An old, unpleasant feeling returned to haunt Delhi Capitals (DC) in the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) final. The side made a messy start, falling to a precarious 16 for two in the fourth over. Mumbai Indians (MI) pacer Trent Boult was on fire, putting his team firmly in the driver’s seat.
This was similar to what happened when the two sides met in Qualifier 1 just a few days earlier. DC had lost its first three wickets without putting a run on board, with Jasprit Bumrah joining Boult to wreak havoc. On both occasions, DC’s attempts to repair the early damage fell well short.
In Bumrah and Boult, MI boasted of a skilled duo who could win the match inside the PowerPlay. If Boult’s accuracy and movement did not get the batsmen, Bumrah’s pinpoint yorkers did.
In the summit clash, it was down to DC skipper Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant to drag their side to a respectable total of 156, but DC’s hopes of inflicting a similar early collapse on MI were thwarted by opening batsmen Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock.
All too often, teams take the cautious route and stumble when faced with par targets. MI went the other way, intent on putting the match to bed with a serious assault at the top. This approach worked to perfection as captain Rohit and de Kock powered their team to 58 for one in five overs, deflating DC’s hopes entirely.
Sharma may not have been in the best form coming into the final, but he showed his class when the team needed him the most.
He was confident at the crease, totally unfazed by the big occasion. At no point during his 51-ball 68 did he look troubled, and this confidence rubbed off on his teammates.
Suryakumar Yadav is known to possess a great deal of confidence, but he showed another endearing quality on the day. A horror call led to Rohit and Suryakumar being stuck at the same end. By common logic, the blame for the mix-up should have fallen on Sharma, who rushed out for a single without even looking at his unmoved partner. Yadav would have been justified in standing his ground, but, in a selfless move, he quickly crossed Sharma to sacrifice his wicket. The captain made the most of his lifeline, taking MI to within 20 runs of the target before falling to Anrich Nortje.
DC did manage to scalp two more wickets, but Ishan Kishan’s unbeaten 19-ball 33 ensured a comfortable win for MI.
MI had a near perfect day at the office, coming out on top even in the tactical battle. The inclusion of off-spinner Jayant Yadav in the playing XI — only for the second time this season — came as a surprise. Given that DC had no less than four left-handed batsmen in the lineup, MI believed that Jayant was better than leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.
The move worked as Jayant removed in-form southpaw Shikhar Dhawan with a flighted beauty. Jayant finished with great figures of 1/25 in his four overs, showing that he was primed and ready to shine on the big stage.
It was obvious that MI entered the field with plans to counter every scenario. Pant fell for the leg trap, hooking a short ball from Nathan Coulter-Nile to deep fine-leg. Shimron Hetmyer was deceived by a slower bouncer outside off-stump from Boult, tapping it straight to short third man. Armed with skilled bowlers capable of executing all plans perfectly, MI had all fronts covered.
MI, as it had done throughout this edition of the IPL, showed no chinks in the armour. There could not have been a more deserving champion.
Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 157 for 5 (Rohit 68, Kishan 33 not out, Nortje 2-25) beat Delhi Capitals 156 for 7 (Iyer 65 not out, Pant 56, Boult 3-30, Coulter-Nile 2-29) by five wickets.
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