Twenty20 cricket is an unyieldingly unpredictable game. If you weren’t familiar with the sport, it’d be difficult to see how so much can happen and how quickly things can change in the space of two 20-over innings.
But it never ceases to amaze, and it’s a format that brings out the facets of cricket that everyone really enjoys seeing. There’s big hitting, fast bowling, enormous team totals, humungous winning margins and tight, tense, dramatic finishes.
It’s why the format has become almost universally appreciated, and the biggest indicator of its popularity is the IPL. The interest in the competition seems to have been cranked up once again this year, and it’s easy to see why, with the dynamic, enterprising and downright outrageous cricket that has been played so far.
So after Sunrisers Hyderabad lost to the Bangalore Royal Challengers on Sunday, let's take a look at those parts of T20 cricket we all love to see: Big team totals, great winning margins and narrow victories.
All statistics are courtesy of ESPNcricinfo.com
Biggest Team Totals
Here are the biggest team totals accumulated in this year’s tournament so far:
|Kings XI Punjab||206/4||18.5||Chennai Super Kings|
|Chennai Super Kings||205/4||20.0||Kings XI Punjab|
|Kings XI Punjab||193/3||18.4||Rajasthan Royals|
|Kings XI Punjab||193/6||20.0||Sunrisers Hyderabad|
|Rajasthan Royals||191/3||20.0||Kings XI Punjab|
Kings XI Punjab still dominate this particular category, with some stratospheric scoring in the early stages of the tournament.
In fact, the biggest total accumulated so far was when Punjab were looking to chase down a very impressive score of 205/4 set by the Chennai Super Kings.
What team has the best batting line-up?
But that was no problem for George Bailey’s Kings XI team, as a knock of 95 from 43 balls from his Aussie teammate Glenn Maxwell got Punjab past Chennai’s total, with seven balls to spare too!
Another incredible innings of 89 from Maxwell in his next outing helped his team to the third-highest total of the tournament, an overall score of 193/3 against the Rajasthan Royals, before yet another score of 95 from 43 balls from the 25-year-old saw the Kings XI side notch 193/6 in their win against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
It was some remarkable hitting from Maxwell in those opening games that saw Kings XI Punjab achieve so many high totals. But the Aussie has slowed down a little in his three games since, scoring a total of 66 runs from three knocks.
His knock of 45 last time out was still impressive though, and it keeps him in control of the orange cap, the award for the batsman with the most runs in the competition:
The kind of batting Maxwell showcased in the infancy of the competition doesn’t happen too often, and if any side was to better his team's score of 206/4, it’d come as a great surprise.
Kings XI Punjab do need Maxwell to rediscover his blistering best, though, as they lost their first game of the competition in their most recent clash against the previously winless Mumbai Indians.
Greatest Winning Margins
Here are the greatest winning margins in the competition so far:
|Bangalore Royal Challengers||8 wickets||146||Delhi Daredevils|
|Bangalore Royal Challengers||7 wickets||116||Mumbai Indians|
|Kings XI Punjab||7 wickets||192||Rajasthan Royals|
|Chennai Super Kings||7 wickets||142||Mumbai Indians|
|Chennai Super Kings||93 runs||178||Delhi Daredevils|
|Kings XI Punjab||72 runs||194||Sunrisers Hyderabad|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||41 runs||164||Mumbai Indians|
|Chennai Super Kings||34 runs||149||Kolkata Knight Riders|
The Delhi Daredevils have endured a couple of heavy defeats already in this tournament. They’ve been on the end of the biggest defeat both in terms of runs and wickets up to now but have managed to regroup and go again after some crushing losses.
Looking at things from a more positive slant, the Bangalore Royal Challengers have shown themselves to be experts when it comes to chasing a total. They’ve won games against the Daredevils and the Mumbai Indians by eight and seven wickets, respectively, leading the way when it comes to the most emphatic run chases.
Astute knocks from Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh managed to get them over line the line with ease against Delhi, whilst AB de Villiers and Parthiv Patel did the business against Mumbai.
Chennai’s enormous 93-run win over Delhi on April 21 is still comfortably the biggest victory we’ve seen by runs so far. Kings XI Punjab’s stellar batting line-up sees them second in that category after their target of 194 was 72 runs too good for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In what was arguably the most thrilling match of the competition so far, a stunning knock from de Villiers helped the Bangalore Royal Challengers overcome Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets, with just one ball to spare.
South African de Villiers finished on 89 not out in an innings in which he faced 41 balls. He hit six fours and eight sixes for his 89, and his captain Kohli hailed AB as the best T20 player in the world in the aftermath, per Sports.NDTV.com:
He (AB) is the best player in the world by far. He has shown it every now and then, and he has shown it again today why he is rated the number one in the world in any format. It was one of the best innings in T20 I have seen.
Today was one of the days we needed someone to win the game from that tough situation. The way de Villiers was striking the ball under pressure, it was just amazing.
The aforementioned Maxwell, the leading run scorer in this year’s tournament at the time of writing, was also quick to pay tribute to the South African's efforts on social media:
AB, that is a different level...— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) May 4, 2014
Aside from de Villiers’ sensational late flourish, we’ve also seen plenty of other dramatic finales throughout this tournament.
On April 24, the Kolkata Knight Riders managed to hold off a late charge from the Challengers, with de Villiers’ team coming up just a couple of runs short on this occasion.
Also, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals tied in their clash, with both sides ending up on 152 runs after their 20 overs. That meant a one-over eliminator was played to decide the contest, but even after the extra six deliveries each, these two sides couldn’t be split, as both teams accumulated 11 additional runs!
Eventually, Rajasthan were awarded victory due to their superior boundary count.
If De Villiers can continue this sensational form, he looks the most likely to trouble Maxwell as the most prolific batsman in the competition. The South African oozes class in this format, and you suspect that after such a terrific knock, his game will go from strength to strength as the competition rolls on.