MI are the IPL 2020 champions

Image courtesy Twitter account of Mumbai Indians
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Mumbai Indians secured a fifth Indian Premier League title with a five-wicket win over Delhi Capitals in the final.

It follows their IPL wins in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 and means they have won the world’s premier domestic Twenty20 competition at least twice more than any other team.

Mumbai, the most successful team in IPL history, chased 157 with eight balls to spare as captain Rohit Sharma hit 68.

Delhi were appearing in their first IPL final and had lost all three previous meetings with Mumbai this season. They were underdogs before the showpiece began and suffered as their key players failed.

Shrewd selection call by MI

Mumbai had made a big play for that title even before the start of the final.

Offspinner Jayant Yadav was drafted in for only his second match of the tournament, to counter the Capitals’ left-hand hitters.

It was in the fourth over that Mumbai struck real gold.

Against Jayant – like Boult, not long ago a Capitals player – Shikhar Dhawan had two options: the obvious one was to let the right-hand batsman Shreyas Iyer take Jayant on, or he could try to use the field restrictions himself.

He took the less obvious route, trying the big sweep, exposing his stumps, and getting bowled.

Before Jayant got into the act, Trent Boult took out the Capitals’ superhero Marcus Stoinis.

Despite a first fifty of this IPL from Rishabh Pant, the Capitals finished with an underwhelming 156. Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma then killed off the chase in the powerplay, with the captain going on to see the chase through.

Trent Boult took 3-30 for Mumbai, including Marcus Stoinis with the first ball of the match in Dubai.

Delhi were 22-3 before captain Shreyas Iyer made 65 not out – he added 96 with Rishabh Pant – but Mumbai ensured their total was never enough.

The defending champions were always in control of their chase after Rohit and Quinton de Kock plundered 45 from the first four overs.

Rohit was caught at deep mid-wicket with 20 needed from 23 balls and, although Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya soon followed, Ishan Kishan’s unbeaten 33 off 19 balls took Mumbai to victory.

England pace bowler Jofra Archer was named as the most valuable player. He took 20 wickets and scored 113 runs, including 10 sixes, for Rajasthan Royals.

Australia all-rounder Stoinis edged Boult behind to fall for a first-ball duck and fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan, Delhi’s highest run-scorer in the tournament, made only 15. He was bowled playing an ill-advised sweep to off-spinner Jayant Yadav in the fourth over.

Defending a low total, South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada – the tournament’s leading wicket-taker – could not prevent the Mumbai openers’ onslaught and conceded 18 from his first over.

He returned again when Mumbai lost their second wicket – Suryakumar Yadav was run out for 19 after a mix-up with Rohit – and was hit for 11 as Rohit ensured Delhi were unable to come back into the game.

Ponting’s tribute

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting: “You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due. Mumbai have been the best team throughout the IPL.

“I am proud of this team. It is a great group of players and a great franchise. Mumbai Indians thoroughly deserved their win.”

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma: “I’m pretty happy with how things went.”

“We said at the beginning we want to make winning a habit for us and guys were excellent throughout the tournament. We couldn’t have asked much more. We never looked back.”

Mumbai Indians 157 for 5 (Rohit 68, Kishan 33*, Nortje 2-25) beat Delhi Capitals 156 for 7 (Iyer 65*, Pant 56, Boult 3-30, Coulter-Nile 2-29) by five wickets

Cover image credit: Indian Premier League