win all of their last 4 games to qualify for the deemed playoffs. Having won the first 3 games with relative ease, MI chased a mammoth 190 in 14.4 overs against RR to qualify in a dramatic fashion for the last 4 stages.
Unfortunately, they could not go the distance as CSK halted their victory chariot in the eliminator of IPL 2014 and marked an end to one of the best comebacks for the team.
4. Kolkata Knight Riders, 2014
Having won the title in 2012, expectations from the fans and cricket pundits had reached another level for KKR. After a disappointing 2013 season, there was a lot of pressure on Gambhir and the company to revive their lost fortunes.
They did start off well, winning 2 out of 3 games and looked set for a high finish. However, the smiles of glory were short-lived as KKR lost 4 games on the trot and the points table read – 2 wins from 7 games, bringing their qualification in jeopardy.
Not paying much heed to it and persisting with his aggressive captaincy, Gambhir helped KKR in winning all the last 7 games and making one of the great comebacks at the IPL. In fact, by chasing 161 in 14.2 overs in their last game, they also finished at the second position, procuring themselves an advantage.
The added incentive, though, wasn’t needed as Kolkata defeated Punjab twice, once during Qualifier 1 at Kolkata and next time at Bangalore in a closely-fought finale to win their 2nd title.
5. Mumbai Indians, 2015
The fortunes had drastically changed for the Mumbai-based franchise, which won their maiden title in 2013 and finished 4th in 2014. The scenario had sky-rocketed the hopes of hard-core MI fans of winning another title in a span of 3 years.
However, a bad start put all the expectations under doubt. MI had won just 1 out of their first 6 games and needed a remarkable turnaround in the second half to qualify and win the trophy. Shocking everyone to the core yet again, MI won 7 out of their last 8 games and made a grand entry into the playoffs.
By finishing in the top 2 positions, MI were bestowed with the added benefits and they did capitalize on it. Playing with freedom and expressing themselves at the most important stage of the tournament, MI defeated CSK comprehensively on two occasions i.e. Qualifier 1 and final to clinch their 2nd title and fulfilled the massive expectations of fans and supporters.