The tenth edition of the Indian Premier League saw some stunning batting performances that really lit up the league.
While few established stars justified their price-tags with scintillating displays, few youngsters really made a name for themselves with overwhelming displays.
A look at the top 5 batting performances of the recently-concluded IPL
Chris Lynn vs Gujarat Lions - Match 3, Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium
Chris Lynn had come into the IPL with a reputation of being a bludgeoner, thanks to a scintillating show by the batsman in the Big Bash League in Australia. And he did his reputation no harm against Gujarat Lions at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
Opening the innings with skipper Gautam Gambhir, in place of regular opener Robin Uthappa, Lynn’s unbeaten innings of 93 off just 41 balls not only took KKR home with 31 balls to spare, but also ensured that the Lions were never in the contest in the second half of the game.
Chasing 184 for a win was not expected to be an easy task even though it was a belter of a track, but Lynn made his intentions clear from the word go. He hit the last ball of Praveen Kumar’s first over for a boundary over the square-leg fielder and that was that.
What followed after that was clear carnage as he used his power-hitting skills to bash eight sixes and six boundaries. He was intent on taking the Gujarat bowlers to the cleaners. Short or full, they were all headed to one direction — the boundary.
He along with Gautam Gambhir also ended up registering the highest opening-wicket stand in the history of IPL surpassing Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan’s opening stand of 167 against Pune in 2013.
Ben Stokes vs Gujarat Lions - Match 39, MCA Stadium
Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steven Smith scored just 4. Former skipper MS Dhoni struggled to 26 off 33 balls. But Ben Stokes scored his first 50 off 38 balls and the second one of 23 balls against Gujarat Lions.
Clearly showing why RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka had shelled out Rs 14.5 crore to bag the English all-rounder during the auction ahead of season 10.
Stokes battled cramps and a disciplined Gujarat Lions bowling attack to not only hit his maiden IPL ton, but also take Pune home with a ball to spare. Dan Christian might have hit the winning six, but that took nothing away from the lion-hearted effort from Stokes.
Having bowled four overs, Stokes returned to the crease with Pune struggling at 10/3 chasing 162 for victory. Having scored just 127 runs in the previous 7 innings, he rose to the occasion when the team needed him most to hammer 103* off just 63 balls with 6 sixes and 7 fours.
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, Stokes showed that form is temporary and class is permanent. His 76-run partnership with Dhoni might have played a big factor in Pune chasing down the total, but truth be told, it was Stokes who single-handedly absorbed the pressure of the ever-increasing required run-rate.
With Dhoni struggling to up the ante, he first launched into Ravindra Jadeja in the 10th over of the innings to pick 15 runs and bring the required run-rate below the 10-run mark and then once again tore into Dwayne Smith in the 16th over to pick 16 runs and ensure that Pune needed just 44 runs off the last 4 overs.
Even though MS Dhoni perished trying to up the ante in the 17th over off Basil Thampi, Stokes stuck on, fighting cramps, to see his team through. It was indeed a colossal effort from the Englishman.
Sunil Narine vs Royal Challengers Bangalore - Match 46, M Chinnaswamy Stadium
Sunil Narine tore apart the records books in stunning style as he slammed the fastest Indian Premier League half-century against a hapless Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling attack at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Chasing a target of 159, Chris Lynn first made his intentions clear by hitting two fours and a six in the first over itself. However, Narine exploded in the fourth over of the chase and took Samuel Badree to the cleaners by hitting boundaries at will.
Three huge sixes and a four in the first four balls from Badree set the tone for Narine's innings. In the next over, Narine slammed four boundaries and one huge six off the bowling of Sreenath Aravind to notch up his half-century off just 15 deliveries.
Narine now joins Yusuf Pathan at the top of the pile as far as fastest fifty in the cash-rich league is concerned. Yusuf too slammed a half-century off 15 deliveries against Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2014.
Narine’s onslaught also helped KKR set the record for most number of runs scored by a team in the powerplay overs (first six overs) in IPL.
MS Dhoni vs Mumbai Indians - Qualifier 1, Wankhede Stadium
MS Dhoni turned back the clock in spectacular style as he struck a scintillating 26-ball 40* against Mumbai Indians to guided Rising Pune Supergiant into the final of the competition.
With the wicket in Mumbai playing tricky, Pune were placed on 121/3 after 18 overs and it looked like they would end somewhere around the 140-run mark. Both Manoj Tiwary and Dhoni were struggling with the wicket holding up and the Mumbai bowlers bowling a disciplined line. But what happened next is stuff legends are made of.
Going into the 19th over, Tiwary was the first one to break the shackles as he hit Mitchell McClenaghan for a four and a six. After that, Dhoni took over and hit the pacer for two sixes as Pune collected 26 runs from the 19th over.
In the 20th over, Tiwary decided to take a single and watch the show as Dhoni first went over covers off Jasprit Bumrah and then went for a double off a mistimed pull. The next one was headed straight over the sightscreen as Dhoni cleared his left leg and went up and over.
Even though Tiwary was run out of the last ball, the damage had been done as Pune picked 15 from the last over. In fact, they picked 41 off the 73 runs they added for the 4th wicket off the last 12 balls.
Krunal Pandya vs Rising Pune Supergiant - Final
Krunal Pandya was named the man of the match in the final of the tournament as it was his runs that helped Mumbai win their third IPL title.
The Rising Pune Supergiant were all over their opponents as they reduced Mumbai Indians to 79/7 in just 14.1 overs. But Pandya dug in and stitched an invaluable fifty-run partnership with Mitchell Johnson to push Mumbai's total to 129 runs, which gave their bowlers a target to defend.
Pandya kept on rotating the strike and with Mitchell Johnson giving enough confidence to his partner that he could stick around till the end, Pandya went for the jugular in the penultimate over, hitting a six to take Mumbai Indians to 115/7 with one over to go.
He then slammed a boundary and a six off consecutive deliveries of the last over bowled by Dan Christian to take Mumbai's total past the 120-run mark. Pandya perished on the last delivery of Mumbai's innings, but not before scoring all important 47 runs off 38 deliveries.