Attention to detail is what separates the best from the rest. The Mumbai Indians are the best in IPL 2020. That was evident in the five-wicket win over the Delhi Capitals on Sunday.
One run-out changed the game. Marcus Stoinis turned around for a non-existent run and Delhi finished with 15 less. That mattered when Mumbai hit a bump at the end of the chase. Those runs could have turned the wobble into a tailspin.
Mumbai won with two balls to spare, but the last-over result was not a thriller. It’s just that the defending champions took their time after a slight slump. By then, they had the game firmly in control and strolled to the target. And the ease at which they won should be ominous for their rivals.
Delhi are strong enough to take on the might of Mumbai, although they are a bit short on experience. And that showed in the game in Abu Dhabi.
The match was on an even keel when skipper Shreyas Iyer (42 off 33 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (69 off 52) forged an 85-run partnership to set up a platform to launch the assault in the slog overs. A clatter of wickets and the Stoinis run-out allowed Mumbai bowlers to choke off the runs. And in the absence of Shimron Hetmyer, Delhi’s final charge was defused by Jasprit Bumrah’s yorkers.
It isn’t easy to defend a par score of 162 without grabbing early wickets. Delhi did eject Rohit Sharma, but no team seem to handle the powerplay as well as Mumbai. Quinton de Kock (53 off 36) may not be consistent, but that’s due to the nature of his job. His job is to blast the runs when the field is up. And he did that very well against Delhi. Captain Sharma’s early departure was barely noticeable as Suryakumar Yadav (53 off 32) and Ishan Kishan (28 off 15) took turns in keeping the run chase alive.
Yadav and Kishan should have closed off the match. Their haste led to a mini-crisis. But then it turned out to be no crisis. Not for Mumbai.
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Delhi can heart from the way they fought back through their bowlers. But the total was inadequate, and the fifth bowling slot is not as strong as Mumbai’s. Small things matter in a big game. That’s a lesson Delhi will remember.
Mumbai’s strength and depth give them the flexibility to handle changing situations. That’s why they are four-time champions. Over the last three weeks, they have been demolishing rivals. They did stumble in the first week. A loss to Chennai Super Kings in the opener and a Super Over defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore were their only blemishes.
The playoffs! That’s not an issue. Mumbai’s eyes are set on a bigger prize. A fifth title.