IPL 2020 was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride for Shreyas Iyer-led Delhi Capitals (DC). A dominant start to the tournament, a slump after registering four defeats on the trot and resurgence in the second Qualifier -- the Delhi side galloped through multiple hurdles only to be thumped by defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the final at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday.
Shining in maiden IPL final -- especially against a dominant IPL contingent led by Rohit Sharma -- would be a tough task for any side. That's exactly what the world witnessed in the summit clash of the tournament. Despite being equipped with a robust squad, the Delhi franchise ran out of steam when it mattered and failed to pull out a rabbit from their hat in the final clash.
DC fans will have to wait for a while to see their team lifting first-ever IPL silverware. Nonetheless, DC's season was laced with several match-winning performances apart from the lackadaisical final. They would be proud of securing a top-two finish in a highly competitive season.
After suffering early setbacks, DC managed to post 156 runs on the board, which was never enough to mount pressure on MI's batting force. MI skipper Rohit, rising to the occasion, slammed a brilliant half-century to lay the foundation of the victory. Ishan Kishan, continuing his sublime form with the bat, scored 33 off 19 and helped MI to lift their fifth IPL title. Cameras panned to an elated MI camp while it nothing but dismay inside the DC dugout.
Here are some points which led to DC's failure in the final:
Top-order slump haunted DC yet again
Inconsistency has been the other name of Capitals' batting unit this season. Though Shikhar Dhawan ended his season as second-highest run-scorer, his performances were not agreeing in the past few games. He had a topsy-turvy ride in his last six games, registering three ducks in the process. His allies -- Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw -- were also dull for the most part of the season.
DC saw a ray of hope after Marcus Stoinis delivered an impressive performance in Qualifier 2. After being promoted up top, the Australian all-rounder scored a 27-ball 38, complementing Dhawan who scored 78 off 50 deliveries. The team management was expecting a similar performance from the duo.
However, to their disappointment, Stoinis departed for a golden duck and Dhawan followed him after scoring 15. Rahane, enduring a colourless run with the bat, departed after scoring only 2. Withstanding Trent Boult's fury, DC were reduced to 22/3 in the powerplay. DC's ploy of opening with Stoinis didn't work this time.
Kagiso Rabada-Ravichandran Ashwin duo failing in the powerplay
Contrary to expectations, Kagiso Rabada failed to sail his side's ship to the victory in the final. The Purple Cap winner was smoked for 18 runs in his first over by Quinton de Kock. Ravichandran Ashwin, with bags of experience with him, bowled a decent spell but failed to scalp wickets at the start, which led to MI's flying start in the first six overs.
Boundaries kept coming in for MI at regular intervals. With an in-form Rohit Sharma in the middle, the DC bowling unit seemed fatigued and hapless. De Kock (20 off 12) and Suryakumar Yadav (19 off 20) assisted Rohit as the MI skipper made a mockery out of DC bowlers.
Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant failed to add some more runs at the end
After being jolted with early blows in the powerplay, it was the Shreyas Iyer-Rishabh Pant duo which proved its worth in the middle. The pair stitched a vital 96-run stand to save DC from a batting debacle.
While Iyer scored an unbeaten 65 off 50, Pant gathered 56 from 38 balls. Had the pair departed early, DC would've failed to even cross the 150-run mark. The Delhi side managed to post 156 on the scoreboard but it didn't turn out to be a daunting total. Capitals' bowlers would've had a better chance if their total was above 170. After Pant's departure, only 38 runs came in the next five overs when skipper Iyer was at the crease.
Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada being inefficient when it mattered
Rabada and Nortje were the rock-solid pillars of DC bowling unit in this season. Rabada, the leading wicket-taker of IPL 2020, finished with 30 scalps with Nortje ended his UAE journey with 22.
However, they proved ineffective against a potent MI line-up. Rabada gave away runs at an economy of more than 10 in the crucial game, failing to mount any pressure whatsoever. Nortje did pluck Rohit's wicket but it came in the 17th over when the game had already slipped from DC's hands. Nortje also was expensive, leaking 25 runs in his 2.4 overs.