The Indian Premier League final, played 170 days after its original date due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, was a clash between record four-time champions Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, who entered their maiden tournament final.
While the tournaments are expected to end with a thrilling encounter between two sides, this year's finale was rather a dry contest that ended with the defending champions lifting their record fifth title as they beat Delhi by 5 wickets at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Rohit Sharma, who boasts of never losing an IPL final, led Mumbai with a lot of confidence. They faced an opponent whom they had already crumbled in their previous encounter when the sides met in the first qualifier of the playoffs. In fact, Mumbai has won all their clashes against Delhi this year.
And, in three out of four clashes, it was the Mumbai bowlers who shone brilliantly with their combined efforts of picking important wickets early on.
Marcus Stoinis, who played a brilliant inning as an opener in the second qualifier against Sunrisers Hyderabad, failed to bring back his form and departed for a first-ball duck, courtesy Mumbai pacer Trent Boult. The Australian all-rounder became the first cricketer to depart for a first-ball duck in an IPL final.
Boult struck again as he dismissed Ajinkya Rahane to land Delhi in more trouble. Shortly after, off-spinner Jayant Yadav dismissed Shikhar Dhawan for a low score of 15 to cripple Delhi's top-order in the powerplay overs.
However, skipper Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant provided some stability to Delhi with both batsmen scripting half-centuries to their names.
Delhi set a chase of 156, a target which would not require much effort from Mumbai's batting prowess which consists of Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard.
Perhaps, that is the reason why Mumbai decided to fire off in the beginning with de Kock, Rohit and Suryakumar scripting a total of 61 runs in the powerplay. Mumbai's tally of 61 runs is the highest powerplay score in IPL finals.
In 2015, Mumbai had scored the same amount of runs in the powerplay overs of the final match against Chennai Super Kings.
Coincidentally, all four of Mumbai's previous titles came in odd years of 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. This led to many fans believing in an 'even year' curse that had engulfed the Paltan. While that is banter among the fans, it is safe to say that the curse has been lifted as Mumbai lifted their fifth title in the year 2020.
With that said, the Paltan and its fans can end 2020 on a happy note, despite all the grievances that have been caused by the pandemic.
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