Vying for their fifth title, Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians (MI) are set to lock horns with a refurbished Delhi Capitals (DC) in the much-awaited IPL 2020 final at Dubai International Stadium. After over seven weeks of the T20 extravaganza, it has boiled down to this -- the robust defending champions taking on an optimistic Delhi side. While MI already have six appearances in IPL finals, this will be the first time when the world will witness Delhi's presence in the summit clash.
Playing their first-ever final, Shreyas Iyer's brigade will be hoping to achieve the 'unbelievable' against the most successful IPL franchise. While the Mumbai camp will be hoping to add another feather in their already illustrious hat.
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Both sides have had contrasting journeys in this 'unusual' IPL season. MI reached the finals winning 10 out of their 15 games. DC, on the other hand, cruised to the finals despite a slump in the last few games.
After losing against MI in the first Qualifier, the Delhi batting unit, led by veteran Shikhar Dhawan, came back strongly in the Eliminator. Delivering when it mattered the most, DC outclassed SunRisers Hyderabad in the do-or-die clash to throw down the gauntlet against MI one more time.
Though the Capitals have suffered three defeats against the four-time IPL champions this season, they possess the calibre of outdoing any opposition. However, it will be an uphill task for DC to topple the defending champions, considering their depth and experience of playing 'high-pressure' finals.
Quinton de Kock's panache has a foil in Rohit Sharma's style although proving a point to all and sundry about his hamstring injury would also be on the Indian's mind.
Suryakumar Yadav's (60 boundaries and 10 sixes) epic "I am there" gesture after a league game against RCB is now a part of the MI folklore and the elegant way of handling fast bowlers has only exponentially increased his fan-base. Ishan Kishan, in his five and a half feet frame, has managed to hit an astounding 29 sixes while Kieron Pollard is a bonafide legend with 190 plus strike-rate.
If Kagiso Rabada (29 wickets) and Anrich Nortje (20 wickets) get rid of this lot, DC will have to deal with the Pandya brothers -- the cool Krunal and the flamboyant Hardik -- both of whom are imposing and capable of striking muscular hits.
Shikhar Dhawan (603 runs), who has enjoyed his best IPL, will have to do something out of the ordinary to tackle the yorkers from Jasprit Bumrah and those vicious incoming deliveries from Trent Boult, which will tail in at the last moment.
The second qualifier showed that they have somewhat found their ideal combination with Marcus Stoinis' all-round game (352 runs and 12 wickets) and ability to open the innings bringing in the required balance.
Shimron Hetmyer's six-hitting prowess will also be required considering that Iyer and Rishabh Pant haven't exactly fired for the better part of the tournament.
Another big factor for the Capitals could be Ravichandran Ashwin's quality as a Powerplay operator. The little battles between in-form players are going to be interesting to watch. One unusual sight for all fans will be the absence of MS Dhoni from the tournament-concluding clash.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Pattison, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Prince Balwant Rai, Quinton De Kock, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult.
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Kagiso Rabada, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Tushar Deshpande, Rishabh Pant, Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams.
The match starts at 7:30 pm IST.
(With PTI inputs)