Mumbai Indians 166 for 5 (de Kock 53, Yadav 53, Rabada 2-28) beat Delhi Capitals 162 for 4 (Dhawan 69*, Iyer 42, Krunal Pandya 2-26) by five wickets
A top of the table clash between the Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Capitals stretched to the last over, but it wasn't quite the nail-biting thriller that had been expected. Mumbai eased past the Capitals by five wickets, riding on excellent bowling and proactive half-centuries by Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav. Both de Kock and Yadav made 53 and though each fell somewhat against the run of play, the Capitals - excellent bowling side that they are themselves - did not have enough to defend.
Mumbai hauled in the target in 19.4 overs to swap places with the Capitals on the points table.
De Kock was already motoring by the time Yadav faced his first ball. He opened up in fourth over, against R Ashwin - who had a favourable match-up against de Kock coming into the game - with a six and a four. Yadav, coming into this game on the back of a match-winning 79* against the Rajasthan Royals, ensured there was no sagging of momentum when de Kock eventually did fall to Ashwin. Yadav himself was caught off Kagiso Rabada with five overs left, but by then he had brought the equation down to almost a run a ball. The depth in Mumbai's batting meant that despite two further wickets, they were always in control of the chase.
The Mumbai bowlers' excellence had given their batsmen a relatively easy chase. They tied down the Capitals right through their innings. "Intent" perhaps has been discussed to the point of being a cliche, but intent is exactly what the Mumbai batsmen showed and the Capitals seemingly lacked. Shikhar Dhawan batted through the innings for the Capitals, but made only 69 off 52.
The Capitals were also hurt by the absence of two key batsmen. Rishabh Pant was injured, which meant they had to bring in Alex Carey to don the gloves, and Carey's entry meant Shimron Hetmyer had to sit out too. Ajinkya Rahane got his first game of IPL 2020 as a result.
Dhawan-Iyer stand gives Capitals the platform
Prithvi Shaw chipped Trent Boult to cover in the first over and Rahane's start to IPL 2020 didn't go too well - he was trapped lbw by Krunal Pandya for a run-a-ball 15. Shreyas Iyer joined Shikhar Dhawan at 24 for 2 in the fifth over, and the duo set about building steadily.
While their initial tactics seemed to be to knock the ball around without taking risks, they did punish errors in line and length so that the run rate didn't stagnate. That worked up to a point, but where Capitals felt the pinch was that neither of the set batsmen could accelerate in the second half. They still ended up putting on a good stand of 85 in 10.2 overs.
When Iyer was out, they were 109 for 3 in 14.4 overs and it looked like a good finish could happen with the in-form Marcus Stoinis walking in. He was the one batsman in the line-up who was in excellent boundary-hitting form, and though he did hit a couple during his stay, he was run out in a mix up with Dhawan, which seriously impacted the Capitals' ability to finish big.
Krunal, Bumrah to the fore
Left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya was brought on as early as the fifth over, despite there being a left-hander in Dhawan at the crease and only two fielders allowed outside the circle. The confidence invested in Pandya was not misplaced, with Rahane out to his second ball. Pandya stuck to stump to stump lines, accurately targeting a back of length spot across his four overs.
His spin-bowling partner Rahul Chahar shared the middle overs with Pandya and also gave nothing away, dangling the ball out of the hitting arcs of both batsmen. The control the two spinners exerted meant Iyer and Dhawan didn't have any big overs in the middle, and they also had to contend with Jasprit Bumrah.
While he didn't pick up a wicket, Bumrah was on point with his bowling in the manner Mumbai have come to expect almost as a matter of course. He bowled the hard lengths to Dhawan, slipping in slower balls liberally to deny the batsman the pace to get the ball away. When Carey came in after Stoinis was out, Bumrah bowled every ball to him from around the wicket, an angle that the wicketkeeper-batsman hasn't had success against much when facing pacers.
Between them, the three bowled 12 overs for 79 runs, an economy rate of 6.58. While the Capitals did manage to pick up more runs against the other bowlers, it was not enough to offset the strangulation that Bumrah, Pandya and Chahar had wrought.
De Kock, Yadav tee off
If there was an attack in the tournament capable of defending 162 against a batting line-up like Mumbai's, it was the Capitals. But unlike the Capitals batsmen, de Kock and Yadav didn't let the opposition bowlers settle into rhythms quickly, or at all. Both men actively looked to go over the in-field, and throw the bowlers off their lengths by using the crease.
De Kock lifted Ashwin straight and then swept him square to start things off, and then took down Anrich Nortje with a couple of audacious sixes in the last over of the powerplay.
One of the features of their batting was how seamlessly the baton passed from de Kock to Yadav. While de Kock was at the crease, he had the majority of the strike and made the majority of the runs too. He kept finding the boundary regularly, moving around in his crease to create angles.
When a nicely flighted ball from Ashwin had de Kock miscuing, Yadav had faced only 11 balls. But he ensured the middle overs weren't going to be controlled by the spin duo of Ashwin and Axar Patel. He used his wrists to whip Ashwin into the legside regularly, and swept Patel with authority.
In the 15th over, with Rabada brought back to conjure a wicket, Yadav started with 4, 2, 6 to swing the balance of the match decisively. He was out on the last ball of that over but, by then, Mumbai were in safe territory.