After 59 games, here we are, looking forward to the IPL final. These have been the two best teams in the tournament and not just because they finished in the top two in the group stages.
Their players have largely dominated the top bowler and top batsman charts this season, they’ve taken the most wickets in power plays and showed both brain and brawn with the bat. They’re both certainly deserving of contesting the final with Mumbai as the strong favorite at -143.
DC is contesting its first-ever final in the IPL so for that reason alone, it’s been a superb season for them, whatever happens on the day. As for Mumbai, this is familiar territory after making so many finals in the past but remember this: They’ve won four IPLs before but never in an odd year!
The problem with being an opponent of Mumbai is that it’s hard to pinpoint a weakness in their side.
Their batting lineup is full of star names like Kieron Pollard, Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan. Not only can they all bat sensibly and smartly but they can also clear the boundary when needed.
With the ball, pace duo Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah are unplayable at times and the likes of Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya provide strong backup. It’s hard for opponents to know which bowlers to target.
There may, however, be two glimmers of hope for DC. Boult is nursing an injury and we still don’t know if he’s fully fit. And secondly, skipper Rohit Sharma is out of form. The best option would be to move himself down the order and let Kishan, who opened for him in his absence, do so again. But Rohit may feel that’s not taking the responsibility he should as skipper.
DC had a strange campaign. They were brilliant at the start, had a wobble toward the end of the group stages, but won the one that really mattered, against RCB in their last group game. That’s the one that allowed them to finish top two and to have two bites of the cherry at making the final. It’s a good thing they did because they were comprehensively beaten by Mumbai in Qualifier 1, only to then bat extremely well in their second attempt at booking a place in the final. They didn’t bowl that well in reply but did just about enough.
Shikhar Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis, their best two batsmen all season, made big contributions against SRH. So did Shimron Hetmyer, who hasn’t been particularly consistent this campaign. They’ll need plenty more from those three.
They’ll also need early wickets from Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Ravi Ashwin if they’re to put some pressure on Mumbai’s batting lineup. It might be a good idea to open the bowling with Ashwin because Mumbai’s Quinton de Kock struggles against spin early on.
Match Winner market
Aside from the strange quirk that Mumbai has only ever won in odd years, it’s not so easy to make a case for the outsider here. Mumbai beat DC three times already this season and has considerable experience of playing big finals over the years. In fact, they’ve played five IPL finals and won four of them.
Finals do odd things to players, who sometimes crumble under pressure, but that may not happen here to players of Mumbai’s caliber. Pollard is a T20 World Cup winner, Trent Boult has played an ODI World Cup final and Rohit Sharma has played in and won the Champions Trophy. Many of these players here have won the IPL more than once with Mumbai.
DC’s best chance is probably to bowl first and restrict Mumbai to anything under 180. That won’t be easy, though, and it won’t be any easier to chase around 180 against a bowling attack like Mumbai’s. But that should be their strategy anyway, especially with dew a possible factor in the second half of the game. It will make it much harder for the Indians’ bowlers to grip the ball if there’s dew.
In other words, Mumbai is the favorite and for a very good reason.
Mumbai Top Batsman – Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav is probably the least-talked-about Mumbai batter because he’s not an international, nor is he a flashy player.
But year after year he’s incredibly consistent in this competition. This year has been no different, with an average of 41 and four 50s proof of that.
He’ll definitely bat at three, which is a good place to bat, and comes into this match in good form. With others around him a bit more explosive and scoring quicker, Yadav should have a good chance to anchor the innings and play a long innings rather than an incredibly entertaining one. Which of course would do us just fine.
Man of the match
Jasprit Bumrah was man of the match in the final last year against CSK and may well repeat the trick. He’s been bowling beautifully at the death with impeccable Yorkers and slower balls that are hard to read. He’s taken 27 wickets this competition in 14 matches, just below two wickets a game, which is brilliant. Only Kagiso Rabada has taken more wickets than him in the tournament. His strike rate of 12.4 is world-class and his economy rate of 6.71 is the envy of many.
Given we think Mumbai should win and that the man of the match almost always comes from the winning side, Mumbai’s best bowler should give us a good run for our money, at generous odds.
-Take Suryakumar Yadav to be Mumbai top batsman at +300
-Take Jasprit Bumrah to be the man of the match at +1200
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