Ranking IPL 7's Top 50 Moments and Performances
The 2014 Indian Premier League has drawn to a close after six dramatic weeks, with the Kolkata Knight Riders claiming a thrilling victory over Kings XI Punjab in the tournament's final.
Fittingly, the competition's finale mirrored the breathtaking excitement that has surrounded this IPL campaign—an exhibition that will undoubtedly be remembered as the most remarkable season in the tournament's short history.
Filled with extraordinary innings, stunning catches, sublime bowling spells and moments of drama, cricket's most glamorous tournament was a brilliant spectacle in 2014.
Across the following slides, we rank the Top 50 moments and performances that defined this season's IPL showcase.
50. Kieron Pollard Has His Watch Broken by Morne Morkel
Few men enjoyed a more eventful time during this season's IPL than Keiron Pollard.
When Pollard faced up to Kolkata's Morne Morkel in the opening match of the tournament, the cricket world witnessed one of the more peculiar incidents ever seen in the game.
Morkel's attempt to rough up the West Indian resulted in Pollard's watch—which he was strangely wearing on his leading wrist while batting—being split into two pieces.
Cue the jokes regarding the batsman's poor timing.
49. David Warner Blowing a Kiss to Kieron Pollard
David Warner has never shied away from stirring up an opponent. Just ask England.
During this season's IPL, the feisty Australian opener was at it again.
Coming up against the flamboyant Kieron Pollard, Warner responded to some of the West Indian's words with the sort of reaction only he would contemplate: blowing a kiss in Pollard's direction.
The bowler's reaction was just as entertaining.
48. Dale Steyn Hugs AB de Villiers After Match-Winning Innings
AB de Villiers' stunning assault on his South African counterpart Dale Steyn features later in this list.
Yet there was a delightful moment shared between the international teammates in the aftermath of De Villiers' incredible innings.
As the teams met each other in the middle of the ground to shake hands, Steyn warmly hugged the man who had just taken his bowling apart, recognising the significance of what had just occurred.
While the 2014 IPL season has seen some heated confrontations, the embrace between the two South Africans was one of the more pleasant moments of the tournament.
Note: The moment can be seen at 2:45 in the video.
47. Glenn Maxwell's One-Handed Catch on the Boundary
Glenn Maxwell's brutal assaults on the competition's bowlers weren't the only performances of note from the Australian.
It has long been recognised that the 25-year-old is among the finest fielders in the game. Quick across the ground with superb reflexes and hands, Maxwell has carried on the archetypal Australian standard previously set by the likes of Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds.
That was on display when the Kings XI took on the Delhi Daredevils on May 19.
After Wayne Parnell had launched a high ball towards Maxwell on the boundary, the Punjab star claimed the ball with one hand as it headed over the rope.
46. Manan Vohra's Back-Foot Six over Cover
Amid the heroics of Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and Virender Sehwag, it has been difficult for other members of the Kings XI batting line-up to take centre stage.
But against the Delhi Daredevils on May 19, Manan Vohra did just that.
Facing up to Indian fast-bowler Mohammed Shami, the talented 20-year-old pushed onto the back foot and launched the right-armer over the cover boundary with a gracious swing of the bat.
Vohra's superstar teammate, Maxwell, expressed his awe of the shot when he remarked on Twitter:
How well are the 2 young lads Akshar Patel and Manan Vohra going?!? Absolute superstars! Manan's shot over cover=shot of the tournament..
45. Mitchell Starc's Superb Pair of Catches
Not normally renowned for his fielding exploits, Mitchell Starc completed two superb catches against the Kings XI on April 28.
The first saw the Australian sprint around the edge of the boundary rope to claim a fast-moving ball high to his left to dismiss Wriddhiman Saha.
The second was more impressive, as the fast bowler rushed in from the boundary to claim a low diving catch to remove Glenn Maxwell.
Unfortunately, Starc’s efforts weren’t enough to save his team from defeat after they set a total of just 124.
44. Suryakumar Yadav's Athletic Catch
Suryakumar Yadav played only a peripheral role in the Kolkata Knight Riders' campaign in 2014.
But the young Indian all-rounder pulled off a sensational catch from the bowling of Sunil Narine to dismiss the dangerous Rajasthan captain, Shane Watson.
