Final, Dubai Sports Club (DSC), 10th Nov 2020
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 156/7, Shreyas Iyer 65* Trent Boult 3/30 lost to Mumbai Indians 157/5, Rohit Sharma 68, Anrich Nortje 2/25 by 5 wickets
Man of the match: Trent Boult
Some jinxes last so long that they are deemed a curse, like Delhi Capitals’ jinx of the opener’s golden duck. Some jinxes are broken and suddenly, it becomes just an illusion of the mind, like Mumbai Indians breaking their title drought in the even years. MI put up a performance worthy of a four-time champion – lethal with the ball, clinical in the field and ruthless with the bat. DC were like the grandfather clock pendulum, swinging to an abject defeat from an unsparing victory over SRH two nights ago. The IPL 2020 deserved a nail-biting final, but this was just another 2020-thing.
The Boult bolt that felled the hulk
DC’s gamble to open with Marcus Stoinis boomeranged as Trent Boult got him with a ripper of a delivery. In one stroke, Boult struck two blows – negated Stoinis’ promotion to the top of the order and burdened an already brittle DC middle order. The wicket also meant Ajinkya Rahane had to play the watchful game and denied DC the license to go berserk in the powerplay. And the pressure to score quickly got to Rahane very quickly, giving Boult his second wicket of the night.
Jayant Yadav – an inspired selection
The solitary change in the MI line-up was Jayant Yadav, brought in to take on the DC batting loaded with left handers. The move was questioned, given he replaced Rahul Chahar, by experts and fans alike. But all he needed was three deliveries and before DC could recover from the twin Boult blows, Shikar Dhawan was bowled attempting the slog sweep. Yadav’s success was that one wicket, but it was big – as Dhawan, a slow starter, could bat deep and bat the opposition out of the game.
The Iyer-Pant recovery act
Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant had had a lean run with the bat in this edition of the IPL and the law of averages necessitated a big innings from both. Iyer and Pant stitched a 96-run partnership that managed to bring a smile to Ricky Ponting’s face. However, just when it seemed that DC would manage to score 160-170 runs, Pant fell to Nathan Coulter-Nile. With MS Dhoni not present in the international scene any longer, this IPL was a golden chance for Pant to establish himself as his successor but a below-par season has only aided the cause of the other claimants to Team India’s wicketkeeper spot. Pant’s big hitting capabilities are undisputed, it was his finishing skills that were under scrutiny. With his show today, Team India still awaits its next finisher in white ball cricket.
Ro-hitman is back
Rohit Sharma’s batting is a treat to the eyes, a fact no cricket lover would deny. His batting in the final wasn’t anywhere close to his best, but what was encouraging was that he showed no signs of discomfort running the ones and twos. His improved fitness is definitely a boost before the tour of Australia. Sharma’s old nemesis – the run-out – made an appearance, with Surya Kumar Yadav being the latest victim. Luckily for MI, the impact to the chase was minimal.
Ishan Kishan – MI’s best batsman this season
Ishan Kishan finished as MI’s best batsman in IPL 2020 and vindicated their investment in him. Despite missing out on the first couple of games, Ishan showed intent every time he stepped in to bat. Between Quinton de Kock’s opening sprint and the Hardik Pandya-Kieron Pollard closing lap, Ishan has been that runner who has carried the baton while maintaining the lead. His calm knock in the final to take MI home even as Rohit and Pollard were dismissed just short of the finish, underlines his maturity as a batman. Kishan has now graduated from a pocket dynamo to a dynamite.
Where do DC go from here?
DC can go home a happy bunch for they have ticked most of the boxes. Prior to the IPL, DC looked a complete side – on paper, but they lost a few key moments in the crunch games. When they fielded, lofted shots landed in empty spaces and while they batted, they found the fielders. This could be attributed to the jitters of the big final and DC can take heart in the fact that many champion teams have fallen to this. DC should look to strengthen their batting for next season and friend-zone consistency. There can be no better coach than Ponting to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and DC could soon be a regular in the play-offs. For now, the runner-up spot for the first-time finalists is not a bad place to be – a job almost well done.