In a topsy-turvey season that threw up many thrilling finishes and was by all accounts the most competitive IPL so far, we take a look back at some of the moments of madness and brilliance that made IPL 5 a captivating competition ... on the field.
Nerveless Rohit steers Mumbai to last-ball victory
Deccan Chargers gave Mumbai Indians a stirring fight in defence of a total of 139, but Rohit Sharma struck a six off the final ball of the match to take the visitors to a nail-biting five-wicket win. He scored steadily without taking too many risks and just when the chase entered its final phase, Rohit accelerated with alarming speed, smacking four sixes in his last ten balls faced.
The Morkel heists, Gayle's butchery, Chawla's misery, Chandila's hat-trick and more in our round-up of the highlights of IPL 5.
Needing 18 from the final six over, Mumbai got four off the first ball as James Franklin drilled Daniel Christian down the ground; Franklin sprinted two off the second, then stole a bye off the third; with 11 required off three balls, Christian sent down a wide full toss which Rohit slashed over deep backward point for six; Rohit put in an excellent dive coming back for a crazy second run off the fifth; and with three to get off one ball, Rohit coolly clubbed a full toss over long-on for six to seal an outstanding victory.
Chennai score 42 in two overs
In an unbelievable match, CSK, chasing 206 to win, were left to score 42 off the final 12 balls. Albie Morkel looted 28 of those in six deliveries from a hapless Virat Kohli, and in the final over Dwayne Bravo top-edged a no-ball for four and slashed a one-handed six over third man before Ravindra Jadeja edged the last ball to third man to seal an unforgettable win.
Seemingly out of the contest after MS Dhoni fell on the last ball of the 18th over, Chennai needed 43 from 12 and Daniel Vettori tossed the ball to Kohli. With five amazing hits, Morkel brought the equation down to 15 off six balls. It was absolutely amazing stuff: the first ball was somehow inside-edged for four, the second smacked over long-on for six, the third edged to third man for four, the fourth deposited rows behind long-on, the fifth squirted to long-on for two and the sixth dumped for the biggest six of the match, again over Morkel's preferred long-on region.
Bravo got Morkel on strike for the second ball of the final over, but RCB heaved a collective sigh of relief when the burly allrounder drove it out to sweeper cover. There was more drama to follow, however. Vinay Kumar sent down a no-ball which Bravo top-edged past a sprinting Muttiah Muralitharan at fine leg for four, and then sliced a low-dipping full over third man to send the home fans into frenzy. A dot ball and single followed, and then Jadeja edged four to third man.
Ice man Hodge seals RR a thriller
Rajasthan were given a strong start from Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane but three wickets to Amit Mishra left them struggling for air. That's when Brad Hodge proved his versatility by taking Steyn for four consecutive fours en route to a nerveless 21-ball 48, and when the IPL debutant Dishant Yagnik carved Steyn for successive fours, Rajasthan had clinched a thriller.
When Hodge walked to the middle at the fall of Owais Shah in the 14th over, Rajasthan needed 75 from 40 balls with seven wickets in hand. It was a daunting task, considering that after Hodge there were no reputed batsman to follow. But the Australian swung the momentum back with four consecutive fours off Steyn – through point, past square leg, to third man and between the covers.
Then Johan Botha dumped Christian for a big six in the 18th over. Anand Rajan removed Botha with a slower ball, but Hodge smacked a straight four and a sliced six over extra cover to leave the target at 11 off six balls. Hodge carved the first ball from Steyn out to sweeper cover and sprinted two, flicked the second for a single and then Yagnik slapped a short ball to the point boundary to bring the Rajasthan dug-out to its feet. The winning shot came the very next delivery, as Yagnik punched into the covers and the boundary patroller made a mess of it.
