For the fourth time in IPL 2020, Delhi Capital missed the mark against a group. Each was not quite the same as the other, but then comparable here and there. They fell short against the new ball. And as a result he never got his best side, which he did when he got on the rolls against other teams in the tournament. However, on the last two occasions against Mumbai, including the final. The Delhi side went out despite suggesting a comprehensive win.
In the first qualifier, his best phase came when he tied Mumbai’s hard work between the powerplay and the death overs. Also, in the finals, the example proceeded with the bat – through an energetic partnership between Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer. They battled again in what might have been a conclusive powerplay where they lost three wickets.
They figured out how to twist it because of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer demonstrating a longing to go past their usual range of familiarity. Iyer came in at a stage when Delhi were still looking to go hard and reverse the momentum, he took charge in the powerplay overs constantly trying to make room and bagging boundaries which took Delhi to a respectable powerplay score of 43 despite losing three wickets. And unlike the previous instances against MI, he’d made sure that the impact of early wickets was lessened by not going under a shell.
Rishab & Iyer:
It also allowed Pant to play his preferred gameplan. As he has shown through the tournament – of giving himself time before teeing off. It took until the 17th ball for Pant to attempt his big shot. Furthermore, when he did this time, Pant was keen to focus on his most ideal alternative – Krunal Pandya’s left-arm turn with two sixes. The duo had also ran hard to give the partnership some legs in the initial stages of a 96-run resurrection act. Their plans under pressure, and execution was clear and precise. And despite falling short of their powerplay plans. A lot of wrongs from their previous encounters against MI had been corrected. They’d even got to a stage where they had their best hitters in Pant and Shimron Hetmyer and a well-set Iyer available for the final onslaught. No issues up until now, regardless of the misfortunes.
However, the allegation of Delhi approaching 200 should have been closely watched. Only 20 runs were scored in the last three overs. The final knockout came when Nathan Coulter Nile got Rishabh Pant. At the fine leg not long after the principal half of the competition. Pant had lost the battle in execution of what is a strength in his armoury. This was quickly followed by Shimron Hetmyer guiding a short, slower ball from Boult to short third man. And Iyer, who found himself at the wrong end more often than not in the death overs gathered only 10 off his last 8 balls.
What went wrong?
The hows and whys of this failure, will no doubt be reflected upon by the team. Some others too can be guessed. They’d possibly mull about their game upfront against Boult. When he took some of them by surprise by shortening his lengths with the new ball. There’d be thinking too about their senior batsmen failing to come good on the big occasion. How much of a gap is there between their planning and execution? Will that need a revisit? What caused a stark difference in their much vaunted pace attack in the two halves of their campaign? How do technical deficiencies be corrected in talented players?
And possibly more, with the benefit of hindsight.
For what the present had once again was a team that had their fair share of talent and the know-how to challenge. Albeit in small phases, against what is now believed to be amongst the best T20 teams assembled.
But the gaps too had been just as stark. After the final, head coach Ricky Ponting mused that his team was probably the youngest in the tournament. And it’s perhaps in that they’ll take a lot of solace.
The final had been lost. But new territory had been charted by this group even before they faced a ball in the final. And possibly more than a few lessons gained.