MS Dhoni, coming back from a one-match layoff due to fever, cracked a 22 ball 44 and spinners Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja shared 7 wickets between them to see Chennai Super Kings beat Delhi Capitals comprehensively by 80 runs. Chennai Super Kings resumes pole position in the league by virtue of this victory and look set to finish among the top two teams this season with one match left to go.
Delhi Capitals looked like they had Chennai Super Kings on the back foot mid-way Super Kings’ inning when they were scoring at less than 6 runs per over despite having 9 wickets in hand. Shane Watson was out to a nine-ball duck as he pulled a Jagadeesha Suchith delivery straight to Axar Patel at mid-wicket. Even at the end of power play, Chennai had scored just 27 runs as Trent Boult and Suchith bowled the first three overs conceding only 7 runs. The second wicket partnership between Suresh Raina and Faff du Plessis did consolidate the Chennai inning but was not authoritative as they only enhanced the scoring rate to 6.3 per over.
Axar Patel got du Plessis (39 from 41 balls) when the batsman holed out to Dhawan at long-off. Suchith conceded 14 runs from the first three balls of his last over to Suresh Raina but got the batsman caught at point in the same over for 59 runs off 37 balls. As the sixteenth over started Dhoni and Jadeja were both new to the crease and were yet to open their score with Chennai on 102 for 3 wickets. Jadeja got going immediately as he hit Patel for a boundary and six in the next over. Jadeja blitzed 25 runs from 10 balls before he was out mid-way through the nineteenth over.
Dhoni hit a beamer from Chris Morris for a six a ball later and took a run off the last ball to take the strike in the last over. Trent Boult, who had given away only two runs in his first two overs, bore the brunt of Dhoni’s attack as he plundered 19 runs off the final over hitting a boundary and two sixes. Boult had conceded 36 runs from his last two overs and Chennai Super Kings had posted an above par 179 runs for Delhi Capitals to chase.
Delhi Capitals lost Prithvi Shaw in the very first over when he cut a Deepak Chahar short ball to Raina at point. Harbhajan Singh foxed Dhawan and bowled him in the last over of the power play and Delhi Capitals finished the over on 59 for 2 wickets. That saw Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja com on to bowl on a surface that was gripping and assisting the spinners. In the next six overs, the duo took six Capitals’ wickets between them. While Imran Tahir accounted for Rishab Pant, Axar Patel and Sherfane Rutherford, Ravindra Jadeja got Colin Ingram Chris Morris and Shreyas Iyer.
When Shreyas Iyer was stumped by Dhoni on the last ball of the twelfth over, Delhi Capitals were on 85 for 8 wickets and had little hope of reaching the target. The later batsmen just went through the motions as Capitals inning capitulated on 99 runs. Both the teams have one match each left to play and will be looking to finish among the top two. Delhi Capitals will be heading home to take on Rajasthan Royals on Saturday and Chennai will be in Mohali playing against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.