Gayle tears into Rahul Sharma
Chasing 183 against Pune Warriors India, Bangalore needed 111 from 50 balls when Kohli departed. At that point Chris Gayle had faced 35 balls for 37 runs. Then he exploded. With five brutal blows, Gayle struck Rahul Sharma - the bowler with one of the best economy-rates in the IPL - for consecutive sixes to reduce the equation for RCB to 72 from 42. Whatever Rahul tried, it failed. A long hop was pulled over deep midwicket; a full ball was clipped off the pads; a length ball outside off-stump was carved over extra cover; a flat ball was savagely heaved over long-on; and a tossed up delivery on middle and leg was dumped rows back over deep square leg. Gayle's assault on Rahul was just the impetus RCB needed, but his blazing 81 wasn't the only significant innings. An amazing victory was achieved as AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary looted 24 off the final over, bowled by Ashish Nehra.
Chawla concedes 27 in an over
The penultimate over of Mumbai's chase in Mohali, bowled by Chawla, cost Kings XI Punjab 27 runs and the match. Needing 32 from 12 balls, the stars for Mumbai were Robin Peterson and Ambati Rayudu with a series of audacious shots off Chawla's legspin.
Peterson, on IPL debut, switch-hit Chawla for four in consecutive balls and then slog-swept him for six over deep midwicket. Another reverse-sweep got Rayudu on strike, and he stunned Punjab with back to back sixes to leave the equation at five runs from six balls. They ended up winning with a ball to spare. Peterson's bravado and Rayudu's power proved massive.
Miserly Morne Morkel chokes Rajasthan
In one of the tightest matches of IPL 5, South Africa and Delhi Daredevils pace bowler Morne Morkel bowled an outstanding 19th over to deny Rajasthan what appeared a simple win. Rajasthan wanted 15 off the final two overs with nine wickets in hand, but Morkel conceded just three runs in the penultimate over to stun them.
Mixing clever yorkers with accurate lines, Morkel bowled four dot balls and took out the dangerous Hodge with his final delivery – a full and fast ball that trapped the batsman in front of the stumps. There was drama in that over too; the fourth ball was fired down the leg side but the umpire, to Hodge's surprise, did not signal a wide. Umesh Yadav managed to defend 12 runs and Delhi dramatically snatched victory from nowhere.
Dwayne Smith pulls off a heist
On debut for Mumbai, Smith rose to the occasion to seal for his team the most thrilling last-ball finish of IPL 5. Mumbai had combusted after a century stand between Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit, but Smith held his nerve to smash the final three balls of the match for fours.
Mumbai needed 16 run off the final over with three wickets remaining. Ben Hilfenhaus allowed just one off the first ball, cleaned up Lasith Malinga with the second, and then conceded another single. Smith took strike with 14 required for victory, and proceeded to pull off a heist. The fourth ball was heaved over long-on for six, the fifth – a low full toss – was smacked over Hilfenhaus' head for four, and the final delivery smashed to long-off to seal a memorable win for Mumbai.
Ajit Chandila's hat-trick
Until the tall and lanky offspinner burst into the limelight on May 13, IPL 5 had not unearthed any unknown Indian talent. Delhi Ranji Trophy pace bowler Parwinder Awana had made himself counted for representing Kings XI Punjab, but Chandila's stunning hat-trick against Pune Warriors India was the first instance of a relative unknown making headlines.
An offspinner from Haryana, Chandila hardly had much domestic experience but his Rajasthan captain Dravid had the faith to give him the first over. When Jesse Ryder miscued a slog to mid-on, there was a sense that it was the batsman's fault. But when Chandila had Sourav Ganguly stumped down the leg side next ball, there was excitement all around. Those two wicket-taking deliveries had been ordinary, but the ball that brought Chandila an unprecedented hat-trick – the first of IPL 5 – was a good one. It pitched outside off-stump and gently turned away to beat Robin Uthappa, who too was stumped.
An animated Chandila celebrated with gusto, and finished a stellar spell (4-0-13-4) by holding a simple return catch off Anustup Majumdar. He later thanked his mentor Narendra Hirwani and Dravid for encouraging him in his second match.
