Mumbai Indians showed why they are, arguably, the best T20 outfit in the world, with a clinical decimation of Delhi Capitals by 57 runs in Qualifier 1 and set sights on their fifth Indian Premier League title.
There were many heroes on the night for the defending champions but the one who walked away with the player of the match award deservingly was Jasprit Bumrah.
This is the sixth time that the franchise has reached the summit clash and Rohit Sharma will be hoping to land a remarkable sixth IPL title personally, while leading MI for the fifth time in a final.
Surya Kumar Yadav (51*) laid the platform on which Ishan Kishan (55*) and Hardik Pandya (37*) cashed in to take their team to 200/5.
The pressure of scoreboard was writ large on a wobbly Capitals top-order with Trent Boult (2/9 in 2 overs) and Bumrah (4/14 in 4 overs) produced a devastating opening spell to eventually blow out the opposition for 143/8.
Delhi will however get a second shot at glory when they meet winner of the Eliminator between RCB and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday in the second qualifier.
If there was something called putting up a team effort, then the defending champions did that to the ‘T’ on Thursday.
First up, asked to bat, MI took the conditions out of the question. With Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje in his corner, Iyer decided to start with inexperienced left-arm seamer Daniel Sams, who instantly taken apart by Quinton de Kock.
Despite losing Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck, Capitals were on the back-foot from early on as MI posted their best powerplay score of the season.
It was Suryakumar’s near flawless half-century complemented by Hardik’s death-over fireworks that saw Mumbai Indians put up an above-par total.
While Ravichandran Ashwin (3/29 in 4 overs) shone brightly with his cerebral bowling, Shreyas Iyer’s side did not have much else going for them.
Starting with left-arm seam of Sams (0/44 in 4 overs) backfired and even worse was that spearheads Rabada (0/4 in 4 overs) and Nortje (1/50 in 4 overs) also had a forgettable day at the office.
De Kock and Surya were in full flow as the boundaries and sixes continued to flow from their blades during the 62-run stand in only 6.1 overs. While De Kock was severe on anything bowled short or on his legs, Surya’s flowing drives off spin and pace were a treat for the eyes.
Delhi pulled things back in the middle with Kieron Pollard also getting out for a duck. In the end, it was big-hitting exhibition from Hardik as he kept his shape nicely to hammer Rabada and Nortje out of the park.
Then, it was the Boult-Bumrah show.
Prithvi Shaw (0) waited for an inswinger which never came and instead edged a Boult delivery that was delivered with angled seam. Ajinkya Rahane (0) expected an outswinger but got a Boult special in-dipper that had him plumb in-front.
Shikhar Dhawan (0) had to walk back before he could settle down as he got a toe-crusher from Bumrah that messed with his middle-stump. It was 0/3 in 8 balls and there was nothing left in the match, pretty much from there.
Shreyas Iyer was snapped at cover off Bumrah and Rishabh Pant slog swept a ball from Krunal Pandya to be holed out in the deep as Capitals were half the side back in the dug-out for 41.
And just when Marcus Stoinis, after reaching his half century, was causing some concern for MI, Rohit brought Bumrah back into the attack and the pacer finished the deal with a double-wicket maiden over, including a peach to dismiss Stoinis.
(With PTI inputs)