IPL 2020 Qualifier 1: Fascinating contest on the cards

Ayaz Memon/Dubai
Filed on November 5, 2020
Jasprit Bumrah of Mumbai Indians bowls during the match against Delhi Capitals. (IPL)

Sunrisers Hyderabad showed Mumbai Indians could be beaten, which should inspire Delhi Capitals

The two best teams for the most part of the league stage in the 2020 Indian Premier League have been defending champions Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals. This might seem logical, but actually came in contrasting style. Mumbai Indians’ place in the playoffs came early and easily, while Delhi Capitals had to huff and puff before reaching there.

In fact, the last 10-12 days were fairly traumatic for Delhi Capitals, losing four games on the trot before beating the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last league match and clinching the second spot on points.

Being in the top two on the points table means both Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals can have two shots at getting into the final. The losing team tonight will play the winner of Friday’s eliminator, so it’s not a do-or-die situation for either Mumbai Indians or Delhi Capitals.

Of course, a win tonight would mean less lingering pressure, more time to prepare for the final. Both teams would need that considering how the last few days of the league stage panned out for them.

Delhi Capitals, as mentioned earlier, recovered just in time to get past Royal Challengers Bangalore and into the second spot. In four matches before that, it appeared, the team had gone to pieces, with neither the batting nor the bowling performing to expectation.

With Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane (finally among the runs), and Kagiso Rabada and Ravichandran Ashwin, who had toiled without success in two matches, also picking up wickets against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals look to be back in top form.

How Shreyas Iyer and Co hold nerve against the defending champions, of course, is the question. In the two previous contests during the league stage, Mumbai Indians beat Delhi Capitals both times.

The difference is that Mumbai Indians are playing this match after suffering a thumping 10-wicket defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last league game. The batting and bowling both flopped.

The return of Rohit Sharma to the side, which added a touch of controversy to the proceedings, didn’t help Mumbai Indians against Sunrisers Hyderabad who were in roaring form with ball and bat.

True, Mumbai Indians were without pace aces Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, but such a one-sided match – and the margin of defeat – could not have been good for their momentum or morale.

It could be that Mumbai Indians had an off-day, but Sunrisers Hyderabad showed they could be beaten, which should inspire Delhi Capitals.

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