IPL 2020 final: Serial winners Mumbai Indians hold the upper hand against Delhi Capitals
Rohit Sharma's team aiming for fifth title having dominated their opponents so far in the UAE
Rohit Sharma did not become a limited-overs great and the most decorated IPL player by leaving deliveries alone.
On the eve of the 2020 final in Dubai, though, the captain of the title holders broke with habit.
The last question of his virtual press conference was a tester, and one that he was only happy to let slide by.
Mumbai Indians are apparently without weakness. On Tuesday evening, they will be going for their fifth title since 2013, while their captain will be going for his sixth in all, having won previously with Deccan Chargers.
So, if he was captaining against them, how would he go about beating them?
He did not even nibble. No suggestion that bowling wides, no balls and long hops against them was the real weakness of his team’s batsmen. Or that their bowlers just get really, really frustrated by batsmen playing forward defensives for 20 overs.
Instead, he simply said: “Never going to happen.”
He did venture one secret behind the success of the side who have won cricket’s most gilded competition more times than anyone else. But it was not exactly much for Delhi Capitals, their opposition in the final, to go on.
“It is not rocket science,” Rohit said. “We have worked really hard for the balance we have. All these players were available to all the teams, let me tell you that.
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“Right from Quinton de Kock, to No 11 Jasprit Bumrah. All these players were available to all the squads.
“But we invested in them at the beginning. We had faith in them. The team management, the scouts, they have all done a good job with these guys.
“We want to make sure they get that comfort, they get that backing. Otherwise it is not possible to have a squad like this.
“We have seen every day how this game changes, and the individual players have to change as well.
"All these guys have adapted to that really well, which is why we are in this position.”
As if their overall IPL overall record over the past eight season – winners in 2013, 2015, 2017, and last year – was not daunting enough, they have also dominated Delhi in all the matches they have had this season.
Neither were the games even close: Mumbai won by 57 runs, nine wickets, and five wickets.
Rohit is warning against complacency, though, ahead of their next encounter at the Dubai International Stadium.
“There will be a psychological advantage, but what we have seen with the IPL is that every day is a new day, and every day brings new pressure,” Rohit said.
“Every game is a new game, so you can’t think too much about what has happened in the past.
“You can take a lot of confidence from the past, but you just can’t dwell on it.
“You have to move forward, and think about what you want to do in that particular game.”
You can take a lot of confidence from the past, but you just can’t dwell on it
Rohit is optimistic Trent Boult will be fit, following his hamstring strain he suffered in the qualifier match between the two sides, and suggested Jayant Yadav could be an option to return to the XI.
Win the toss, and it feels likely he would want to bat. Mumbai won all four of their IPL titles by batting first in the final.
Perhaps more pertinently, the two qualifier finals this season were also won by the sides defending.
It will be Delhi’s first appearance in a final. While they will definitely start as second favourites, they have no shortage of match-winners in their line up, such as Marcus Stoinis, who powered them through to the final in a win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday night.
“When these big games are coming up, I think it’s important to stick to your usual strategies and routines before games,” Stoinis said.
“It is a big game. They are a great team. They have been really good and consistent all year, and they have beaten us twice.
“But so had Sunrisers, so we will see what happens. We will bring our best game of cricket, and if we play our best, I reckon that will be good enough.”
Updated: November 9, 2020 06:33 PM