DELHI CAPITALS returned as a vastly improved side to reach their first Indian Premier League (IPL) final but will need an extraordinary effort to upset Mumbai Indians on Tuesday(10) after three unsuccessful attempts to beat the champions this season.
Coached by cricket legend Ricky Ponting and captained by Mumbai-born Shreyas Iyer, Delhi are eyeing their maiden IPL crown in a season played behind closed doors in the United Arab Emirates.
Ponting said he is confident his Delhi Capitals team has enough “firepower” to upset the odds and beat defending champions Mumbai Indians.
“If they will be sitting back and thinking if there’s a team they wouldn’t want to play, it’ll be us. But it’s about us – it’s about how we turn up, how we play, as simple as that,” he said.
Ponting said if Delhi rectify the areas lacking against Mumbai in the previous defeats and play their best cricket then there is “no doubt that we’ll win”.
Four-time winners Mumbai, captained by the seasoned Rohit Sharma, underlined their champion status by becoming the first team to enter the play-offs and then beat Delhi in the first qualifier to make the final.
By contrast, Delhi had a roller-coaster ride as they started with seven wins in their first nine games and briefly battled Mumbai for top place in the league before four straight defeats.
Delhi had to overcome Sunrisers Hyderabad in Sunday’s second qualifier to set up a summit clash with a side who beat them twice in the round-robin stage this season.
“Amazing, this is the best feeling ever,” Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer said after Sunday’s win.
“This has been a rollercoaster. A lot of ups and downs, we have stuck together like a family.”
Against Hyderabad, Delhi showed they have the tactical flexibility to try new combinations, opening with Australian Marcus Stoinis and recalling Shimron Hetmyer in inspired moves that paid off richly.
Mumbai under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma have looked familiarly formidable, their explosive batting line-up complemented by a fiery bowling attack led by India’s Jasprit Bumrah.
“Having such a versatile squad, it gives me the option of changing the batting order,” Rohit said after securing a place in the Dubai final.
“It’s not easy if you’re not batting in certain positions, but we made it clear right at the start of the tournament that this is how the team is going to play and the guys are happy with that.”