After a tedious and exhausting group stage which saw the players take the stage following a long break, the IPL headed into the playoffs phase. Having secured the maximum number of points in the preliminary stage, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals squared off for the elusive spot in the IPL final.
Following a 10-wicket defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad while fielding a weaker squad, skipper Rohit Sharma named a full-strength unit in the first qualifier. Delhi Capitals, who elected to bowl first after winning the toss named the same playing eleven that handed Royal Challengers Bangalore a defeat in their last league game.
Despite losing Rohit Sharma to a first-ball duck, the in-form Mumbai Indians breezed past the powerplay at over 10 runs an over. Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed the second opener, Quinton de Kock, as well in the eighth over for 40.
In-form Suryakumar Yadav spent time out in the middle and registered a well-compiled half-century. However, the batsman was dismissed right after reaching his fourth fifty of the tournament and succumbed to the pressure created by the Capitals’ pacer’s second spell.
Ashwin capped off a good outing with a third-wicket by outfoxing Kieron Pollard with a well-executed carrom ball. The hard-hitting batsman did not get a decent connection off the shot and was caught in the deep by Kagiso Rabada.
Mumbai Indians stared into a collapse following the quick dismissal of Krunal Pandya as well. The franchise managed to score a staggering 92 runs off the last 6 overs with Hardik Pandya lighting up Dubai with a 14-ball 37 run knock which included 5 sixes. Ishan Kishan’s bright form in the second half of the tournament continued with yet another fifty.
A mammoth final over off Anrich Nortje allowed Mumbai Indians to score exactly 200 in the first innings.
Mumbai Indians march onto their second consecutive IPL final
Delhi Capitals’ struggling batting line-up needed a Herculean effort to scale down the target set by the defending champions. However, the chasing side’s hopes were shattered right at the star with Trent Boult sending Prithvi Shaw for his third duck in the tournament.
The mesmerising new-ball pair of Boult and Bumrah reduced Delhi Capitals to 0-3 in the third over with the entire top order obliterated.
Marcus Stoinis retaliated with a fighting knock of 65, but the effort proved insufficient despite the injury suffered to Boult as Capitals finished with 143-8 in 20 overs. Bumrah climbed atop the Purple Cap table with a sensational 4-wicket haul.
Delhi Capitals will now face the winner of the eliminator between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the second qualifier.