Irrespective of how this final pans out, this IPL will be remembered for more than one reason. The BCCI has held the IPL abroad earlier before, but to do so in midst of the Covid-19 pandemic without major glitches reinforces their position as a powerhouse in the world of cricket. The teams, to their credit, adapted to the constraints and ensured there was no let-down in the intensity of the games. After 53 days of cricketainment, the IPL juggernaut will reach its last stop today where the four-time title holder Mumbai Indians take on the first-time finalist Delhi Capitals. While the former have emerged as the front-runners to lift the trophy, the latter have been no pushovers. Given the big names on either sides, tonight’s game will be a thriller to watch.
Key players to watch out for
Quinton de Kock averages 42, with a strike rate of 138 in the powerplay. If DC can get him early, they can put pressure on MI’s middle order. Hardik Pandya has struck at 184 between overs 16-20. Dismiss him and DC can contain the damage at the end. The success of MI’s pacers has given extra rope for their spinners so DC’s openers will need to go hard at the spinners in the powerplay to put pressure on MI’s bowling attack. Against the leg-spinners and left-arm spinners, Shimron Hetmyer has struck at 139 in the last 2 years, averaging 28. He would definitely fancy his chances against Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar. Another interesting change could be MI playing Jayant Yadav in the place of Krunal Pandya, given that DC have 3 left-handed batsman. This could be a tricky move considering Krunal’s omission would weaken their batting by a bit. Marcus Stoinis’ promotion to the top gave DC a boost, but they would be wary of him falling early as this would add more pressure on an already underperforming middle order.
Two batsmen, who could be the trump cards for their respective sides, are Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant. Rohit averages just 15 with a strike rate of 117 and a solitary half-century for MI in the play-offs. There cannot be a better time for Rohit to improve his numbers, for his own sake and that of MI. Pant’s time, on the other hand, is running out. His inability to force the pace has denied DC the acceleration at the end. One good innings from Pant will not only benefit DC but also his claim to a spot in the India XI for their upcoming tour to Australia.
While MI have never seemed to be in any doubt about making it to the final, DC can consider themselves lucky to be there. They are pitted against MI, a well-oiled machine, who have churned out win after win. But DC are one win away from making history – one good game and all their mistakes from the season will be forgotten.