Moments of 2020

Sportstar takes a look at some defining moments in sports from the year gone by.

Mumbai Indians
High five for Mumbai Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and inside a bio-bubble, the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) took off in the United Arab Emirates in September after a delay of six months. The tournament maintained all the new normal guidelines, but the winner once again was the good old Mumbai Indians. The franchise led by Rohit Sharma stood out for its planning, bench strength and batsmen such as Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, while the pace triumvirate comprising Trent Boult, James Pattinson and Jasprit Bumrah caused early inroads. Mumbai barely did any wrong besides losing two Super Over games. The side beat Delhi Capitals by five wickets in the final in Dubai to lift the IPL trophy for a fifth time. - Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya Photo: Sportzpics/BCCI
Sofia Kenin
Five winners in a row for Kenin It was the Australian Open final. Sofia Kenin had already had to come back from a set down. In game five of the decider, Garbine Muguruza had three break points on her opponent’s serve. What followed was two minutes of the most sensational tennis ever witnessed. Break point 1 saved with a backhand winner down the line. Another backhand winner down the line saves the second. A forehand winner at the end of an 11-shot rally and it’s deuce. Ace out wide, and now it’s advantage Kenin. Muguruza approaches the net, but Kenin whips a cross-court passing shot to win the game. “It was the best five shots of my life,” Kenin said later. “That game’s going to be with me forever.” Kenin reeled off the next three games to become the youngest Australian Open champion since Maria Sharapova in 2008. - Neil Rodricks Photo: Getty Images
MS Dhoni
'From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired’ Speculation about Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s future began after India’s ouster from the ODI World Cup in 2019. The cricketing fraternity, fans and administrators gauged that Captain Cool would call it a day sooner or later. What they didn’t expect was that Dhoni would put up a small post on Instagram on August 15 calling curtains on his glorious international career. “Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired...,” Dhoni posted quietly as India celebrated its Independence Day, while tributes poured in from players and fans across the globe. Dhoni, however, continued to feature in the Indian Premier League, leading Chennai Super Kings. - Shayan Acharya Photo: Instagram
Liverpool ends 30-year wait Liverpool’s Premier League triumph in 2020 was the club’s first top-flight English title in 30 years. Jurgen Klopp’s side broke several records during its dominant run, including winning the trophy with seven games to spare, eclipsing the Manchester clubs, which had both triumphed with five matches to go in the past. Liverpool also tied the record for most wins in a Premier League campaign — 32 — with Man City. Klopp’s men also matched the home records of Chelsea, Man United and City, claiming 55 points at Anfield stadium in the 2019-20 season. - Dominic Richard Photo: Getty Images
36 all out
49204084041 It reads like a phone number, doesn’t it? That’s the sequence of scores of India’s batsmen in the second innings of the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. Despite taking a first-innings lead, Virat Kohli’s men fell flat on the Adelaide pitch to an inquisitive pink ball in the second innings. None touched double digits as Australia restricted the tourists to a lead of 89 runs. Australia chased down the target inside 21 overs as India reached a new low in Test cricket. The game was skipper Kohli’s last one of the tour before flying to India for the birth of his child. The tourists even lost Mohammed Shami for the remainder of the Tests, the senior fast bowler taking a blow from Pat Cummins and fracturing his arm. Josh Hazlewood (5/8) and Cummins (4/21) were the tormentors-in-chief as 36/9 became India’s lowest-ever score in Test cricket history. - Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya Photo: Getty Images
Armand Duplantis
Reaching the sky Pole vault legend Sergey Bubka summarises the track-and-field event as a combination of athletics and gymnastics. Now throw in the exuberance of youth and a charming face to promote the discipline, and Armand “Mondo” Duplantis ticks all the boxes. The 21-year-old broke Renaud Lavillenie’s indoor world record on February 8 when he first jumped 6.17m in indoor clearance and 6.18m exactly a week later. Duplantis also broke Bubka’s outdoor world record of 6.14m at the Rome Diamond League in one of the finest moments in the history of pole vault. Duplantis was adjudged the 2020 Male Athlete of the Year by World Athletics and also won the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal — the annual award for the most significant Swedish sports achievement of the year. - Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya Photo: Getty Images
Diego Maradona
El Diego no more Argentine superstar Diego Maradona died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Dique Lujan in Buenos Aires province on November 25, less than two weeks after undergoing brain surgery. Tributes poured in from all parts of the world for the joint winner of FIFA’s Player of 20th Century award. Despite the second half of his playing career being marred by drug use, Maradona will always be remembered for the way he carried his country to World Cup victory in 1986 — and especially the two goals he scored against England in the quarterfinals of the tournament. - Dominic Richard Photo: Getty Images
Novak Djokovic
A dark day for Djoker Nole Novak Djokovic had already won the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, before the coronavirus pandemic sent sports into a tailspin. Tennis resumed in the middle of the year, and the US Open was the second Major to be played in 2020, after Wimbledon was cancelled and the French Open was postponed. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were not travelling to Flushing Meadows because of the pandemic, leaving Djokovic as the only man standing between him and a fourth US Open title. That moment came in the fourth round against Pablo Carreno Busta, when the world No. 1 accidentally hit a line official in the throat with a tennis ball after losing his serve and became the first top-seeded player to be disqualified from a Grand Slam singles tournament. - Neil Rodricks Photo: AP