As the miserly West Indian stifled the Royals, Watson looked to launch the finger spinner over long on. However, the Australian's heave couldn't clear the boundary rope, leaving Yadav to complete an extremely athletic effort in that saw him maintain his balance beautifully.
In a vast collection of great catches during IPL 7, Yadav's was among the best.
43. Faf du Plessis' Pair of Brilliant Catches
Faf du Plessis completed a stunning pair of catches in the same match a week before Mitchell Starc accomplished the same feat during this season's IPL.
After setting the Delhi Daredevils a 178 target for victory on April 21, Chennai dismantled their opponents for just 84—an effort largely aided by Du Plessis.
With brilliant athleticism, the South African dismissed both Murali Vijay and Manoj Tiwary in the space of an over with two stunning catches as he sprinted for balls soaring over his head.
42. Amit Mishra’s Farcical Runout
It was a case of third time lucky for the Rajasthan Royals, as Hyderabad’s Amit Mishra became involved in one of the most comical run outs ever witnessed.
Facing up to James Faulkner, the right-hander couldn’t lay bat on ball, but proceeded to meander down the pitch, only to be sent back by his partner.
Dejected and frustrated, Mishra simply strolled back towards his crease as the Royals enjoyed three attempts to throw the stumps down, the third of which ended the leg-spinner’s brief stay at the crease.
41. Piyush Chawla's Catch off His Own Lip
The Kolkata Knight Riders endured difficulties with skied catch opportunities in the final of this season's IPL.
Sunil Narine put down a straight-forward chance off his own bowling, while Piyush Chawla almost made the same mistake a few overs later.
However, the Knight Riders spinner was able to make surprisingly good use of his mouth. After missing the ball at the first attempt, it bounced straight off of his lip and into his waiting hands.
40. David Miller's Six onto the Roof
The IPL witnessed its fair share of sixes in 2014, but none were bigger than David Miller's monumental blow against Bangalore on May 9.
Facing up to Harshal Patel, the left-handed South African stepped forward and savagely dispatched the ball onto the roof at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Miller's colossal strike measured 102 metres in total, according to the broadcasters in the video.
39. Gautam Gamhbir Avoiding Four Consecutive Ducks
There are few things in cricket worse than the dreaded “Audi”—four ducks on the trot.
And that’s what Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain Gautam Gambhir narrowly avoided at the beginning of this year’s IPL tournament.
In a torrid opening to the competition, the left-hander recorded three consecutive scoreless efforts against Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, respectively.
Somewhat comically, the former India star avoided a fourth successive naught by the narrowest of margins, scoring just one run against Punjab in his subsequent innings.
38. Kieron Pollard's Kicked Run out
Acts almost defying belief became Kieron Pollard's specialty in the 2014 edition of the IPL.
To go along with his collection of highlight-reel moments, the Mumbai Indians star showcased his adept footwork to run out Yuvraj Singh with a rather audacious boot of the ball.
While Yuvraj was at the crease, Bangalore retained hope in their chase of Mumbai's 187-5.
But Pollard's brilliant run out effectively ended the contest, leaving the West Indian to enjoy a characteristic dance.
37. Sunrisers Hyderabad Mauling Sandeep Sharma
The top-heavy batting line-up of the Sunrisers Hyderabad had failed to hit its stride during the opening weeks of the tournament.
And when the Kings XI Punjab visited the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, the in-form Sandeep Sharma would have liked his chances of claiming a haul of scalps.
But it didn't work out that way for the right-armer.
In four miserable overs, Sharma was blasted for a tournament-high 65 runs by the Sunrisers' batsmen. Naman Ojha, in particular, landed some devastating blows on the seamer's bowling.
Yet, surprisingly, Sharma's disaster didn't end up hurting his team, as the Kings XI thumped their way to 211-4 to chase down Hyderabad's total with eight balls remaining.
36. Piyush Chawla's 3/19 vs. Kings XI Punjab
Piyush Chawla produced a key performance during the Kolkata Knight Riders' sterling run to the IPL playoffs.
When his team met the all-conquering Kings XI Punjab on May 11, the Knight Riders had just completed the first triumph in what would become eight consecutive victories.
Had Gautam Gambhir's team succumbed to Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, Kolkata would have been unlikely to progress from the league phase.
