Chennai: Skipper MS Dhoni’s prowess in the slog overs was on display yet again while home spinners bamboozled the Delhi Capitals batsmen as Chennai Super Kings prevailed in the IPL battle for top spot with a thumping 80-run win, here Wednesday.
It was Suresh Raina who struck a fighting 59 off 37 balls to prepare the road for revival following a slow start and Dhoni (unbeaten 44 off 22) provided the late flourish, ending the innings in style with two sixes off Trent Boult.
After making just 27 runs in Powerplay overs, the hosts eventually put on board a fighting 179 for four and dismissed Capitals for just 99 in 16.2 over to snatch the top spot from the visitors. Capitals suffered a surprise batting collapse after being consistent this season.
They were out of the game after losing half the batsmen by 11th over and ended up suffering their worst defeat. It was also their lowest total of the season. Chennai Super Kings, who now sit atop the table with 18 points, are now sure to end in top-2, ensuring that they will have two shots at making the summit clash.
Mumbai Indians is only team which can displace Capitals (16 points) from second place if they win their next two games and Delhi lose their last. Delhi Capitals had hoped that dew would come in while batting second but Chennai spinners bamboozled them from the word go, never allowing them to settle.
South African spinner Imran Tahir (4/12) and Ravindra Jadeja (3/9) tore apart the middle order, sharing seven wickets between them. Dhoni’s quick hands were at it again as he effected two lightening fast stumpings, to dismiss skipper Shreyas Iyer (44) and dangerous Chris Morris (0). Except Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan (19) none of the other Delhi batsmen could reach double-digit mark.
Earlier, Raina (59) and Faf du Plessis (39) added 83 runs for the second wicket to revive the innings after Delhi Capitals bowlers produced tight spells upfront. Dhoni, who returned to the side after recovering from a bout of fever, and Ravindra Jadeja added some quick runs to provide a late flourish to the innings. Dhoni hit unbeaten 44 off 22 balls with four fours and three sixes while Jadeja smashed 25 off 10 with two sixes.
He creamed off 20 runs from Kiwi pacer Trent Boult’s final over, hitting two sixes and four. This was after Boult and left-arm spinner Jagdeesha Suchith (2/28) had straight-jacketed the Chennai batsmen after electing bowl.
With Boult swinging the ball and Suchith accurate with his line and length, they gave away just seven runs in the first four overs. When Shane Watson could not open his account even after facing eight balls, in desperation the Australian swung his arms but only to find a fielder near boundary. IPL veteran Suresh Raina added some pace to the CSK innings with a flurry of boundaries.
Raina and Du Plessis moved the ball around and hit the boundaries when they got the chance. The first six of the innings was hit in the 13th over when Du Plessis dispatched a full delivery from Sherfane Rutherford over extra cover.
The South African repeated the act when Axar Patel operated soon after. However, the left-arm spinner got the revenge in the next ball when the Protea batsman attempted another big shot. Raina too departed in the next over with Suchith getting him caught at point but not before hitting the spinner for two fours and a six.