CAPE TOWN – IPL 2020 will be remembered for many exceptional reasons.
Not only was cricket’s biggest extravaganza relocated for its full duration to the United Arab Emirates, but also the fact that Covid-19 enforced all matches to be contested in empty stadia. For a competition whose heartbeat is the wild passion of its fans it is remarkable that it will still go down as one of the most exhilarating tournaments yet.
All this excitement reaches a crescendo at 4pm on Tuesday in Dubai when the Delhi Capitals break further ground by virtue of their maiden final appearance. Dehli were previously the only franchise not to feature in the showpiece event.
But as much as things change, it also stays the same. Delhi’s opponents tonight will be perennial finalists, and four-time defending champions, the Mumbai Indians.
It certainly is the final South Africans were hoping for with three Proteas set to feature across both teams.
Despite Mumbai’s squad being littered with a galaxy of global stars, Proteas limited-overs captain Quinton de Kock has become an indispensable component of MI. De Kock is the franchise’s joint leading run-scorer, and fifth overall, for the second successive season.
Ironically, the men primarily tasked with halting De Kock’s assault will be his Proteas contemporaries Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. The pace duo, and in particular Rabada, have been sensational for Delhi with the pair snaring 49 wickets collectively already.
Playing in just his first IPL season, Nortje has grabbed the headlines for his searing speed by sending down the fastest deliveries in IPL history during this tournament.
— Delhi Capitals (Tweeting from 🇦![CDATA]>🇪) (@DelhiCapitals) November 9, 2020
Rabada though is the real match-winner. He currently leads the overall bowlers table with 29 wickets at 17.79 and requires a further four scalps to break Dwayne Bravo’s all-time IPL record, although that’s not top of his thoughts right now .
“Delhi has never reached a final since the IPL started. We’re glad to take the team to these heights and now it is about sealing the job. Hopefully we can make history in the final,” he said.
“The IPL final is a huge thing because of the magnitude of players’ and the skill levels are so high. It is a well-followed tournament. It doesn’t get any bigger than this. It is a big stage. Primary is winning the tournament.
All of the other stuff is literally secondary. If we win the tournament I don’t mind not taking any wickets.”