As a result, Chawla's capture of 3/19 from four tight overs is among the Knight Riders' most significant performances of the tournament.
By dismissing Maxwell, Virender Sehwag and Rishi Dhawan, the leg-spinner helped restrict Kings XI to just 149—a total that was chased down with nine wickets and two overs to spare.
35. Kieron Pollard's Match-Winning Cameo vs. Kings XI Punjab
The Mumbai Indians hadn't won a single match during the UAE leg of the tournament. When they returned home to India, they had the unenviable task of taking on the red-hot Kings XI Punjab.
Needing a kick-start to their campaign, Kieron Pollard played a match-winning cameo in Mumbai's chase of 169 to deliver the Indians with their first win.
Up against the ferocious Mitchell Johnson, the West Indian powerhouse clubbed 20 from the game's penultimate over to tip the balance in favour of the men in blue.
Pollard's powerful hitting saw him blast 28 from just 12 balls to kick-start Mumbai's turnaround.
34. Royal Challengers Bangalore Collapsing to 5-4 vs. Rajathan Royals
Virat Kohli’s Bangalore outfit entered this year’s IPL as one of the expected heavyweights. Due to a star-studded batting line-up, it was anticipated that RCB would simply overwhelm opposing bowling attacks.
That theory, however, failed to come to fruition.
In the 14th match of the tournament against Rajasthan, the Royal Challengers imploded in dramatic fashion, losing four wickets for just five runs in only 2.2 overs.
It was symbolic of the side’s immense struggles in this season’s competition.
33. Chris Lynn’s Spectacular Catch
It immediately looked as though AB de Villiers had won the match for his team. Needing six to win in the 11th match against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the South African star heaved Vinay Kumar’s delivery towards the mid-wicket fence.
Tracking the high ball was Chris Lynn.
But as the Australian prepared himself, he slipped to leave himself in an awkward position just prior to the ball’s arrival.
Incredibly, Lynn flung his body back to hang onto the ball while almost horizontal in the air, before falling just inside the boundary rope to save the match for Gautam Gambhir’s team.
32. David Warner's 90 vs. Chennai Super Kings
David Warner's growing reputation as an international star was only enhanced during this season's IPL.
With the unbalanced nature of the Sunrisers Hyderabad outfit, the Australian was forced to float up and down the batting order to complement the team's less versatile players.
Although the left-hander performed well in the middle order, it was in the opener's position that he completed his best knock on May 22.
In Hyderabad's successful chase of Chennai's 185-3, Warner thrashed 90 from just 45 balls with his typically punchy stroke play to guide his team home.
31. Sunil Narine's 4/20 vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore
There were a number of impressive bowling spells recorded throughout the tournament, but it's the ones that occurred on Indian soil that really stood out.
During the UAE leg of the IPL, the faster men enjoyed friendly conditions and cashed in with hauls of wickets.
In India, however, the batsmen dominated—making Sunil Narine's capture of 4/20 against Bangalore on May 22 so much more impressive.
In their chase of Kolkata's 195-4, the Royal Challengers were ripped apart by the West Indian. In addition to the wicket of Yogesh Takawale, Narine claimed Bangalore's three big scalps: Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers.
Despite the severe treatment given to Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar, the visitors fell 30 runs short thanks to Narine.
30. Yuvraj Singh's 68 vs. Delhi Daredevils
Only two days after carrying his side against Rajasthan, Bangalore's Yuvraj Singh was at it again versus the Delhi Daredevils on May 13.
On the batsmen-friendly surface at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, the Indian superstar crunched nine sixes in a spectacular 68 that spanned just 29 deliveries.
Delhi's Imran Tahir and Rahul Shukla suffered the bulk of the onslaught, as Yuvraj powered his side to a rare victory in the 2014 edition of the IPL.
29. Akshar Patel's Bowling Spell in the Final
It's not easy to defend runs at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. That had been evident throughout the duration of the tournament—just ask Dale Steyn.
However, in the IPL's final, Akshar Patel completed one of the most impressive bowling spells of the tournament.
Despite the rest of Punjab's attacking conceding more than 10 runs per over, the left-arm spinner leaked just 21 runs in his five overs.
With superb length and variations in pace, Patel smothered the Kolkata batsmen during his 24-ball spell.
If not for the inadequacy of his supporting cast, the young spinner's spell might have hauled Kings XI Punjab to tournament glory.
