One of the few overseas cricketers to have featured in every edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) since its inception in 2008, Dwayne Bravo is rightly considered to be a legend of the tournament. Having played 134 IPL matches so far, the Caribbean all-rounder has scored 1483 runs and claimed 147 wickets in the last 12 years.
Here’s a look at five such occasions when Dwayne absolutely stole the show in IPL.
62* vs RAJASTHAN ROYALS (IPL 2015)
Roped in by Chennai Super Kings in 2011, Dwayne Bravo had fast become a trusted general in MS Dhoni’s army. By 2015, CSK fans had become familiar with Dwayne Bravo’s hard-hitting down the batting order, which had rescued the side from numerous difficult situations. The match on March 19, 2015, was a similar scenario.
After a strong start by opener Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis had returned to the pavilion early with CSK’s scorecard reading 39/3 when Bravo came to the crease. The Caribbean star scored a quick 62 off 36 balls, hitting eight boundaries and a six, to give Rajasthan Royals a tricky target of 157. Though Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson’s 144-run partnership made the run chase easy, CSK had reached a respectable target because of Bravo.
64* vs KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS (IPL 2008)
Starting his IPL career with the Mumbai Indians in 2008, Dwayne Bravo had started turning heads with his bat early on. After Brendon McCullum’s massive introduction as a T20 specialist in the IPL opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders were the team to beat in that edition. The Sourav Ganguly-led side, however, had struggled for most of the tournament that year and Mumbai Indians were one of the teams to do the double on them.
After wrapping up KKR for a paltry total of 137 runs, Mumbai Indians had their task cut out. However, an early collapse saw Ajinkya Rahane, Sanath Jayasuriya and Manish Pandey returning to the pavilion with Mumbai scoring just 25 runs in the first five overs. Bravo’s game needed to contradict his usual explosive nature and he exhibited his mature self by scoring a 53-ball 64 to take Mumbai home. His innings had eight boundaries and one big hit as Mumbai walked to an easy victory from a difficult position.
68 vs MUMBAI INDIANS (IPL 2018)
Dwayne Bravo has rated this as his best innings ever in his IPL career. Chennai Super Kings were returning to the tournament after their two-year-ban and needed to regain credibility, and the season-opener was set aside for the celebrated rivalry between Mumbai and Chennai. The match lived up to the expectations. Batting first, Mumbai Indians had posted a steep target of 166 following some bountiful hitting by Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Krunal Pandya.
Seeking the old coordination in their reassembled side needed time and CSK, quite expectantly, saw an early collapse with the side reeling at 75/5 after 12 overs. With most of the batsmen gone, Bravo was left with little option but to see out his innings, but “the Champion” had other plans. He took the onus on himself and pressed his foot harder on the pedal, scoring a blistering 30-ball 68 that had seven sixes and three boundaries. CSK wrapped up the match with one ball remaining.
70* vs KINGS XI PUNJAB (IPL 2009)
One of the big reasons why Dwayne Bravo has always been a sought after T20 batsman is his ability to float in the batting order. Having come to bat in the middle order for the most part of his career, Bravo never hesitated when he was tasked with opening the innings as well,
One such situation arrived in 2009 when Dwyane Bravo was playing for Mumbai Indians. After Kings XI Punjab had posted a target of 120, Mumbai Indians had decided to send him to open alongside Sanath Jayasuriya. After the Sri Lankan opener was dismissed early on and Rahane followed suit, Bravo and Sachin Tendulkar paired up to wrap up the match by the 17th over. Scoring a 59-ball 70, Bravo’s innings was laced with three sixes and seven boundaries as he proved his versatility once more.
BRAVO vs KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS (IPL 2015)
Dwayne Bravo’s insane demand in T20 cricket is not only for batting but also for his shrewd bowling prowess, especially at the death overs. One of the best displays of Bravo as a bowler came in 2015 when Chennai Super Kings were hosting Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai. CSK were limited to 134 after they batted first against the then defending champions.
KKR looked to be on the right track while chasing the target with 45 runs remaining in the last five overs as the visitors had six wickets in hand. Dhoni could only turn to Bravo at the face of defeat and the player delivered. Bowling the 16th over, Bravo claimed the wicket of Yusuf Pathan, who looked to be in good touch. In the 18th over, he sent Pat Cummins and Piyush Chawla home, ending his two overs by conceding just eight runs and taking three wickets.
Needing 17 overs in the final over, KKR’s last hopes were Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate who could hit a fair distance as well. However, Bravo’s impeccable length meant Doeschate couldn’t score a single run in the first three balls. Though Bravo was hit for 6, 6, and 4 in his last deliveries, the outcome was already decided.
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