A powerful opening stand between Dhawan and Stoinis followed by a quickfire cameo by Hetmyer and Delhi Capitals challenged SRH's weak link - their batting - which failed to shine. Williamson and young Abdul Samad took the game deep, but that turned out to be not enough to book a place in the final.
DC 10/10 - With a run-rate of 10.83 in powerplay, Delhi Capitals turned on the heat as they put up a carnage. Stoinis, the man in form, blasted 33 off 21 while Dhawan plundered 30 off 16. DC openers showed special love for last match hero Holder, as he was hammered left, right and center.
SRH 6.5/10 - Ending 49/3 in first six chasing 190 and losing players like Warner and Pandey is as bad a start as it gets. The run-rate was fine as the batsmen showed the correct intent, the move to open with Garg was great too but SRH lacked in execution. Warner's wicket was a punch to the gut.
DC 8/10 - Despite Shreyas Iyer's momentum sucking 20-ball 21 in the middle-overs, Delhi Capitals made 74 off nine overs, all thanks to Dhawan, who kept attacking, and made sure that his side looted 48 off Shahbaz Nadeem's four overs. It was quite decent, setting them up for a good finish.
SR 9/10 - SRH showed great character in the middle-overs, especially Kane, marshaling the whole batting on his own, making 54 off 36 in the phase, while the Orange army scored 80 in nine overs to keep themselves in the hunt. Samad taking 16 off 15th over was great momentum shifter too.
SRH 7/10 - With a set Dhawan at the crease and Hetmyer sent to attack, DC would have fancied 200. But, it wasn't to be as the Indian quicks, Sandeep and Natarajan, gave just 13 in the final two overs as Delhi made 50 in the final five overs. It was something which SRH took with both hands after listless bowling throughout.
DC- 8/10 - The match was a lot closer than the equation suggested as both Kane and Samad were set, but Stoinis took the important wicket of Williamson and then Rabada struck thrice in the penultimate over as DC held on to their nerves to catapult into their first ever IPL final.
What took Delhi so long to open with Stoinis?
Marcus Stoinis' best batting position has been opening the batting, as we saw in last year's BBL, so it was always surprising to see him do well as middle-order batter in initial few games, given his frailties against spin. But, that was soon found out as he was back to his old inconsistent ways and completely lost his thunder after the first few games. Now, it coincided with DC's struggles with the opening partnerships as Prithvi Shaw had turned into a walking wicket. But better late than never as DC finally unveiled Stoinis the opener and he went on a roll, giving them a great start and smashing pacers, which he is known for. He made 38 off 27 and added a valuable 86 with Dhawan and was the one who gave his side the momentum with early boundaries against Sandeep and Holder.
The great Shreyas Iyer strike-rate quandary
Team is struggling at 6 for 2, he makes 20 off the first 20, team is relishing at 86 for 1 after eight overs, he makes a 20-ball 21. Shreyas Iyer is having a horrible IPL, and not for the first time. It's not just a form thing, there are guys who just don't know any better. No disregard to him as Shreyas is a gun ODI player, but he tries the same 50-over methods in T20 cricket and that's not how it works.That's why it never works, no wonder how much KL may say that SR is overrated. When someone considered your competition like Suryakumar Yadav strikes at 148.23, your strike-rate just can't be 122.37. Period ! Last year, Iyer's strike-rate was 119.95, overall his IPL strike-rare also hovers in mid-120s, so it's not just form - he just plays this way. And if he tries to go hard, he fails like the last game. Sadly, he hasn't even been able to smash the spinners.
All hail the Yorker machine Thangarasu Natarajan
After bamboozling and getting out a set AB de Villiers at the death, a phase where he hunts bowlers with prowess of the top most reptile, Thangarasu Natarajan continued impressing as he delivered six perfect yorkers in the final over of the DC innings to restrict them to 189 after what looked an easy 200. Natarajan bowls yorkers, yorkers, yorkers and repeats the same, in death, which is something we haven't seen before. He succeeds too, which is the most important part. The left-armer is the third best in terms of wickets (12) in death this season, behind Rabada and Bumrah. However, his economy is 10.06 in the phase, which he can improve with time given he's raw to the big stage. But, does he have the potential to be India's death bowler? Why not. What does he need to improve? Perhaps, learn the art of mixing things up as you can't become predictable.
With Kane Williamson playing a masterclass in the middle, anything was possible had he stayed till the end. But in the 17th over, Stoinis, who had earlier delivered a twin wicket over to send back Garg and Pandey, hit the final nail in the coffin as he saw the back of Kane in the 17th over as he was dismissed on 67 off 45. It was a mountain too steep to climb from thereon, for SRH.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Popcorn-worthy
Four, sixes, missed catches, some great shots, rippers of deliveries, stares and glares here and there - it was a match that kept us hooked right from the start as DC batters showed a lot of oomph with their opening and continued till the end. In fact, even their bowlers showed a lot of spirit and kept us entertained throughout the game. SRH batters also kept taking their chances, hitting the odd big shots, keeping everyone interested.