Note: No relevant images or videos available
28. David Miller's 51 vs Rajasthan Royals
After posting an imposing 191-5, Shane Watson's Rajasthan Royals looked well-placed to defeat Kings XI Punjab in the seventh match of the tournament.
Despite a rapid 89 from Glenn Maxwell, the men in blue still appeared to be in a strong position when the precocious Australian was dismissed with the score on 126 in the 14th over.
However, it was Maxwell's trusty partner, David Miller, who turned the game on its head. In just 19 deliveries, the South African hit six towering sixes to reach an unbeaten 51.
Miller's incredible innings ripped the game away from the Royals and saw the Kings XI storm home with a comfortable eight balls to spare.
27. Yuvraj Singh's 83 vs. Rajasthan Royals
Bangalore's top order stuttered to an extremely slow start against the Rajasthan Royals on May 11. After 8.1 overs, the Royal Challengers had reached just 40-3.
That all changed when Yuvraj Singh arrived at the crease.
From just 39 deliveries, the powerful left-hander crashed his way to 83 with seven fours and seven gigantic sixes.
Sadly, it wasn't enough to secure victory for his side, as Rajasthan completed a remarkable comeback to heap further misery on Virat Kohli's team.
26. Sunil Narine's 19th over vs. Kings XI Punjab
Few bowlers have ever possessed the vice-like grip over Twenty20 batsmen quite like Sunil Narine. Through a combination of deceptive variations and impeccable length, the West Indian has risen to become the pre-eminent T20 bowler on the planet.
His talent was epitomised during the first qualifier of the playoffs in 2014.
With Kings XI Punjab needing 34 runs from 12 deliveries to snatch victory, Narine completed an unparalleled penultimate over.
Bowling to Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey, the Kolkata star conceded just four runs in six decisive balls, sealing victory for the Knight Riders and propelling his team straight into the tournament's final.
25. Glenn Maxwell's 89 vs. Rajasthan Royals
Punjab's Glenn Maxwell could simply do no wrong in the opening weeks of the 2014 IPL season.
Just four days after a match-winning innings in his team's opener against the Chennai Super Kings, the dashing Australian was at it again versus the Rajasthan Royals.
After a slow start by Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha, the 25-year-old changed the game's tempo with a thunderous 89 from just 45 deliveries.
Maxwell's performances ripped the game away from Rajasthan and the Kings XI recorded an emphatic victory by chasing down the required 192 with eight balls to spare.
24. Ravindra Jadeja's 4/12 vs. Kolkata Knight Riders
The Kolkata Knight Riders appeared to have the edge over the Chennai Super Kings on May 2 after limiting the hosts to 148-3.
Although the match had been reduced to a 17-over contest, Gautam Gambhir's side looked capable of breaking the form slump that had plagued the team's UAE leg.
Enter Ravindra Jadeja.
Despite a bright start from Robin Uthappa, the left-arm spinner brought the Kolkata innings to a grinding halt. In the space of four overs, Jadeja claimed the wickets of Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan and Suryakumar Yadav, conceding just 12 runs in the process to dismantle the visitors.
Statistically, it was the finest bowling performance of the tournament.
23. Glenn Maxwell’s 95 vs. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Just four days after tearing Chennai apart, Glenn Maxwell repeated the feat against Sunrisers Hyderabad to deliver another comprehensive victory for his team.
In identical numbers to his performance against the Super Kings, the 25-year-old hammered 95 from 43 deliveries, this time doing so with nine enormous sixes.
Irfan Pathan, Amit Mishra and Darren Sammy in particular were dealt with severely, as Maxwell scorched his side along to an imposing 193-6.
22. Umesh Yadav's 3/13 in 1st Qualifier vs. Kings XI Punjab
The Kolkata Knight Riders had set Kings XI Punjab a moderate target of 164 in the first qualifier of the 2014 IPL playoffs.
After an early onslaught from Robin Uthappa, George Bailey's men had pegged back the in-form Kolkata outfit.
However, after Umesh Yadav's four overs, Gautam Gambhir's side were comfortably in command of the match.
From four incredibly tight overs, the right-arm seamer claimed the wickets of Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey while conceding just 13 runs.
It was undoubtedly Yadav's finest showing in an impressive campaign.
