One trophy, two Mumbai boys in Dubai’s biggest T20 showdown
Two Mumbai boys, divided by the teams, driven by the same ambition. But only one will be a victor as they lead their sides in the final.
A mouth-watering clash is on the cards as the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) take on first-time finalists Delhi Capitals (DC) in the summit clash of the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Both the teams have finished in the top two after the conclusion of the league-stage and they will lock horns to lift the trophy in Dubai. On one end, we have the seasoned campaigners and four-time IPL champions led by Rohit Sharma. On the other end, we have the Shreyas Iyer-led DC, who have made it to their first-ever IPL final.
While MI will have the experience of playing the big finals on their side, DC will be looking to approach their maiden IPL playing fearless brand of cricket; something which they did in their crunch Qualifier 2 clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
This will be the fourth time that these two sides are facing each other this season and MI have won all the three previous clashes. While they will be out to make it 4-0, DC will be itching to avenge those three losses with one which will now matter the most.
As we gear up for the summit clash, here are some of the pointers to look to.
Road to the Final
Mumbai Indians were coming into this season as the defending champions and they played it like one – first to make it to the playoffs, topping the points table and then into the final, sealing a convincing win in the Qualifier 1.
While they had to do without the services of Rohit Sharma for a few games before the playoffs, Kieron Pollard successfully led the MI charge, making sure that the team does not lose its way.
DC, on the other hand, had a solid start in the first half of the season and looked certain to march into the playoffs. But following a dip in the form, which saw them lose four games in a row, DC had to scrap and dig in deep to beat RCB to seal the second spot in the points table to make it to the playoffs.
The Shreyas Iyer-led unit then lost their Qualifier 1 clash against MI but did a remarkable job to come out on top against a spirited Sunrisers Hyderabad side in Qualifier 2 to seal a place in the final.
The battle between two of the best modern-day pacers
We have Jasprit Bumrah on one side and Kagiso Rabada on the other. The former has 27 wickets to his name this season, and the latter has 29 wickets to show from 16 matches.
While the battle for Purple Cap is on the cards, both the pacers – Rabada after the Qualifier 2 and Bumrah following the Qualifier 1 – have made it clear that for them their team winning the trophy takes precedence.
That said, their fourth meeting this season is expected to be a cracking contest and how the two perform on the day, may well determine the outcome of the match.
The two will be spearheading their respective teams’ bowling attacks. But both MI and DC also have the likes of Trent Boult and Anrich Nortje to support Bumrah and Rabada respectively.
While Boult had to leave the field after bowling just two overs in Qualifier 1, the left arm pacer has picked five wickets in his last two games against his former IPL side, including the two wickets in two overs in Qualifier 1 before he had to leave the field because of an injury.
Coming to Nortje, the right-arm pacer has 20 wickets to his name this season and has played an important role to DC making it to their maiden final.
The batting might
There’s enough skill, pedigree and runs in both the teams which will feature in the final. For MI, Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav have led the charge with the bat. Meanwhile, Shikhar Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis have been at the forefront for DC.
While Rohit Sharma did not score many on the either side of his injury break, the class that he possesses makes him an ever-so-dangerous proposition for any opposition. The story is not too different when it comes to Iyer and Rishabh Pant.
While Iyer had a couple of good outings with the bat in the first half, the DC skipper, along with Rishabh Pant, is searching for big runs in the second half of the tournament. But Iyer as well Pant have what it takes to change the course of the match in a space of few overs and if they fire, it will be a big boost for DC.
MI, meanwhile, also have the firepower of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard in their ranks. While the former has 278 runs to his name from 12 innings, including a blitz of 37 not off 14 in the Qualifier 1, Pollard has scored 259 runs this season with a strike rate of 190.44.
Coming to DC, they too have someone like Shimron Hetmyer at their disposal. While he did not get too many games this season, the left-hander will be high on confidence following his 22-ball 42*-run cameo in Qualifier 2.
The spin attacks
The final between MI and DC will see the likes of Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya square off against R Ashwin and Axar Patel. While Chahar went for 35 in his two overs in Qualifier 1 against DC, the young leg-spinner has been MI’s third highest wicket-taker this season and that shall give him some confidence coming into this game.
For Krunal, he may not have too many wickets to show against his name, but he has put up his hand whenever his team needed him to deliver.
Coming to DC, they have the likes of R Ashwin and Axar Patel in the mix, in addition to a young leggie Pravin Dubey. While Ashwin went wicketless in Qualifier 2, he was DC’s best bowler, picking three wickets, in their Qualifier 1 clash against MI. While he will be out to repeat that performance, DC will also bank on Axar Patel, who has picked nine wickets with an economy rate of 6.61.
MI at this venue: Played 7, Won 2, Lost 5
DC at this venue: Played 10, Won 5, Lost 5
Head to head overall:
Matches 27, MI wins 15, DC wins 12
This will be Rohit Sharma’s 200th IPL match. He needs eight runs to complete 4000 IPL runs for MI and requires 43 runs to complete 3000 IPL runs as captain.
Kieron Pollard needs two sixes to complete 200 IPL sixes.
Shikhar Dhawan requires 36 runs to complete 1500 IPL runs for DC.
Shreyas Iyer needs 46 runs to complete 500 runs in IPL 2020.