T20 is generally considered a batsman's format, with big scores becoming the norm over the years. But a lot of exciting matches have come in the form of low-scoring encounters as well. The IPL has had its own share of exciting matches over the years where teams have managed to defend really low scores.
5 Lowest totals defended successfully in IPL 2020
At IPL 2020, only one score below 160 was defended successfully. After the surge of 190-plus scores that we got to see initially, scores around 160 became par in the second half of the season.
Here, let us take a look at the lowest totals that were successfully defended during the IPL 2020.
5. Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab (164/6, won by 2 runs)
KXIP would have ended up ruing this defeat when they lost out on an IPL playoff position by a whisker. KL Rahul too admitted that he had no answers as to what happened in this game.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, KKR did not have an ideal start, losing a couple of early wickets. Shubman Gill combined with Eoin Morgan to steady the ship in the middle, and built a 49-run partnership. Then came an out-of-form Dinesh Karthik, who played his best innings of IPL 2020 and gave the scoring some much-needed impetus.
His calculated risks and intelligent hitting ensured that the side reached a par-score of 164 from 20 overs. Karthik was dismissed off the last ball of the innings, having scored 58 runs from 29 deliveries.
The KL Rahul-led KXIP got off to a great start. After the openers helped the team race away to 115, Mayank Agarwal was dismissed for 56 runs off 39 deliveries. KL Rahul (74 off 58) combined with Nicholas Pooran (16 off 10) to build yet another partnership, and KXIP, at one point, required just 21 runs to win from 17 balls with nine wickets in hand.
That was the start of an incredible collapse. It got to a point where the Punjab franchise needed 14 runs off the final over against Sunil Narine. They fell short by 2 runs in the end. It was a miraculous comeback from the KKR perspective, but this game was one to forget for KXIP.
4. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (163/5, won by 10 runs)
Over the years, RCB has not been a side which we associate with defending low or below par totals. But the bowling department of RCB had a lot more venom coming into IPL 2020. The results showed some good efforts with the ball, especially towards the middle stages of the IPL. But they showed glimpses of how good they were capable of being even at the start with this effort against SRH.
163 was never a par total on a decent track at the Dubai International Stadium. Devdutt Padikkal got going at the top of the order and scored a half-century. Both Aaron Finch and Virat Kohli got starts but played knocks which were just run-a-ball, which certainly affected the total towards the end.
An excellent cameo from AB de Villiers (51 from 30) at the end helped RCB to gather enough runs for the bowlers to bowl at.
Even though SRH lost David Warner quickly, they recovered well with a good partnership between Jonny Bairstow (61 off 43) and Manish Pandey (34 off 33). They put together a 71-run partnership for the third wicket.
And even when Bairstow was dismissed, SRH required just 43 runs to win from 28 balls with 7 wickets in hand, which should not have been a herculean task. However, the rest of the batting order made a mess of the chase, losing 7 wickets for just 33 runs in 4 overs. Yuzvendra Chahal and Shivam Dube picked up 5 wickets between them, while conceding just 33 runs in 7 overs.
3. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Delhi Capitals (162/4, won by 15 runs)
Up against the highly-regarded Delhi Capitals, David Warner and Jonny Bairstow gave a solid start to the SRH innings, but it was not in a manner which we usually associate with the duo. They built a partnership of 77 runs from 9.3 overs before David Warner was dismissed for 45 runs from 33 balls.
Jonny Bairstow laboured his way through to the 18th over of the innings, scoring just 53 runs from 48 balls. But the real innings that gave SRH a fighting total came from Kane Williamson, who is not considered to be a power-hitter. He manoeuvred the field to perfection scoring 41 runs from 26 balls with five boundaries.
When Delhi Capitals came out to bat, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan put the strangle on the batsmen. None of the batsmen other than Shimron Hetmyer, and Kagiso Rabada towards the end of the innings, could really get going. And both these innings were so short-lived to make any real difference to the chase.
Since the fast bowlers tightened the noose on the scoring, the batsmen were forced to go after Rashid Khan. The Afghan leggie is at his most dangerous when batsmen go after him as DC found out in this match. He completed his spell with figures of 3 for 14, winning the Man of the Match award.
2. Delhi Capitals vs Rajasthan Royals (161/7, won by 13 runs)
After winning the toss, the Capitals chose to bat against the Rajasthan Royals, considering the possibility of the pitch further slowing down in the second innings. Even though Archer bowled a fiery spell at the beginning of the innings, dismissing both Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane cheaply, Shikhar Dhawan (57 off 33) and Shreyas Iyer (53 off 43) played sensibly and put together an 85-run partnership.
The partnership, along with minor contributions from Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey at the end, proved vital in putting up a score that the bowlers could bowl at. 161 was probably par on that pitch, and it needed some sensible batting to chase it down.
RR's strategy was to go hard at the target and ensure that the required rate did not creep up. It seemed to be working initially with the openers scoring 37 runs from the first 3 overs.
Then, they lost Jos Buttler and Steve Smith in quick succession. Ben Stokes (41 off 35) continued to attack along with Sanju Samson (32 off 27), but once again they lost both set batsmen in quick succession during the middle overs.
The rate kept climbing after that, and none of the other batsmen managed to get going with the pitch slowing down. In the end, RR's firepower was not enough to swing the match in their favour, and they lost the game by 13 runs.
1. Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (126/7, won by 12 runs)
The KXIP first-innings total was way sub-par even in a slowish Dubai track, and the game was in SRH's hands for most of the match. But KXIP were elated to win a close game after losing so many at the beginning of the IPL.
SRH had their plans in place, sending KXIP into bat and it seemed to be the right decision as they managed to restrict them to 126. Some of the top-order batsmen including KL Rahul (27 off 27), Chris Gayle (20 off 20) and Nicholas Pooran (32 off 28) got starts, but none of them got going.
It was no surprise that Rashid Khan was the pick of an economical bunch of SRH bowlers, finishing with figures of 2 for 14 in four overs.
The chase got off to the perfect start with the openers putting up 56 in the powerplay. David Warner had rocketed off to 35 off 20 balls. It was meant to be a walk in the park after that.
And even after losing three relatively quick wickets, Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar put on a reasonable partnership to get SRH close. It was 100/3 when Manish Pandey was dismissed on the first ball of 17th over. What followed was an unbelievable collapse. The Hyderabad franchise lost 7 wickets for 14 runs in 23 balls, losing the game by 12 runs in the end.