After leaving millions of fans in suspense for several months, the world’s biggest domestic T20 league is all set to get underway. The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League will be kicking off in the UAE this Saturday as Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians will once again do the honours of participating in the league’s first match. While the tournament will certainly be missing its loyal fans in the stadiums amid the ongoing pandemic, the prospect promises to be nothing short of yet another mouthwatering affair. As we build towards the much-awaited extravaganza, we roll back the years and reminisce some of the most memorable moments from the IPL matches that have been played in Vizag so far.
#1 Rohit Sharma’s last-ball six- Deccan Chargers vs Mumbai Indians (2012)
2012 saw Deccan Chargers adopt Vizag as their home ground for two league matches. After losing its first game in the city to Chennai, the team from Hyderabad locked horns with Harbhajan Singh’s Mumbai Indians on 9 April. After putting up 138 on the board, the Chargers were led by a superb effort from Dale Steyn with the ball. Thanks to the South African’s heroics, the visiting team had their task cut out while chasing the relatively small target. While the majority of Mumbai’s batsmen found the going tough, Rohit Sharma anchored the innings single-handedly. The right-hander scored a valuable half-century to take the game to the last over. With 3 runs required off the final ball of the match, Sharma deposited a full toss from Daniel Christian into the crowd to guide Mumbai home to victory.
#2 MSD’s last over heroics- Rising Pune SupergiaRisnts vs Kings XI Punjab (2016)
While Chennai Super Kings was missing from the action in 2016, a certain Mahendra Singh Dhoni certainly wasn’t. The ninth edition of the IPL saw MS Dhoni continue his love affair with Vizag as he managed to pull off a last over heist for Rising Pune Supergiants against Kings from Punjab. Chasing 173 for victory, RPS needed 23 runs off the last over with MSD taking guard against Punjab’s Axar Patel. And as one would expect, the master finisher treated the crowd to some exquisite hitting as he invariably drove his team home in style. Smashing 2 fours and 2 sixes- including one of the final delivery- Dhoni scripted a remarkable chase and gifted yet another fond memory to cricket fans in Vizag.
#3 Rishabh Pant ‘eliminates’ the Sunrisers- Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (2019)
In what came as a last-minute surprise, Vizag was presented with the opportunity to host two playoff matches in last year’s IPL. In the first playoff at the ACA-VDCA ground, Delhi Capitals took on Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator. Chasing 163 to secure a place in Qualifier 2, Delhi got off to a rollicking start with openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan making merry in the powerplay. However, SRH soon turned the tide in their favour by picking a bunch of wickets in quick succession. Just when things started to look bleak for the Capitals, their star player, Rishabh Pant held the fort as he pummeled the SRH bowlers to all parts of the park. Smashing a brilliant 49 off 21 balls, at a strike rate of 233, the swashbuckling left-hander won the game for Delhi and deprived the Orange Army of a place in the second qualifier.
#4 Jadeja’s all-round show- Deccan Chargers vs Chennai Super Kings (2012)
Making special memories in Vizag, alongside the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and MS Dhoni, was team India’s star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. As Chennai Super Kings clashed swords with Deccan Chargers in an away game in Vizag, the stage was set for a Jadeja show-first with the bat and then with the ball. Coming into bat in the 13th over, Jadeja smashed a stunning 48 off 29 balls that included 3 fours and 3 maximums as CSK finished with a daunting score of 193. Defending the score, the man from Saurashtra spun a web around the Chargers as he gave them no chance whatsoever. Jadeja’s figures of 5 wickets for 16 runs in 4 overs continue to remain his best in the tournament so far.
#5 Dale Steyn’s fiery spell- Deccan Chargers vs Mumbai Indians (2012)
Who doesn’t love to see a fast bowler on a song- steaming in towards the crease, hitting the deck hard, making the batsmen’s life incredibly difficult and probably breaking a stump or two. Those who were in the stadium for the 2012 IPL clash between Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in Vizag, were feasted to once such spectacle by a South African great. Dale Steyn fired on all cylinders as the Chargers gave the Indians a tough fight in their defence of a modest total. The pace gun was near unplayable on the night and ended up picking 3 wickets for 12 runs in his quota of 4 overs.