21. Lendl Simmons' Century vs Kings XI Punjab
Lendl Simmons was drafted in late by the Mumbai Indians as cover for the injured Jalaj Saxena.
It turned out to be one of the best pieces of business in the tournament.
In eight innings, the West Indian thumped 394 runs at an average of 56.28 to haul Mumbai away from the foot of the table and into the playoffs.
Of course, no innings completed by Simmons was finer than his brilliant century against the dominant Kings XI outfit.
Chasing 157 for victory, the right-hander cruised to his unbeaten 100 from just 61 deliveries to seal a double for the Indians over Punjab.
20. Shane Watson's Hat-Trick
After Pravin Tambe's dramatic performance against Kolkata, Shane Watson claimed the second hat-trick of the 2014 IPL against Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 8.
The Australian first dismissed Shikhar Dhawan with the final ball of the fourth over, before returning to the attack toward the conclusion of the innings.
With his opening delivery of the 17th over, the right-armer had fellow Australian Moises Henriques caught in the deep before capturing the wicket of Karn Sharma with the very next ball.
Unfortunately, Watson's hat-trick couldn't alter the result, as the Rajasthan Royals collapsed to 102 all out in their chase of just 135.
19. Match-Winning Heroics from James Faulkner and Steve Smith
Chasing Bangalore’s massive 190-5, the Rajasthan Royals looked destined for defeat during their chase when James Faulkner joined Steve Smith at 106-5 in the 14th over.
Instead, the Australian pair completed one of the most memorable heists in IPL history, hammering a collective 89 runs from 38 deliveries to stun Virat Kohli’s side.
With grace and power, Smith clattered 48 from just 21 balls. Faulkner scored even quicker, hammering 41 from 17.
Again, the star-studded RCB outfit was overwhelmed by a seemingly inferior opponent.
18. Kieron Pollard’s Clash with Mitchell Starc
Tension simmered throughout the Mumbai Indians’ clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium on May 6.
And it all came to the fore when Mitchell Starc and Kieron Pollard faced off with one another.
Leading up to the clash, words were exchanged after a fierce bouncer from the Australian, which saw the West Indian signal Starc back to his mark.
Pollard then attempted to withdraw from the left-armer’s next ball just prior to his delivery stride, only to see Starc direct the ball at the batsmen.
Ugly scenes ensued, with Pollard throwing his bat towards the bowler and players and officials arguing all around the pitch.
While the incident was far from savoury, it ranks as one of the most significant moments in the tournament.
17. Piyush Chawla's Six off Mitchell Johnson in the Final
Mitchell Johnson was on the verge of completing a decisive six-ball set in the penultimate over of the IPL final.
After conceding just four runs in the first five deliveries, it appeared as though the Australian spearhead was changing the game's complexion.
But on the last ball of the over, Johnson dropped short. Piyush Chawla, who is recognised as a useful lower-order batsman, quickly picked up the length and dispatched the ball over the square-leg boundary.
The momentum then swung violently in favour of Kolkata.
16. Glenn Maxwell’s 95 vs. Chennai Super Kings
When the Chennai Super Kings set Kings XI Punjab 206 runs to win in the third match of the tournament, we all knew that there was only one man capable of propelling his team to victory.
Enter Glenn Maxwell.
From just 43 deliveries, the Australian thumped 95 runs with a colossal 17 boundaries, bullying the Super Kings bowlers with thunderous stroke play.
Maxwell’s devastating innings meant that George Bailey’s side reached their immense target with a comfortable seven balls to spare.
15. Corey Anderson's 95 vs Rajasthan Royals
After weeks of underwhelming performances, Mumbai's Corey Anderson finally delivered the sort of innings that had been expected of him in this season's IPL.
Arriving at the crease needing to blast the Indians home in rapid fashion to secure a playoff spot, the New Zealander thundered his way to an unbeaten 95 from 44 deliveries.
Included in the left-hander's brutal innings were nine fours and six sixes, which simply overwhelmed James Faulkner, Shane Watson, Pravin Tambe and Dhawal Kulkarni.
While it wasn't Anderson who struck the telling blow to see Mumbai through, his innings was the catalyst for his team's incredible victory.
14. George Bailey's Match-Defining Run out
George Bailey produced one of the defining moments of the IPL season when he spectacularly ran out Chennai's Suresh Raina in the second qualifier of the playoffs.
