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Marcus Stoinis, Shikhar Dhawan steer Delhi Capitals into first IPL final – cricket

The virtual semi-final was touted as desperate Delhi Capitals versus efficient Sunrisers Hyderabad. And DC turned to their all-rounder Marcus Stoinis more in desperation thrice, and he delivered each time.

Stoinis’ vital blows, 38 as opener and three crucial wickets carried DC to their first IPL final as they defeated SRH by 17 runs in Qualifier 2 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The Delhi franchise had finished third in 2012 and 2019, one short of the final. They will take on champions Mumbai Indians in the final on Tuesday.

It was more about fumbling Sunrisers. Capitals cashed in on dropped catches and misfields to score 189/3 after electing to bat. Kane Williamson (67 off 45 balls) spread some calm in SRH with a sublime innings. Just as the panic shifted to Capitals, Stoinis, having taken two wickets to puncture the chase in the power play, got Williamson slice a drive to deep cover. With 43 to get off 19 deliveries, the innings ended at 172/8.

DC vs SRH, IPL 2020 Qualifier 2: Full highlights

Stoinis, finally promoted to open, made the 2016 champions pay after he was dropped on three. Hyderabad’s sloppy bowling and fielding was also punished by Shikhar Dhawan, who top-scored with 78 for his fourth half-century to go with his two centuries.

Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer looked a touch lost at the toss with the team desperate to regain form. He smiled in embarrassment as he could not remember Shimron Hetmyer’s name, one of two changes in the eleven with off-colour Prithvi Shaw dropped. David Warner saved him with a prompt.

The nervousness was understandable as DC has lost their early tournament moment. Losing both league games to SRH with Rashid Khan tormenting them—the leg-spinner had taken 6/21 over two games.

Promoting Stoinis was logical, but SRH, the well-oiled machine having won four games in a row saw Sandeep Sharma’s first over of accurate in-swingers go only for two runs.

It all changed in the third over. Stoinis tamely flicked Sandeep to Jason Holder, who had moved to a short mid-on trap. The fielder reached to his right but dropped it. Stoinis went on the attack and allowed Dhawan too to bat freely. And 65 off the six power-play had set Capitals on their way. Hetmyer too delivered in the late innings, hitting 42 not out off 22 balls.

By the time Warner turned to Rashid Khan, DC were in full flow. He went for 11 in his first over, and though he flummoxed Stoinis (38 – 27b, 5×4, 1×6) to bowl him off-stump in his second over, the other bowlers wilted under pressure.

Dhawan (78-50b, 6×4, 2×6), the man on a mission this season, raced to a 26-ball fourth fifty of IPL 2020. Shreyas Iyer’s (21-20b) struggles continued, but Hetmyer ensured a solid total.

Holder’s day only got worse as he was carted all over, unable to build on Rashid’s comeback (1/26). Sandeep Sharma and T Nataraj didn’t concede a boundary in the last two overs, but the total was still formidable.

With no Wriddhiman Saha, due to a hamstring tear, young Priyam Garg opened and was given the licence to attack.

R Ashwin’s first over cost 12 with Garg clouting a six over midwicket, but DC seized control. Kagiso Rabada’s first ball left saw Warner play on to the stumps off the pad for two.

Stoinis then struck twice in his first over, fifth off the innings, bowling Garg with in-form Manish Pandey spooning a catch to midwicket. At 44/3 after five overs, SRH’s batting threatened to unravel. Williamson could not pull them to victory for the second game in a row.

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