Dubai: Mumbai Indians, arguably the best T20 outfit in the history of the format, carried out a clinical decimation of Delhi Capitals by 57 runs in the first Qualifier, to set sights on their fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) title.
Suryakumar Yadav (51 off 38 balls) laid the platform on which Ishan Kishan (55 not out) and Hardik Pandya (37 no off 14 balls) cashed in to take their team to 200/5.
The pressure of scoreboard was writ large on a wobbly Capitals top-order with Trent Boult (2/9 in 2 overs) and Jasprit Bumrah (4/14 in 4 overs) producing a 'Test match opening spell" to eventually blow out the opposition for 143/8.
Prithvi Shaw (0) waited for an inswinger which never came and instead edged a Boult delivery that was delivered with angled seam. Ajinkya Rahane (0) expected an outswinger, but got an in-dipper that had him plumb in front.
The in-form Shikhar Dhawan (0) got a toe-crusher from Jasprit Bumrah that breached his defences.
It was 0/3 in 8 balls and there was nothing left in the match. Shreyas Iyer was snapped at cover off Bumrah and Rishabh Pant slog swept a ball from Krunal Pandya to be holed out in the deep as Capitals slumped to 41/5.
Marcus Stoinis top-scored with a 46-ball 65, while Axar Patel made 42.
This is the sixth time that the Rohit Sharma-led franchise has reached the summit clash.
Delhi will, however, get a second shot at glory when they meet winner of the Eliminator between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday in the second Qualifier.
Earlier, Iyer decided to start with inexperienced left-arm seamer Daniel Sams, who was taken apart by Quinton de Kock.
It was Suryakumar's near flawless half-century complemented by Hardik's death-over fireworks that saw Mumbai Indians put up a formidable total.
While Ravichandran Ashwin (3/29 in 4 overs) shone brightly with his crafty bowling, Iyer's captaincy left a lot to be desired due to negative tactics as far as his pace department was concerned.
Starting with left-arm seam of Sams (0/44 in 4 overs) badly backfired. Kagiso Rabada (0/4 in 4 overs) and Anrich Nortje (1/50 in 4 overs) also had a forgettable day at the office.
De Kock and Suryakumar were in full flow as the boundaries and sixes continued to flow from their blades during the 62-run stand in only 6.1 overs.
While de Kock was severe on anything bowled short or on his legs, Suryakumar's flowing drives off spin and pace were a treat for the eyes.
in the end, it was big-hitting exhibition from Hardik as he kept his shape nicely to hammer Rabada and Nortje out of the park.