Raina had turned the game on its head against the Kings XI, blasting 87 runs from just 25 deliveries in the Super Kings' chase of 227.
In the prior over, the left-hander had belted an incredible 33 runs to push Chennai to 100-2 in six staggering overs.
But, from the first ball on the seventh over, Raina and Brendon McCullum had a slight mix-up between the wickets, which saw Bailey pounce to produce a stunning run out of the rampaging Indian.
13. Kieron Pollard’s Incredible Catch
Kieron Pollard has already featured prominently on this list, but no moment produced by the West Indian could surpass his absolutely breathtaking catch against the Rajasthan Royals.
In a sublime three-part effort, Pollard plucked the ball out of the air with one hand as he approached the boundary rope, before launching it over his head and diving back into the field of play to claim a truly spectacular catch.
Cricket’s history is, of course, littered with brilliant pieces of fielding, but Pollard’s grab will be remembered as one of the finest.
12. Super-over Tie Between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders
Drama was in abundance in Abu Dhabi during the Rajasthan Royal’s clash with the Kolkata Knight Riders on April 29.
Twenty overs apiece had failed to separate the sides as both reached 152, leaving a super over to decide the game’s outcome.
Extraordinarily, Kolkata and Rajasthan compiled identical totals again in the extra six balls afforded to each side.
That left the boundary count to determine the outcome, which meant a stunning victory to Rajasthan after Steve Smith pushed an intelligent two from the final ball of the match.
11. Pravin Tambe's Hat-Trick vs. Kolkata Knight Riders
Chasing 171, the Kolkata Knight Riders looked set to cruise a comfortable victory against Rajasthan at Ahmedabad on May 5.
That was until one of the most disastrous batting collapses ever to occur in Twenty20 cricket.
From 121-0, Kolkata slumped to 123-6 in the space of eight balls, as the 42-year-old Pravin Tambe claimed a hat-trick to bring the Knight Riders to their knees.
Even more remarkably, Tambe’s first wicket came via a stumping from a wide, meaning his hat-trick came from just two legal deliveries.
10. AB de Villiers' Mauling of Dale Steyn
Watching national teammates face off in the IPL can be extremely intriguing when encounters are tight.
So when AB de Villiers readied himself to take on Dale Steyn in the penultimate over of RCB’s clash with Hyderabad, all eyes were glued to the South African showdown.
What transpired was sensational, as De Villiers annihilated the right-armer to thump 22 runs from Steyn’s over to seal an emphatic victory for his side.
No shot was more spectacular than the right-hander’s final six, which saw the South African utilise a lofted scoop to devastating effect.
9. Glenn Maxwell's 90 vs. Chennai Super Kings
Glenn Maxwell had a knack for heaping misery on the Chennai Super Kings in the 2014 edition of the IPL.
Less than three weeks after torching MS Dhoni's team around Abu Dhabi, the Australian launched a savage assault on the men in yellow in Cuttack on May 7.
Arriving at the crease at 33-1, the 25-year-old quickly seized the initiative from Chennai. With one colossal blow after another, Maxwell crunched 90 from just 38 deliveries to continue his stupendous early form.
No bowler received harsher treatment than Ravichandran Ashwin. The off-spinner conceded 38 runs in two overs as the Kings XI superstar continually sent the Indian's deliveries deep into the crowd.
A team total of 231-4 quickly followed.
8. Yusaf Pathan's 72 vs. Sunrisers Hyderabad
The Kolkata Knight Riders endured a poor start to the 2014 IPL season, but following the conclusion of the UAE leg of the tournament, Gautam Gambhir's side quickly turned it all around.
As consecutive victories began to pile up, a top-two finish became a realistic target for the Knight Riders.
To elevate past the Chennai Super Kings and do that, though, Kolkata had to surpass the net run rate of MS Dhoni's men. That required Kolkata to reach a target of 161 against Hyderabad in 15.2 overs in their last league-phase match.
Remarkably, they achieved the feat in just 14.2, as Yusuf Pathan hammered a stunning 72 from just 22 deliveries—breaking Adam Gilchrist's record for the fastest IPL half-century in the process.
