Mumbai win IPL, bubble boys head to Sydney

Rob Forsaith
·2-min read

Delhi coach Ricky Ponting was sceptical as to whether this year's Indian Premier League would be completed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ponting's Capitals suffered a five-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians in the Dubai final.

The legend is set to arrive in Sydney on Thursday aboard the same charter flight carrying India's touring party and Australia's IPL stars like Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins.

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma, who will travel to Australia but had been in doubt for the tour because of a hamstring injury, proved form and fitness by top-scoring in the final with 68.

Gun paceman Jasprit Bumrah, another of Mumbai's key players who will need to have a big summer if India are to upset the hosts in the four-Test series, finished the Twenty20 tournament with 27 wickets at 15.

Ponting, who will coach some IPL-contracted members of Australia's limited-overs squad while they quarantine together in the fortnight leading up to the opening ODI on November 27, was full of praise for five-time champions Mumbai.

The former Mumbai coach was also complimentary of IPL organisers, who hastily shifted the rescheduled event to the UAE and drafted strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure it went ahead.

"I must admit that leaving Australia, I was sceptical whether this tournament would get all the way through or not," Ponting said.

"It's been a very challenging tour."

Biosecurity bubbles have been as much of a talking point during the IPL as the various match-winning performances.

India captain Virat Kohli headlines a long list of players to have expressed concerns about the sustainability of what life on tour now constitutes.

"We knew that was always going to be a challenge, to try and keep the boys up through what's been 10 or 11 weeks of a hard slog," Ponting said.

Australia and India were given a timely reminder of the importance of COVID-19 protocols on Wednesday, when exemptions allowing West Indies' squad to train in Christchurch were revoked after multiple breaches of quarantine rules.

Sharma suggested IPL players and staff deserve a pat on the back for ensuring there were "no hiccups in terms of that bio bubble".

"I know these are tough times," he said.

"But we've got to be disciplined and that's exactly what all the franchises did ... which made sure the IPL happened smoothly."

Sharma praised Mumbai's Australian bowlers James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile, who played in last year's ODI World Cup but is no longer in favour with national selectors.

Coulter-Nile snared 2-29 in the final.

Marcus Stoinis, who opened the batting in the final but was out for a golden duck, Alex Carey and Daniel Sams were part of the Capitals' squad.