Suresh Raina (59) along with MS Dhoni (44) made solid contributions as CSK ended on 179/4 on a rather slow surface, giving a batting master-class about how to go about an innings on pitches where the ball isn’t exactly coming onto the bat.
Shreyas Iyer won the toss and elected to field first. CSK started rather tepidly with the score reading 3/0 after 3.1 overs before Jagadeesha Suchith (2/28) picked his first wicket for Delhi Capitals, removing Shane Watson for a nine-ball duck.
Raina came out attacking and found the boundaries with ease. Chris Morris was bit wayward with his line and length which made for easy fodder for both Raina and Faf du Plessis. Raina also targeted the spinners, with Axar Patel conceding 10 runs in his first over. However, CSK could only reach 27/1 after the powerplay – the fourth lowest in the tournament.
Du Plessis struggled to time the ball as well as he would have liked. However, he gave valuable support to Raina who looked good against the spinners and regained his form ahead of the qualifiers. It seemed du Plessis had found form by hitting one over the bowlers head for a maximum but he skied the next one as Axar Patel removed the South African captain for a tough 39 off 41 balls.
Raina completed his half-century but departed in the next over to Suchith as Dhawan took a tumbling catch at point.
The southpaw looked good for his 59, which came off just 37 balls and included eight boundaries along with a solitary six.
Ravindra Jadeja came out to join Dhoni in the middle and went for the attack right from the first ball. He hit 25 from 10 balls to give the momentum for the late push to the CSK. It took a fine running catch from Morris off his own bowling to remove Jadeja. That was the only positive for Morris (1/47) on an otherwise poor day. He also bowled a waist high no-ball to Dhoni which went for a maximum as the CSK skipper again showed why he is the best when it comes to hitting in the death overs.
Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat have faced the brunt of Dhoni’s bat and this time it was Trent Boult, who ended conceding 21 runs in the over. Dhoni was off the strike on the 4th deliver y but then ran a quick bye off wide before depositing the final two balls into the stands.
He ended unbeaten on 44 off 22 balls as CSK finished at 179/4, well above par on a pitch where 150 looked like the par score.
In chase, Prithvi Shaw was unlucky to depart early as he hit one sweetly but straight to Raina at covers as Deepak Chahar struck in his first over.
Skipper Iyer joined Shikhar Dhawan and the two looked really good for the visitors. They found the boundaries easily as the pitch looked rather easy to bat on when the two in-form players were striking the ball.
Dhawan targeted Harbhajan Singh but the off-spinner showed his experience once again, persisting with the fuller length. Sweep shot – as has often been the case – again proved to be Dhawan’s downfall. He saw his furniture rattled after missing the shot as Harbhajan celebrated. That also was the beginning of all too familiar Delhi collapse.
Pant came out to bat and has often been the case this year, hit an extraordinary boundary over extra cover but then hit the next delivery straight to Dwayne Bravo at long off. The youngster’s shot-selection will certainly come under scrutiny once again. Interestingly, Imran Tahir again picked a wicket in his first over.
Foreign players were always going to find it difficult on the surface and Colin Ingram was caught at his crease as Ravindra Jadeja got him lbw for 1.
Tahir then struck a double-blow, removing Axar Patel (9) and Sherfane Rutherford (1) in the same over. Dhoni’s lightening glove work accounted for Chris Morris (0) and captain Iyer (44) – who had been watching the collapse from the other end - in the same over.
The Capitals didn’t last long after that and were dismissed for 99. The convincing victory all but assures a top two spot for CSK and that means they will play the qualifier at Chepauk, something which will certainly give them a huge advantage. Capitals run-rate suffered a hammering and it opened a window for Mumbai to pip them for a top two spot provided they can win their last two matches.
First Published: May 2, 2019, 6:30 AM IST