7. Aditya Tare's Final-Ball Six vs. Rajasthan Royals
The Mumbai Indians' path into this season's playoff was simply absurd: After five straight defeats to begin the tournament, the defending champions put together wins in six of their next eight to soar up the points table.
In the final match of the league stage, they still needed to edge Rajasthan's net run rate by completing a resounding victory over the Royals.
Remarkably, it came down an almost ludicrous situation, which is explained in-depth here.
Essentially, the Indians had tied—not exceeded—Rajasthan's 189 in the required 14.3 overs, but to separate the teams on net run rate, an extra delivery was afforded.
Dramatically, Aditya Tare clubbed James Faulkner over the fence to propel Mumbai into the playoffs in the most drama-filled match of the tournament.
6. Manish Pandey's 94 vs. Kings XI Punjab
The Kolkata Knight Riders faced a difficult task to defeat Kings XI Punjab in the IPL final on Sunday.
After Wriddhiman Saha's 115, Gautam Gambhir's team required 200 for victory in the tournament's finale.
Up stepped Manish Pandey.
From just 50 deliveries, the 24-year-old gracefully struck his way to a superb 94, which included seven fours and six sixes.
Unfazed by the speed of Mitchell Johnson or the turn of Karanveer Singh, the right-hander completed one of the IPL's finest innings to seal tournament victory for his side.
5. Wriddhiman Saha's 115 vs. Kolkata Knight Riders
Wriddhiman Saha certainly wasn't the first candidate one thought of when considering which Kings XI Punjab star would shine in the IPL's final.
However, the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman became the first man to score a century in an IPL finale, crunching a sublime 115 from just 55 deliveries to steer his team to an imposing total of 199-4.
Including in the 29-year-old's knock were 10 fours and 8 sixes—an incredible figures for a player so slight in build.
Most impressive was Saha's ability to score from the bowling of Sunil Narine.
However, his innings went in vain, as Kolkata secured a three-wicket victory with three balls to spare.
4. Suresh Raina's 87 vs. Kings XI Punjab
No one gave the Chennai Super Kings a glimmer of hope in their chase of Punjab's 226-6 in the second qualifier of the 2014 playoffs.
But when Suresh Raina exploded, it looked as though the impossible could become reality.
Taking the attack to Mitchell Johnson, Sandeep Sharma and Parvinder Awana, the stocky left-hander blasted an extraordinary 87 from just 25 balls to push Chennai to the fastest start imaginable.
In one incredible over, Raina annihilated Awana for 33 runs, thumping every single delivery—including a no ball—either to the fence or over it.
Disappointingly, the Chennai superstar was dismissed in the seventh over after a brilliant run out from George Bailey, all but ending the contest.
3. Virender Sehwag's 122 vs. Chennai Super Kings
Turning back the clock, Punjab's Virender Sehwag produced the finest innings of the tournament during the second qualifier of the 2014 playoffs.
With a devastating array of crunching blows, the former India superstar bludgeoned the Chennai Super Kings into submission.
From only 58 deliveries, Sehwag raced to an unforgettable 122—an innings that included 12 trademark fours and eight glorious sixes.
Propelling George Bailey's side to a colossal 226-6, Sehwag's performance was the most significant batting display of the tournament.
2. Piyush Chawla's Four to Win the IPL
Piyush Chawla had already crunched the game-changing six off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson in the 19th over of the IPL final, but the Knight Riders star didn't stop there.
Needing four runs for victory, the left-hander slashed Parvinder Awana over the infield and down to the backward-point fence to secure a famous triumph for Kolkata.
Chawla himself took off on one of the most ecstatic victory celebrations you're ever likely to see.
1. Kolkata Knight Riders Lift the IPL Trophy
For the second time in three seasons, the Kolkata Knight Riders have proved too strong for their IPL opponents across the duration of the campaign.
Gautam Gambhir's team endured a difficult beginning to the 2014 season before completing a nine-game winning streak on their march to the IPL title.
Individually, Robin Uthappa and Sunil Narine were the Knight Riders' standout performers and arguably the most decisive players in the tournament for their respective disciplines.
By overcoming an abysmal opening to the competition and superbly leading his team to a famous triumph, Gambhir showed that T20 cricket is about more than batting firepower.
When Kolkata lifted the trophy after the IPL's final, they were worthy champions.
All statistics courtesy of ESPN Cricinfo.
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