The Mumbai Indians (MI) entered the game against the Delhi Capitals (DC) having won their last five Indian Premier League (IPL) encounters against them. The game saw the two most dominant teams of IPL 2020 - and eventual finalists - lock horns, with both vying for an early advantage in the tournament.
Just like the script of their past three games, the defending champions batted first and managed a meagre total after losing a clump of middle-order wickets. Having made a few changes to beef up their batting, DC were led by slow yet steady innings from Steve Smith and Shikhar Dhawan on a pitch that assisted the slower bowlers.
Although there were nervous moments for DC throughout their chase, they were finally able to end their poor run against Rohit Sharma's men. Here are the top three reasons why MI lost to DC in the IPL game on April 20.
#3 DC's fresh tactics stump MI's batsmen
Apart from the two line-up changes that DC made, bringing in Amit Mishra and Shimron Hetmyer, they made a crucial change with the ball. Instead of opening the bowling with the likes of Kagiso Rabada, DC went for the pair of Marcus Stoinis and Ravichandran Ashwin, with the former in particular a wildcard of sorts.
The move paid off, as Ashwin was restrictive while Stoinis picked up the early wicket of Quinton de Kock. Their decision to bowl Stoinis extensively meant they were able to bowl Ashwin, Rabada and Mishra throughout the innings and stifle DC's middle order.
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#2 MI's middle order collapse against spin
The early wicket of De Kock was compensated for with some sweet timing off the bats of MI skipper Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav.
Just as the team looked to be running away with the game, Suryakumar was scalped by Avesh Khan. DC got the big fish with Rohit's wicket, as Amit Mishra coaxed the batsman into skewing one towards long-on.
Some strange thinking by Hardik Pandya - an attempt to slog the same bowler over long-on first ball - fetched Mishra his second wicket. Young Lalit Yadav, who bowled a fine spell of four overs, dismissed Krunal Pandya, while Mishra returned to get Kieron Pollard and later Ishan Kishan.
MI were reduced to 84/6, and while Jayant Yadav's 23 saved them some blushes, they were always going to struggle.
#1 Shikhar Dhawan's calming innings
Although their bowlers have shown their ability to win the team matches from seemingly hopeless situations, a target of 138 needed some madness from the chasing team to assist MI. Unfortunately, they ran into the Orange Cap holder of this year's IPL, Shikhar Dhawan.
Though Dhawan was not nearly as fluent as he looked in his two marauding innings against the Chennai Super Kings and the Punjab Kings, he still timed a few shots perfectly on a pitch that was difficult to bat on. Crucially, his 45, along with the vital contributions from Lalit Yadav and Steve Smith, ensured DC did not lose middle-order wickets in a heap unlike their opponents.
In doing so, they put the likes of the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Sunrisers Hyderabad to shame, showing them how to hold their nerve in such chases.