Delhi Capitals had lost four matches against Mumbai Indians during the 2020 edition of Indian Premier League, including the first Qualifier and then the Final. Overall, they had lost five on the trot against Rohit Sharma and Co. The Delhi franchise had also not won a match in Chennai since 2010 and while that record meant for nothing given the turnover in teams, they were playing their first match at the venue in 2021 after starting off their campaign in Mumbai. Defending champions MI, on the other hand, had already played three at Chepauk and had a much better idea of what the surface was doing.

Add to all that, Rohit Sharma won the toss and got to decide what he wanted to do.

In essence, if Delhi had lost match No 13 of IPL 2021 against Mumbai, one could have easily brushed it aside as possibly the most likely result. The Capitals had plenty stacked against them and it would have been a defeat even they would have, perhaps, written off as something to move on from without baggage.

But as it turned out, thanks to the two players who were brought into the XI, DC managed to end their wait for a win against Mumbai. While Shimron Hetmyer held his nerve at the end and cashed in on some indiscipline from Mumbai’s otherwise efficient death bowlers to finish off the chase, it was Amit Mishra’s guile and experience that put them in charge on the night in Chennai.

Leading wicket-takers in IPL history

PLAYER Inns Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 5w
Lasith Malinga 122 170 5/13 19.80 7.14 16.62 1
Amit Mishra 152 164 5/17 23.91 7.34 19.53 1
Piyush Chawla 163 156 4/17 27.32 7.87 20.83 0
Dwayne Bravo 140 156 4/22 24.76 8.37 17.73 0
Harbhajan Singh 160 150 5/18 26.86 7.07 22.77 1

The veteran leg-spinner Mishra took four key wickets as Delhi secured a tense win over Mumbai Indians in their IPL 2020 final rematch on Tuesday in what was another low-scoring thriller in Chennai. The 38-year-old’s brilliance helped restrict the reigning champions to 137/9 off their 20 overs.

In-form Shikhar Dhawan hit 45 to guide Delhi to a six wicket victory that took the Capitals to second on the points table with three wins from four matches.

After having won the toss, MI looked to make the most of the harder ball and field restrictions as run-scoring has been progressively more difficult in Chennai. Quinton de Kock went after scoring just two runs, but Rohit (44) and Suryakumar Yadav (24) then put on 58 for the second wicket to justify the decision. Rohit, especially, was batting the best he had done so far in this tournament, with a six against Ashwin Ravichandran and Kagiso Rabada the two standout shots of the night.

The night had not started well for Mishra, who was returning to the side after missing out in the last couple of matches. His first over, the last of the powerplay, went for 10 runs as Suryakumar hit two fours – including a sublime inside-out shot off a near yorker-length delivery. In his second over, he conceded a boundary off the second ball as Rohit cut one past point.

Mishra then changed the match. He had the well-set MI captain caught by Steve Smith on the boundary at long on, with a clever change of pace (one of his slowest deliveries on the night). He flighted the ball, put it wide from Rohit’s reach and the attempted big shot was all sort of mishit. Mishra claimed Hardik Pandya two balls later in a repeat catch by Smith. Things had, quite literally, turned for Delhi.

In this third over, he had the dangerous Kieron Pollard lbw for just two with a quicker googly – arguably the most important wicket of the lot, given how the West Indies allrounder could have changed the match at the end to push MI towards 150 like he did the other night against Sunrisers. Mumbai quickly went from 67/2 to 84/6.

Coming back to bowl later on in the innings for his fourth over, he sneaked one past Ishan Kishan – the MI batsman who looked like providing a late impetus for this match was batting on 23 – with a yorker, that he intended as a run-saving delivery but it lobbed on to the top of bails for a surprise wicket. So much so that, Mishra was on his way back to the top of his run-up before his teammates had to alert him that he had completed a four-for. It was, indeed, one of the quickest deliveries he bowled on the night.

Amit Mishra's bowling speeds against MI. Red dots indicate wickets. (Image courtesy iplt20 match-center)

Amit Mishra’s bowling progression against MI: 

After 1 over, 10/0 

After 2 overs, 17/2 

After 3 overs, 19/3 

After 4 overs, 24/4  

“We were under pressure at the start [when Mumbai Indians were batting] and Mishra really got us back into the match,” said Delhi captain Rishabh Pant later.

It was that sort of a game-changing performance by the veteran who is now six wickets short of Lasith Malinga in the list of leading wicket-takers in the history of IPL.

Watch highlights of Amit Mishra’s spell here and his interaction with Prithvi Shaw here.

(With AFP inputs)