Mumbai retains IPL title after beating Delhi by 5 wickets

·3-min read

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The defending champion Mumbai Indians won the Indian Premier League for a record-extending fifth time after routing the Delhi Capitals by five wickets in the final on Tuesday.

In reply to Delhi’s average 156-7, Mumbai cruised to 157-5 in 18.4 overs on the back of captain Rohit Sharma’s 68 off 51 balls in his 200th IPL game, and spoiled the Capitals’ first appearance in the final.

Delhi struggled against Mumbai’s pace. Trent Boult took a wicket with the first ball of the final and claimed 3-30 for man of the match, Nathan Coulter-Nile grabbed 2-29, and Jasprit Bumrah conceded only seven an over.

Offspinner Jayant Yadav, making only his second appearance this season, added 1-25, and Delhi was left with too little to defend against a brutal batting lineup.

Sharma held the chase together, and combined for the opening 45 runs with Quinton de Kock, another 45 with Suryakumar Yadav, and 47 with Ishan Kishan, who finished off the final 33 not out from 19 balls.

“We said at the start we want to make winning a habit, and you couldn’t have asked any more from the guys,” Sharma said. “We were right on the money from ball one and even today, we never looked back.”

The IPL was moved from March and April, when it was suspended by the pandemic, to October and November in the United Arab Emirates. Mumbai, the IPL winner in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, topped the league round-robin and dominated second-placed Delhi in all four of their matches, including two in the playoffs.

Sharma won a record sixth IPL title — his first was with the former Deccan Chargers in 2009 — and Kieron Pollard his fifth. Pollard said their success increased the pressure each year, but the attention to detail has been key.

“There were so many questions around Mumbai in general, whether we can win back to back,” de Kock said. “We put in extra effort. You can see it’s paid off. We worked extra hard on the nitty gritties.”

The chase was virtually sealed within the first five overs. Sharma opened his scoring by hoisting Ravichandran Ashwin for a straight six in the first over and de Kock blasted Delhi’s premier fast bowler, Kagiso Rabada, for two fours and a six in the South African’s first over, which went for 18 runs.

Rabada, who finished as the season's highest wicket-taker with 30, had an off day and gave away 32 runs off his three overs for the wicket of only Pollard.

Suryakumar Yadav sacrificed his wicket and was run out when Sharma went for a needless run. But Sharma made sure it wasn't in vain, paying into the 17th over until he was brilliantly caught by diving substitute fielder Lalit Yadav. Sharma showed no sign of the hamstring injury which initially ruled him out of India's upcoming tour of Australia. He hit four sixes and five boundaries.

Delhi struggled throughout the tournament to preserve wickets in the first six overs of the powerplay and failed again in the final as it lost its top three batsmen for only 22 runs and only 21 balls in.

After Delhi skipper Shreyas Iyer won the toss, he made an unbeaten 65 and Rishabh Pant notched his first half-century this season before falling to Coulter-Nile on 56. Their partnership of 96 revived Delhi, but the loss of Pant in the 15th over slowed down their scoring. Mumbai allowed only 38 runs in the last five overs.

“I’m very proud of my boys, it’s not a small feat to reach the final," Iyer said. "We’ll come back stronger and see to it that we win the trophy.”

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