Delhi Capitals (DC) decided to play a fresh opening pair in the Qualifier 2 against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Sunday. The Shreyas Iyer-led side promoted hard-hitting all-rounder Marcus Stoinis up the order to go after the bowling in the powerplay along with their usual opener Shikhar Dhawan.
Both Stoinis and Dhawan managed to put up 65 without loss in the first six overs, giving their side a robust start in the crucial fixture. The duo stitched 85 runs for the first wicket as DC managed to post a challenging 189-run total on the scoreboard.
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In response, SRH were restricted to 172 runs by the DC bowling unit, led by Kagiso Rabada's four-wicket haul. Stoinis also stepped up with the ball as he plucked three vital wickets to dent SRH's run-flow. The Australian all-rounder was adjudged Man of the Match for his match-winning performance as DC pocketed the match by 17 runs and booked a place in the final.
After an impressive performance in the Qualifier, Stoinis said that opening the innings with Dhawan is easy as he takes off the pressure from the non-striker.
"Shikhar is batting unbelievable in the tournament. I know you guys have been speaking about me, having an opportunity at the top of the order. So obviously, thanks to the skipper for getting me in. Batting with Shikhar is easy, he takes the pressure off you. He is timing the ball so well. He played well in the tournament. I'm just glad that I helped the team to a good start," Stoinis told skipper Iyer after the match.
Reflecting on his bowling exploits, Stoinis said that he was trying to build pressure on the batsmen. "Just building some pressure and try to take some wickets," he said.
After cruising into their maiden IPL final, Capitals are set to face defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on Tuesday at Dubai International Stadium.