On Monday Ricky Ponting had said that if there was one team the Mumbai Indians will not want to face in the final it would be the Delhi Capitals. On Tuesday, defending champions Mumbai dominated the Capitals thoroughly to not only register their fourth win against the team coached by Ponting, but also win their fifth IPL title.
Ponting, who was part of two of Mumbai's title victories - as player in 2013 and coach in 2015 - acknowledged Mumbai were the "best" team this IPL.
"You have got to give credit where credit is due: MI have clearly been the best team all the way through this IPL," Ponting said at the post-match presentation. "They've beaten us four times in the tournament now. They turned up and played a great game today in the final when it really matters. As a coach it is can be frustrating sitting in the dugout when you haven't got control over things, but I'm extremely proud of the way we player cricket this tournament. Just to finish off, MI thoroughly deserve their win."
Several teams have mentioned the biggest challenge this IPL has been to perform while living out of a biosecure bubble. Ponting, too, felt that did play a role in the Capitals' inconsistency. He said the Capitals "probably had too much preparation" ahead of the IPL after they arrived in the UAE in late August, a month prior to the tournament.
"We had about three-and-a-half weeks of training before our first game. We knew that that was always going to be a challenge to try and keep the boys up through what's been a 10 or 11 weeks of a hard slog."
The Capitals made their first IPL final in 13 seasons, but Ponting was honest to admit that they had work to do.
"The IPL is a hard tournament, certainly a hard tournament to win. And at different times you've probably seen with our level of cricket - although we played some brilliant stuff, then the level dropped down a little bit and we fought back really well at the end. It has been a really challenging tour."
Captain Shreyas Iyer, who top-scored for the Capitals in the final with an unbeaten 65, wanted them to improve in two specific areas in 2021 IPL.
"We have been lacking at the starts especially in majority of the games we lost pretty early wickets," Iyer said. "That is what we need to work on. We need to strategise our bowling plans as well because we have leaked a lot of runs in the powerplay, especially in the second half of the season was not really the best."