The teams who finished the league stage at the first and second position will rightfully battle it out in the IPL 2020 final in Dubai on Tuesday. Mumbai Indians, who have made it to their second successive final, will be keen to break the jinx of never having won the title in back-to-back years.
Of all the teams on display, MI have been the most consistent. They ended the league stage with nine wins from 14 games, and progressed to the summit clash on the back of a professional victory over Delhi Capitals in Qualifier-1.
In contrast, Delhi have had a topsy-turvy ride. After an impressive first half where they won seven out of nine games, they hit a losing streak, going down in four consecutive games before recovering in the nick of time.
DC lost to MI in the league games and the first Qualifier. They will have their task cut out when they face the defending champions in the IPL 2020 final.
As Mumbai look to recapture the crown, and Delhi seek their maiden championship win, here are three players battles that can make the difference.
#1. Quinton de Kock vs Kagiso Rabada
Despite skipper Rohit Sharma making a comeback into the playing XI, it is Quinton de Kock who will be expected to give MI an assured start in the IPL 2020 final, as Rohit has looked rather rusty in the last couple of games. In contrast, De Kock has been consistent and aggressive as well.
Taking the game to the opposition with his fiery stroke play, the wicket-keeper batsman has notched up 483 runs in 15 games at a strike rate of 139.59, with four fifties.
However, in his last five innings, De Kock has produced scores of 6, 18, 26, 25 and 40. The South African has been getting starts, but has failed to convert them. He would be keen to come up with a big one on the big day.
The last time DC met MI, Kagiso Rabada went wicket-less and was also taken for quite a few runs. He would be keen to make amends and play his part in helping DC clinch the IPL 2020 title.
Rabada returned among the wickets with a brilliant effort of 4 for 29 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier-2, with three of them coming in an over. With 29 wickets from 16 games, Rabada goes into the big clash as the Purple Cap holder.
The DC pacer would like to stay on top of the charts and more significantly, end up on the winning side. For that, Rabada must get his franchise off to a good start by sending back compatriot De Kock before he settles in.
#2. Marcus Stoinis vs Jasprit Bumrah
Following his success at the top of the order against SRH in Qualifier-2, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis should open the batting with Shikhar Dhawan once again in the IPL 2020 final.
DC's decision to go with Stoinis at the top of the order caught SRH off guard, and their bowlers did not quite know how to react. Opening the batting is not something new for Stoinis as he has done it in the BBL with remarkable success.
The Australian cricketer has the ability to hit big shots and get the team off to a cracking start. His presence also aided Dhawan as he was able to bat freely, not having to worry about the run rate at the other end.
Stoinis has had a memorable IPL 2020 with 352 runs at a strike rate of 150. And, he will be keen to round off the tournament on a high with another memorable show in the final.
While Stoinis was able to hit over the top with ease in his new role for DC in Qualifier-2, things will get difficult as he will be up against MI pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah next. With 27 wickets from 14 matches, Bumrah is involved in a battle with Rabada for the Purple Cap as well.
Like every year, Bumrah has been the go-to man for Mumbai in IPL 2020 when it comes to getting wickets at crucial moments in the game.
He has 10 wickets to his name in the last three matches, including seven in the last two against DC. Bumrah dismissed Stoinis in both these matches, so he will definitely have an upper hand when they come face-to-face in the IPL 2020 final.
#3. Suryakumar Yadav vs Ravichandran Ashwin
While he may not have been able to break into the Indian national team, Suryakumar Yadav has most definitely cemented himself as a Mumbai Indians legend.
Year after year, Yadav has provided solidity to a batting order full of classy stroke-makers and this edition has been no different. In 15 matches, he has amassed 461 runs at a strike rate of 148.23, with four fifties.
Yadav seems to be fond of the DC attack. In the three matches that he has played against them this season, the batsman has registered scores of 53, 12 not out and 51.
Thus, he will be high on confidence when MI and DC come face-to-face in the IPL 2020 final. Another solid knock should go a long way in delivering yet another IPL triumph for the Mumbai Indians.
Although Delhi went down to Mumbai in Qualifier-1, Ravichandran Ashwin was exceptional with figures of 3 for 29. He dismissed Rohit Sharma first ball, and also added the major scalps of Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard. The off-spinner would be keen to repeat his heroics again in the final.
Ashwin has had an inconsistent run in IPL 2020. He has oscillated between exceptional and ordinary, and his injury woes haven’t helped.
Bowling in the middle overs, he is likely to come up against Suryakumar Yadav, and this contest between two level-headed cricketers promises to produce something enthralling.Published 09 Nov 2020, 21:28 IST