Marcus Stoinis of Delhi Capitals
Marcus Stoinis of the Delhi Capitals celebrates the wicket of Kane Williamson of the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2020 Qualifier 2 in Abu Dhabi on November 8, 2020. Image Credit: Sportzpics for BCCI

Marcus Stoinis is a gamechanger. The Australian blazed away to give the Delhi Capitals their best start in IPL 2020 and returned to claim three wickets that broke the back of the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The 17-run win puts Delhi in their first final, bringing them within a sniffing distance of their maiden title.

Delhi Capitals will clash with the Mumbai Indians in Dubai on Tuesday to decide the champions of Season 13. This is familiar territory for four-time champions Mumbai who have been in five finals. For Delhi, this is the closest they have come to winning the trophy. Will they be nervous? Will they buckle under the pressure of expectation?

If Sunday’s win over Hyderabad is any indication, Delhi has it in them to win it. That was evident in the manner in which they overturned their self-doubts and poor form to chalk out a good win. If they can replicate the performance, the final could be an exciting affair.

For a start, Delhi showed an inclination to play bold. The move to send Stoinis to open with Shikhar Dhawan may have been a gamble, but it gave them the best start in the tournament. By the time he left in the ninth over, Hyderabad’s nerves were shot and the game had been won. David Warner’s side never really came back into the match. Shimron Hetmyer’s late surge helped put the game beyond Hyderabad’s reach.

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Hyderabad too gambled with Priyam Garg in the opening slot, and it nearly paid off. But David Warner’s early dismissal snuffed out all hopes of a dramatic win. Kane Williamson fought gamely but sorely lacked support. If Jason Holder had stuck around, we might have had a different result. So good was Williamson’s controlled aggression that Delhi could heave a sigh of relief only after the New Zealander’s dismissal. Rabada soon closed out the game with a three-wicket burst.

Delhi will take plenty of courage from this win. But can they beat Mumbai in the final? It will take more than Stoinis to defeat Mumbai, who are the best side in the fray. Mumbai may not be invincible, yet Delhi will have to catch them on their off-day to win. What’s heartening is Delhi’s willingness to change and adapt in the search for a win.

Expect a new strategy from Delhi. They will need it.