The Indian T20 League in its 12-year history has produced some memorable rivalries that have become important events of their own for the fans and the franchises.
As teams develop their own unique style of play and the association of certain players with franchises over the years, Indian cricket fans who wholeheartedly support the national team split right down in the middle when it comes to the Indian T20 League.
Here are the top five classic rivalries in the history of the Indian T20 League tournament:
#5: Team Delhi vs Team Punjab
The northern derby in the Indian T20 League is between two of the most unsuccessful teams in the history of the tournament as neither Team Delhi nor Team Punjab have laid hands on the trophy in their chequered history.
Team Punjab has been the superior team when the rivalry is taken into account since they have won 15 of their 26 encounters so far between both the teams.
But Team Delhi have levelled up their game since they donned a new avatar and they have won two of the last four fixtures between both the teams. The most recent match between Team Delhi and Team Punjab ended with a thrilling super-over, with Team Delhi winning the match in a low-scoring encounter.
Team Delhi’s entry into the final last year has dramatically increased the importance of the rivalry.
#4: Team Kolkata vs Team Bangalore
The rivalry between Team Kolkata and Team Bangalore goes all the way back to the inaugural match of the Indian T20 League in 2008. The match featured a dazzling century by Brendon McCullum for Team Kolkata, which instantaneously transformed the League into the most important cricketing event in the world.
Since that match, the rivalry has grown by leaps and bounds, with close finishes, heated arguments, and verbal altercations between the captains.
Of the 26 matches played by both teams, Team Kolkata have come out on top 14 times, while Team Bangalore are close behind with 12 victories.
The last edition of the Indian T20 League saw Team Bangalore dominate a hapless Team Kolkata, winning the first fixture by 82 runs and the reverse fixture with eight wickets left.
#3: Team Mumbai vs Team Kolkata
The rivalry between Team Mumbai and Team Kolkata started as the rivalry between two of the greats of Indian cricket – Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.
While Team Mumbai have a clear edge in the rivalry – as they do against all other teams – Team Kolkata always gave tough competition to Mumbai, making the matches a must-watch for fans of the game.
Team Mumbai have an overwhelming record over the Kolkata-based outfit since they have prevailed in a whopping 22 of the 26 matches between the teams so far. They have also won five of their last six encounters, making it a one-sided rivalry.
But statistics don’t reflect the true story and every encounter between both teams is an exciting prospect.
#2: Team Chennai vs Team Bangalore
The southern derby between Team Chennai and Team Bangalore is one of the most closely followed matches in the Indian T20 League.
The importance of the match stems not just from the quality of the teams, but also due to two of the most ardently followed players captaining the sides who have contrasting approaches to the game – with the passionate and aggressive Virat Kohli for Team Bangalore and the cool and calm Mahendra Singh Dhoni for Team Chennai.
Of the 26 matches between the teams, Team Chennai have prevailed over the Bangalore-based outfit 16 times, with Team Bangalore winning nine times.
Team Chennai are one of the best teams in the league, winning the title four times compared to Team Bangalore’s zero.
#1: Team Mumbai vs Team Chennai
The top rivalry in the Indian T20 League is unsurprisingly between the top two teams in the history of the League. Often referred to as El Clasico of India, the fixtures between both teams feature top-class performances in the shortest format of the game.
Team Mumbai have lifted the trophy a record five times, while Team Chennai come second with three titles to their name.
Team Mumbai and Team Chennai have faced each other 31 times so far in the League, which is more than any two teams. While Team Mumbai won on 19 occasions, Team Chennai have emerged victorious 12 times. Both teams have also faced each other in the finals thrice, with Team Mumbai prevailing on two occasions.
The highest runs scorer from these two teams is Suresh Raina (722 runs) of Team Chennai while the leading wicket-taker is Lasith Malinga (37) of Team Mumbai.
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