In pursuit of the coveted trophy, defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and Delhi Capitals (DC) are set to go hammer and tongs against each other in the much-awaited IPL 2020 final on Tuesday at Dubai International Stadium.
Both sides have had a different journey this season. While the Mumbai franchise managed to establish their supremacy in the league stage, DC had to gallop through a few hurdles to book a place in their first-ever IPL final. After losing the tournament opener against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), MI bounced back strongly to finish on the top of the pile with 18 points.
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Had they not suffered defeats in Super Overs against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Rohit Sharma's men could've finished with a staggering 22 points. Nonetheless, their match-winning combination and consistency in the tournament will work in their favour. Moreover, the Mumbai camp also has experience under its belt, having played five IPL final so far.
With four trophies under their belt, MI -- the most successful IPL franchise -- will be aiming to add another feather in its already illustrious cap. The only time when MI couldn't win the title in the final was in 2010 when they lost against MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings (CSK). MI will be itching to lift silverware for the fifth time in IPL history.
Capitals, on the other hand, will be eyeing maiden glory. Despite being in the league since its inception, the Delhi franchise has somehow never managed to lay their hands on the trophy. With Ricky Ponting and Shreyas Iyer at the helm, a refurbished Delhi side will be hoping to topple the favourites and script their name on the trophy for the first time.
Unlike MI, the Delhi franchise had to endure a few hiccups en route to the final. They managed to achieve a top-two finish after thumping Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their last league-stage game.
However, DC were handed a 57-run drubbing by MI in the first Qualifier at Dubai. In the crucial tie, their top-order shattered like glass against the wrath of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane registered ducks as DC slumped to 0/3 in the first eight balls.
DC eventually lost the encounter but they managed to gather and stay in the league by winning the do-or-die Eliminator tie. Dhawan, rising to the occasion, slammed a brilliant half-century as DC thumped SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 17 runs on Sunday. Their ploy to promote Marcus Stoinis as an opener worked well as he was able to provide them with an explosive start.
Ahead of the paramount tie of the IPL 2020, let's look at a few major battles of the final:
Rohit Sharma - Kagiso Rabada
Though Rohit Sharma has missed a few games due to hamstring niggle, no one can raise a finger to doubt his batting prowess. On his day, the MI skipper holds the potential to hit sixes for fun. Every side craves for a player who can deliver in vital fixtures and Rohit might emerge as their talisman. Rohit has scored 264 runs in 11 games so far and is yet in the hunt for a colossal knock.
However, the MI skipper will face a tough task to score runs against someone like Kagiso Rabada. Currently leading the Purple Cap race, Rabada has been wreaking havoc on batting line-ups this season. His four-wicket haul in the previous game against SRH was a revise of Rabada's form. Kagiso Rabada has been a beast for the Delhi side. In 16 games, he has scalped 29 wickets including 2 four-wicket hauls.
Quinton de Kock - Anrich Nortje
The two South African national teammates will battle each other in this all-important encounter. Both players are in great touch and it will be interesting to see who comes on top. In Rohit's absence, de Kock had delivered impressive performances along with Ishan Kishan. In 15 games this season, de Kock has scored 483 runs including four half-centuries.
The left-hander will be hoping to deliver when it matters the most. Nortje, in response, will back his blistering pace to do the job at Dubai. He currently holds the record for the fastest delivery bowled in this IPL edition (156.22 kmph). With 20 wickets already under his belt, Nortje will aim to add a few more in the summit clash.
Suryakumar Yadav - Ravichandran Ashwin
A couple of days after national snub, Suryakumar Yadav produced a whirlwind to steer MI past the finishing line against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Suryakumar hammered 79 off 43 balls to single-handedly steer MI to the victory. He has been a consistent performer for the franchise since joining them.
In 15 games this season, he has scored 461 runs at an impressive average of 41.90. One of his strengths is his ability to sweep and play spinners with ease. However, against an experienced Ravichandran Ashwin, Surya will have to play cautiously. Ashwin, known for pulling out something unexpected from his bag, will be trusted with the ball in the powerplay too. In 14 games so far, he has picked 13 wickets including a three-wicket haul.
Shikhar Dhawan - Trent Boult
Though Shikhar Dhawan has registered three ducks this season, he has been a solid pillar of the DC batting line-up. He hit the purple patch in the middle of the tournament by smashing two fifties and two hundreds in four consecutive games. Currently sitting on the second position in the leading run-scorers list, Dhawan will eye the Orange Cap by smashing yet another century. He currently has 603 runs under his belt in 16 games.
To intercept Dhawan, MI has Trent Boult in their artillery. Coupling with Bumrah, the Kiwi speedster has been an indispensable part of Mumbai's bowling force. In 14 games, he has picked 22 wickets and is poised third in the Purple Cap race. In his two overs in Qualifier 2, Boult had conceded just nine runs while dismissing Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane in his first five deliveries.