If the Delhi Capitals were to have any chance of winning Tuesday’s IPL final against the Mumbai Indians, then the brilliance of Kagiso Rabada will be instrumental in their quest, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The Proteas quick has once again enjoyed a stellar campaign and is on course to finish the competition with the Purple Hat after coming up just short last year.
His 29 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 17.79 has put Rabada in a class above the rest, with one final hurdle remaining for he and his team to clear.
But, it’s fair to say the Capitals team will head into the all-important clash in Dubai as clear underdogs with Mumbai, the IPL’s most successful side, going in search of their fifth crown.
The Mumbai outfit are a close-knit unit dominating as a team, where the Capitals have largely achieved success this year thanks to the brilliance of a few key players – none more so than Rabada.
Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting was right, though, that Mumbai probably would have liked to play the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final game instead of the Capitals.
Rabada’s development and growth as a T20 player has been incredibly significant throughout this campaign, with his ability to strike at crucial stages ultimately the ingredient that got the Capitals over the line in what appeared to be losing battles.
Rabada took three wickets in one over in Qualifier 2 on Sunday that downed the Sunrisers’ hopes of reaching another final. That he did it in the penultimate over to defend his team’s total, is probably even more significant given the importance of death bowling in the T20 format.
I’ve written before that Rabada’s ability to adjust at different stages in this format will be of extreme importance for the Proteas in the future. But, forming an idea of how Ponting expects him to bowl at the start of the innings – compared to the latter stages – will indeed give fans a spectacle to watch in the final.
If there’s one bowler in the world you’d want to curtail the dangerous Mumbai batting lineup, then it will have to be Rabada – at least right now with his tail up.
This will be the fourth time these two camps clash in this year’s IPL, with Mumbai winning all three of the previous encounters.
But, as fate would have it, the final will be the only match that truly matters when past results become irrelevant.