Mumbai Indians were at their ruthless best on Thursday night when they put Delhi Capitals at their mercy to reach their sixth IPL final after mauling them by 57 runs to in Qualifier 1 played in Dubai.
While hard-hitting knocks from Ishan Kishan (55 off 30) and Hardik Pandya (37 off 14) shot the four-time champions to 200/5, it was Mumbai Indians pacer Trent Boult (2/9) and Jasprit Bumrah (4/14) who wiped out the Delhi top-order to turn the game into a cakewalk as Delhi could only manage 146/8.
Chasing a huge target of 201, Delhi Capitals seemed virtually out of the game by the seventh ball of the innings as three of their batsmen were back in the dugout without adding a single run to the board.
Boult was the first one to draw the blood as the pacer first removed Prithvi Shaw for a first-ball duck and then trapped Ajinkya Rahane lbw three balls later to complete his 2-wicket maiden over. And before Delhi could realise what hit them, Jasprit Bumrah castled in-form Shikhar Dhawan with a yorker to put DC in big trouble at 0/3.
Shreyas Iyer remained optimistic with his fearless shotmaking but the spark was shortlived as DC skipper fell to Rohit Sharma’s aggressive field setting in the fourth over with just 20 runs to Delhi’s name.
Marcus Stoinis showed some fight back with some explosive shots on a pitch that turned feasible for batting by the minute. However, with Rishabh Pant getting out in the eighth over after a recognisable rash shot off Krunal Pandya, Delhi’s fate was sealed.
Stoinis continued the lone battle as he reached his 50 in the 12th over with five fours and two sixes but with just 73 runs on the board at the point meant DC was feeling the heat of the rising required rate. Axar Patel briefly gave Stoinis some breather as he took Kieron Pollard and Rahul Chahal for runs.
However, Rohit’s trusted lieutenant Bumrah did his job again by dousing the late spark by picking wickets of Stoinis and Daniel Sams in the 16th over to put the match beyond DC’s reach. The pacer's 4/14 turned out to be his best spell in the IPL history as well.
Earlier in the first innings, a 60-run partnership off just 23 balls between Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan helped MI score 200/5 in 20 overs after they were put into bat first. MI scored 55 in the last three overs and 78 in the last five to get into an advantageous position.
Pandya, who remained unbeaten on 37 (14 balls, 6x5), later said in the TV interview on Star Sports that the score they have put up is enough. Kishan remained unbeaten on a 30-ball 55 (4x4, 6x3).
MI were in a spot of bother at 101/4 in 12.2 overs when both Kishan and Pandya joined hands.
After a brilliant start through Quinton de Kock (40 off 25 balls) and Suryakumar Yadav (55 off 30), both of who added 62 for the second wicket after skipper Rohit Sharma was dismissed early, MI lost wickets in a clutch with Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya failing.
For Delhi Capitals, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was the most successful bowler, picking up three wickets for 29 runs. Their South African pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were expensive, leaking 92 runs in their eight overs.