IPL Final: DC, MI to battle for IPL title

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After two months and 59 gruelling matches, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals will vie for the IPL final in the battle of contrasts. In more ways than one, the two teams, led by Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer respectively- have had contrasting fortunes en route to the summit clash. On Tuesday, Mumbai Indians will attempt to win the IPL trophy for a record fifth time while the resurgent Delhi capitals will play for its maiden IPL title. The stakes could not be any higher!

After a familiar underwhelming start to their campaign, Mumbai Indians started pushing the envelope with skipper Rohit Sharma marshalling his resources well. Since an initial blip, the defending champions then had an incredible run which saw them win 9 matches out of 13 to occupy the top spot in the points table and with it, a place in the Qualifier 1.

Capitals, on the other hand, looked like serious contenders till their first nine games, winning seven in that phase before a dramatic slump saw them lose five out of their next six matches with captain Shreyas Iyer looking all at sea. However, they returned to winning ways in their last league-stage game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to finish second on the points table to set up a clash against MI in the Qualifier 1.

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All to play for: Captain of MI Rohit Sharma (L) and captain of DC Shreyas Iyer, pose with the IPL trophy. Photo credit: IPL

IPL final: MI firm favourites

That Mumbai Indians are in red hot form and are looking favourites to win their record-extending fifth IPL title. The Rohit-Sharma led side has been the team to beat in this term and it was visible when they thrashed Delhi Capitals by 57 runs in the Qualifier 1 on Thursday to enter the IPL final.

Their success in winning four IPL titles depended a lot on their impeccable bowling. Their pace department, in particular, has always been top-notch. Even in this season, they have Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult in their armoury which gives an edge over other teams. Both the pacers have worked in tandem in both the powerplay as well as at the death to apply the brakes on the opposition batting. The duo is the most lethal in IPL 2020, together both the bowlers have accounted for 49 wickets, which is the highest by any pair in the tournament.

The Rohit Sharma-led franchise boast of one of the most strong opening pairs in the IPL 2020. Quinton De Kock and skipper Rohit have provided a good and solid start to MI and even when Rohit has failed to deliver, Surya Kumar Yadav has stepped up and made sure that they won’t be missing Rohit’s services at the top.

With the likes of Ishan Kishan and all-rounders Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya, Mumbai possess a deep batting line-up as well as utility players that can take any attack to the cleaners. Irrespective of whether Mumbai have got off to a good start or not, the much-needed late surge has been provided by Pollard and Hardik on more than one instance.

IPL final: DC the underdogs

Despite possessing one of the most talented squads in the tournament, the Delhi Capitals have been largely inconsistent. This will be their fourth encounter against the Mumbai Indians this season, and they’ll start the summit clash as underdogs, given their up and down form.

Shikhar Dhawan has been central to Delhi Capitals’ resurgence with prolific batting at the top of the order. The southpaw has pummeled 606 runs this season, with an improved ability to rotate the strike and adding deftness to his leg-side game. The slog-sweep to spinners has always been his staple stroke, so proficient that he could play this with eyes blindfolded. Just sample the brace of sixes he struck off Shahbaz Nadeem — just picking the length, bending, and bludgeoning them over midwicket.

Dhawan, thus, embodied Delhi’s belligerent approach. He, though, was the only survivor of the tweaked top three after the capitulation against Mumbai Indians. As much as a change in personnel, their approach was markedly more aggressive. The decision to open with Stoinis telegraphed their intent. The 86-run first-wicket alliance was rope-a-dope stuff. Thrust with the opening duties, in the wake of Prithvi Shaw’s sustained patchiness, the burly Aussie batted uninhibitedly like a bull given the licence to run amok.

Their pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada bagged four wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. In the process, the South African returned to the top of the Purple Cap tally thus replacing MI’s pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who is now on the second position in the leading-wicket taker tally. Apart from Rabada, in Anrich Nortje, DC have a proven death over specialist, who’ll be a handful to get away with.

Rabada now has 29 wickets to his name, while Bumrah has accounted for 27 wickets so far. With both the bowlers playing the IPL 2020 final, the Purple Cap race will go right down to the wire. Come Tuesday, Delhi Capitals will be out to avenge their three defeats against MI this season and deny the defending champions a fifth IPL crown in a match touted as David v Goliath!

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