Gurkeerat Singh stuns DC
Chandila's star turn was followed by rookie Punjab batsman Gurkeerat combining with his captain Hussey to steal a last-ball win over Deccan. In only his second game of IPL 5, the 21-year-old Gurkeerat displayed impressive cool in helping Punjab win off the last ball in a tense chase.
Punjab needed 20 off the final seven balls of their chase, and Gurkeerat slashed Steyn's final ball past point for four. Hussey stole a single off the second ball of the final over, bowled by Manpreet Gony, and had a word with his young partner. The next ball, Gurkeerat hung back in his crease in expectancy of the short ball and when it came, he pulled it for a flat six. Immediately Hussey ran down and expressed his satisfaction. Two runs came off the next ball to level the scores, and then the field was brought up. Gony again dropped it short and Gurkeerat pulled the final ball over the infield for four, finishing on 29 from just 12 balls. Thanks to his innings Punjab managed to stay alive in the tournament.
Bravo's last-ball six
Chennai's topsy-turvy campaign received a stirring boost in a business-end match against Kolkata at Eden Gardens, with Bravo hitting the final ball of the game for six. CSK needed five runs of that ball and Rajat Bhatia, who had until then conceded just four runs while bowling Dhoni, sent down a low full toss. Bravo made it count, smacking it high over midwicket. The ball stayed up in the air for some time, during which the entire Chennai dug-out jumped out to watch its trajectory. When it landed beyond the boundary, the team rushed out to mob Bravo. In a tournament with many heart-stopping finishes, this was right up there with the best humdingers.
Dale Steyn versus RCB
In a match they needed to win to stay alive in IPL 5, RCB were stunned by a red-hot Steyn, who bowled the spell of the season. With Deccan defending 132 on a slow pitch, Steyn lifted the disappointment of their season with a bowling effort that reduced the tournament's strongest batting line-up to a sideshow. Bowling at high pace and with unerring accuracy, Steyn removed Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan in a fiery three-over spell and returned to clean up Zaheer Khan in his final over. Gayle's head was targeted before Steyn trapped Dilshan lbw and bowled Gayle via an inside edge. His analysis of 4-0-8-3 was the most economical of the season, and for those first three overs it was impossible to take your eyes off Steyn.
MS Dhoni comes to the party
In the Eliminator, having recovered from 1 for 2 thanks to a 94-run stand between Michael Hussey and S Badrinath, Chennai had been rocked by three wickets in 12 balls. Fortunately for them, the tentativeness that had affected Dhoni's form in the league stage was refreshingly absent as he attacked from the get-go and remained busy at the crease. A 112-metre six off James Franklin that landed on the roof was a sign of things to come. Dhoni hammered Dhawal Kulkarni through the offside like a cannon twice in a row and then pulled him to fine leg; Lasith Malinga was heaved through midwicket with ferocity; RP Singh lofted inside-out over extra cover; even the helicopter came out, as Malinga was stunningly whipped from off-stump for a flat six over midwicket. Dhoni reached his fifty off the final ball of the innings to lead his team to score that proved way out of Mumbai's reach.
Kolkata down Chennai for maiden title
Kolkata's success in 2012 owed to a host of performances from a bunch of believers, and this was epitomized in the dying stages of a thrilling final. Kolkata's chances seemed dim after three wickets fell in a clump, the last of which was Jacques Kallis for 69, but crucial hits from Shakib Al Hasan and Manoj Tiwary ensured the hard work was not squandered.
Kolkata needed 20 from the final two overs with six wickets in hand, but when Kallis sliced a full toss to sweeper cover the mood changed in their dug-out. Then Ben Hilfenhaus sent down another full toss that was called a no-ball, from which Shakib and Tiwary scampered two runs. The final ball of the penultimate over was coolly paddled for four to leave KKR nine to get from six balls. Shakib and Manoj Tiwary exchanged singles before Tiwary swung Dwayne Bravo over short fine leg for four. Tiwary finished it with another pull through the same region, and then pumped his firsts in celebration as the adrenaline flowed and his team-mates raced from the dug-out in joy.