IPL 2020: Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals gear up for battle royal
While defending champions Mumbai Indians have been consistently strong in reaching this stage, Delhi Capitals have had a fairly tortuous route.
The remarkable manner in which the Delhi Capitals regrouped to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad has added a zing to tonight’s final.
It’s been a thrilling IPL 2020, full of upsets and upheavals, and of the more dramatic stories has been the Delhi Capitals maiden entry into the final.
While the four-time title winners and defending champions Mumbai Indians have been consistently strong in reaching this stage, Delhi Capitals have had a fairly tortuous route.
For the first three-four weeks of the tournament, both these teams looked evenly matched in talent and were going neck and neck in securing point. That they should meet in the final seemed a logical prediction to make.
Delhi then hit a massive slump thereafter, and while they finished no. 2 on the points table, looked a team terribly short on confidence, losing five matches out of six heading into Sunday’s do-or-die clash against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The David Warner-led Sunrisers Hyderabad were the more favoured side in this clash for the aggressive manner in which they reached the playoffs and then beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a cliffhanger. They had the momentum and in-form players but came unstuck against a revitalised Delhi side.
The gamble to open with Marcus Stoinis paid off handsomely and Delhi Capitals never looked back. A strong batting performance was followed by incisive bowling from Kagiso Rabada, with Stoinis impressing in this department too.
There are strong similarities between Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians — hefty batting line-up, versatile bowling attack with class pace and spin bowlers — which promise a tight contest tonight if both teams play to potential.
Mumbai have been like a juggernaut, marching into the final with big victories. The batting runs deep, and there is not a single batsman out of form, though captain Rohit Sharma hasn’t scored too many after returning from injury.
In the bowling, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult have been exceptional, with splendid support from Nathan Coulter-Nile, Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar. Mumbai’s fielding has been consistently brilliant too.
Going by track record, Mumbai appear overwhelming favourites, having beaten Delhi Capitals all three times they’ve met this season. In fact the last time the teams met, DC were at one stage reduced to 0-3, recovering to score more than 100 but losing badly nonetheless.
That’s in the past though. On Sunday’s showing, Delhi Capitals ambition has been reignited. Never having reached an IPL final, they’d want to clinch their maiden title.
It won’t be easy against the mighty Mumbai, but it’s not impossible either if they show the same chutzpah and commitment as they did on Sunday night against Sunrisers.
Interestingly, every leap year, the IPL has had a new champion: Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012, Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016.
Also, Mumbai have never won twice in succession.
We’ll know by Tuesday night if these factoids remain relevant or not.
Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator
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