Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > News> Talking Point > IPL 2024: Six stunning moments that have lit up the season

IPL 2024: Six stunning moments that have lit up the season

The Indian Premier League season’s first 30 games have already produced some breathtaking displays with the bat and ball

M.S. Dhoni is rolling back the years.
M.S. Dhoni is rolling back the years. (PTI)

Every season we experience moments that are both stunning and inspirational in the Indian Premier League (IPL), franchise cricket’s biggest annual event. The first 30 games of IPL 2024 have already left some indelible impressions. Here’s our pick of the best:

Dhoni’s 666: Some are afraid of 666 as a mark of the devil, while for others it’s an angel number representing self-discovery. M.S. Dhoni’s 666 on Sunday night at the Wankhede stadium was definitely angelic, although to Mumbai Indians (MI) he was a familiar nemesis.

Also Read IPL 2024: How impact subs are changing batting

He walked out to bat in the last over, to the accompaniment of the usual crescendo of cheers, and thumped MI skipper Hardik Pandya’s last 4 balls for three sixes and a two. It took Chennai Super Kings (CSK) from 186 to 206, and the 20 he scored was CSK’s margin of victory in the end. If this isn’t scripted in heaven, what is?

For Dhoni to bat like that, after knee surgery and no competitive cricket since last year’s IPL, is one of those natural phenomena nobody can explain. He simply turned back the years like dialling a time machine. He even looks like his original avatar with his flowing hair.

Pant’s switch-hit: Excitement was high but expectations were low. Rishabh Pant’s return to the IPL was itself a miracle after his horrendous car crash in December 2022.He started promisingly but fell for 18 and 28 in his first two games. Then came a match-winning fifty against old foes CSK in Vizag, and everyone sat up and took notice: this was more than anybody had expected so soon.

Another fifty, followed by 41 in 24 balls to win a low-scoring encounter in Lucknow, showed it was no flash in the pan. His wicket-keeping has been equally impressive, with sharp catches. Pant is now a serious contender to regain his spot as India’s wicket-keeper for the T20 World Cup right after the IPL season.

Also Read 4 new shooting stars of IPL 2024

A moment to cherish was a switch-hit to the boundary off Marcus Stoinis in the game against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) last Friday. The nonchalance with which he swivelled around to hit it brought back to mind the audacity of reverse-scooping James Anderson of England in his pre-crash days. The usually serious countenance of Delhi Capitals (DC) director of cricket Sourav Ganguly lit up with a warm smile. Pant is back.

Heady century: Travis Head is in the form of his life. After his match-winning century for Australia in the ODI World Cup final in Ahmedabad last year, the left-hander smashed the fastest century of IPL 2024 in Bengaluru on Monday. His Australian team captain, Pat Cummins, who is also the skipper at Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), appears to bring out the best in the dashing opener.

His 39-ball century against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) began with a tame forward defence to off-spinner Will Jacks. After that, he swung at every ball to race to 102. It set up SRH’s record score of 287, topping their own 277 mark in Hyderabad last month. Strike rates are going through the roof, and we may see a 300+ total this season.

Kuldeep Yadav in action.
Kuldeep Yadav in action. (AFP)

Kuldeep’s googly: When LSG’s dangerous hitter, Nicholas Pooran, got bowled out by a Kuldeep Yadav googly for a first ball duck, it was a game-changing moment against DC last Friday. The sheer beauty of the ball beating the forward defence to go between bat and pad to the stumps was as good as it gets in leg-spin bowling. Yadav’s back-to-back wickets of Stoinis and Pooran, after dismissing LSG skipper K.L. Rahul earlier, broke the back of the opposition.

The left-arm leg-spinner is oozing confidence and panache, after his comeback from the wilderness in December 2022. Meanwhile, his right-arm counterpart, Yuzvendra Chahal, is enjoying another purple patch at the top of the wicket-taking table of IPL 2024. Will we see the return of “KulCha” to the Indian T20 team?

Also Read 10 players to watch out for in IPL 2024

Veteran’s second coming: Dhoni is not the only IPL veteran still going strong. Fellow wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik, who made his India debut around the same time as Dhoni 20 years ago, has featured in every IPL since 2008. But he found his mojo as a finisher only in IPL 2022. That year his strike rate of 183, alongside an average of 55 got him a seat to Australia for the T20 World Cup. Lamentably, a poor show there, followed by a low key IPL 2023, turned him into a commentator.

In between commentary stints during the India-England Test series before the IPL, however, he was busy practising his range of shots in the nets. The results are stunning, as we saw in his 83 from 35 balls on Monday to take RCB to 262, just 25 short of SRH’s mammoth 287. In the previous game, he made an unbeaten 53 in 23 balls against MI. If he keeps going at a 200+ strike rate, will he make it to the Indian T20 World Cup squad again? Anything is possible, as Dhoni and Karthik are showing with their inspirational longevity.

Rashid Khan in action.
Rashid Khan in action. (AFP)

The Tewatia-Rashid show: When Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan get together at the finish, watch out. They have conjured up unlikely wins time and again for Gujarat Titans (GT) since 2022. This time it was the turn of table-toppers Rajasthan Royals (RR) to feel the pain.

GT needed 40 to win from 15 balls when Rashid Khan joined Tewatia in the middle. They got busy hunting down the tall target of 197. But when Tewatia got run out in the penultimate ball, GT still needed 2 runs for victory. Rashid Khan coolly sealed it with a thumping hit to the point boundary off the last ball. The Afghan Titan’s arms akimbo pose at the end said it all.

Sumit Chakraberty is a writer based in Bengaluru.

Also Read IPL 2024: How the 10 teams stack up for the new season

Next Story