Chennai Super Kings, guided by experience, tamed the youth brigade of Delhi Capitals with a dominating six-wicket victory in the Indian Premier League contest at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Tuesday.
Delhi couldn’t capitalise on their decision to bat first. Barring Shikhar Dhawan (51 off 47), none of the other batsmen could stay for the long haul on the sluggish surface. With Chennai bowlers hunting in packs, Delhi merely dragged themselves to 147/6 in 20 overs, hurt by Dwayne Bravo’s (3-33) comeback in the death overs. On resumption, the defending champions reached the target with two balls remaining.
Chennai briskly got off the chase, even though they lost Ambati Rayudu early in the third over. An irrepressible Shane Watson (44) led the attack with fluid hitting and Suresh Raina provided the able support. The two ensured Chennai collected 58 runs in the first six over powerplay.
Amit Mishra, introduced in the sixth over, was welcomed by Watson with two towering sixes over the sight-screen and mid-wicket. But the veteran leg-spinner returned the favour immediately with a tossed up delivery which foxed Watson.
Mishra, drafted in place of Trent Boult, then returned to end the swashbuckling innings of Suresh Raina, who edged a slider straight to Rishabh Pant’s hand. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (32 n.o.) arrived amidst loud cheer and got busy in knocking off the deficit with Kedar Jadhav, who was dropped in the 16th over by Dhawan. Delhi could do little to stop CSK's calm progress to the finish line, despite dismissing Jadhav in the last over.
The home team was given a flourishing start by Prithvi Shaw, but his run lasted only till the fifth over. Shreyas Iyer and Dhawan came together to graft 43 runs for the second wicket but the partnership lacked spunk. Imran Tahir, well-versed with the vagaries of the pitch, sent Iyer back in the 12th over when he hit his pad. Man of the moment, Pant, quickly brightened up the atmosphere with his big hits. He rustled up 41 runs for the third wicket with Dhawan -- the two hammering Bravo for 16 runs in his maiden over.
But the West Indian returned with vengeance in the 16th over. In the second ball of the over, Pant picked him over deep square-leg but Thakur sprinted to take a fantastic catch. In the fourth delivery, Colin Ingram was on his way out after failing to clear the cover. It triggered a collapse, which included the fall of Dhawan who had brought his half-century in the 17th over. Delhi thus ended up adding only 29 runs with the help of two boundaries in the last five overs. It was simply too small a target for the kings of IPL.