Since the commencement of the very first season of the Indian Premier League, three teams are yet to win the prized silverware. Those three teams are Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Delhi Daredevils/Delhi Capitals (DC). KXIP and RCB have both reached the playoff at least once in 12 years, the latter has reached 3 times yet failed to win even once. However tonight, DC will be playing in their first ever IPL final as they take on 4-time champions, the Mumbai Indians (MI)in Dubai.
It is a high possibility that with a win tonight either MI will extend their record to five championships tonight or DC will break their 12-year jinx and win their maiden trophy. The defending champions will be locking horn with DC for the fourth time this season. They have the previous 3 occasions and will be looking to extend their record against DC to 4 out 4 wins with the culmination of tonight’s finals. However, MI should remember that DC beat Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2, a team that DC lost on their two previous meetings. MI cannot take DC lightly.
MI were in uncomfortable territory after overseas pacer Trent Boult left the field after bowling just two overs in Qualifier 1. However with the break between Qualifier 1 and the Final, Boult would have got enough time to recover. Skipper Rohit Sharma was optimistic of Boult’s recovery but once he starts bowling in the match will we know how fit he is. MI still has in-form batsmen with the likes of Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav. If Rohit Sharma gets going it will be an interesting match. Having Jasprit Bumrah and Rahul Chahar also helps Mumbai big time as both have a knack of picking key wickets. But Mumbai’s biggest strength has been their middle order consisting of the Pandya brother and Keiran Pollard. MI’s run rate of 12.68 in the death overs is unmatched in the history of the IPL. However, they will be coming against the likes of DC’s Kagiso Rabada. If he gets his yorkers right, it will be difficult for MI batsmen to score.
On the other hand, DC are coming off a huge win against SRH. Seeing Delhi’s victories this season, it is safe to say that they are comfortable putting a score on the board and defending it. In the last game, DC changed their opening pair and it worked wonders for them. Marcus Stoinis and Shikhar Dhawan gave them the start they needed and were on course of scoring above 200 but some tidy middle overs by SRH bowlers and no boundaries allowed in the last two overs by the pacers saw them finish at 189 despite Shimron Hetmyer’s quickfire 42 off 22. DC’s bowlers barring Rabada, Stoinis and debutant Praveen Dubey had a good game with the ball. However with Pant and Iyer misfiring, DC will hope these two will come good in the Final.
The Final is being played in Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Since it is the final, it always better to put the runs on the board and defend. Mumbai has won all their IPL trophies when they batted first and their only Finals loss happened when they were chasing against Chennai Super Kings in 2010. As mentioned before, Delhi prefers defending targets rather setting a score. Toss will be crucial. It is highly unlikely that both teams will make changes to their side.