Both the Delhi Capitals (DC) and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) made interesting decisions with their batting order. In a close battle, it came down to which side's surprise opener had more impact on the game. Incidentally, the difference between Marcus Stoinis and Priyam Garg's runs was very similar to the margin by which DC eventually won the game.
Batting first, DC moved away from Prithvi Shaw and chose not to open with Ajinkya Rahane on their quest for more solidity and runs from the top order. In fact, Rahane wasn't used at all, as DC had enough batsmen capable of scoring more than 9 runs an over.
Shikhar Dhawan's 78 off 50 held the innings together. Supporting him were Stoinis' 38 off 27 balls, and a 42 off 22 from Shimron Hetmyer, who came in for this game in place of Daniel Sams.
Chasing 190 on a pitch that seemed good for stroke-making, SRH's Priyam Garg experiment yielded 17 off 12 balls, while Manish Pandey too chipped in with 21 off 14. The glue for the innings was Kane Williamson's 67 off 45, ably supported by Abdul Samad's quick 33 off 16.
The biggest reason they lost the game, however, was up top - as David Warner was castled for 2 off 3, SRH supporters all around lost a lot of hope.
In a dramatic game with a valiant chase, a few players disappointed for their team. Here are the top three flops from the game.
#3 Ravichandran Ashwin (DC)
DC's incomers via trades - Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and Axar Patel - have all gone on to show their former franchises the error in agreeing to the trade. At different phases of the season, the trio have had match-winning contributions. However, in an important game, only Dhawan had a game-changing part to play while DC's spinners were subdued.
Ashwin was unable to complete his full quota of overs as his three overs went for 33 runs with no wicket to show for his efforts, and he comfortably the most expensive bowler for DC. Bowling the opening over of the chase, SRH's Priyam Garg signalled his intentions with a massive swept six, and the offie never really recovered.
Ashwin also looked slow in the field due to a previous injury, and DC would want him in full flow for the final.
#2 Shahbaz Nadeem (SRH)
One of the biggest reasons for SRH's revival at the back end of the IPL league stage was the stellar work done by Shahbaz Nadeem. His economical spells and subtle variations held up one end, occasionally leading to dismissals of some of the opposition's best batsmen. On this occasion, unfortunately, he was neither economical nor wicket-taking.
Nadeem was feasted upon by left-hander Dhawan, as the DC opener slog-swept with the turn into the stands. His four wicketless overs cost SRH 48 runs - even Jason Holder had an off day, as the duo's fine form withered away. The left-arm spinner even spilled a catch in the deep off Hetmyer's blade.
With the bat, Nadeem could only hang around at the crease as his side slumped to defeat.
#1 David Warner (SRH)
For the sixth season in a row, SRH skipper Warner crossed 500 runs. However, he would have readily scored a lot fewer than that, if that meant a big score in this crucial playoffs game. With a transient SRH top order now shorn of both Jonny Bairstow and Wriddhiman Saha, a lot of pressure was on the skipper in this game.
Unfortunately, Warner's innings lasted a mere three balls as a vicious late inswinger beat his bat, ricocheted off his pad and hit the stumps. The dismissal meant that the SRH innings was heavily dependent on Williamson to pull through.
Warner's failure ultimately left a fragile middle order with too much to do, and that made the difference for them in the contest against DC.
Published 09 Nov 2020, 11:39 IST