Chennai back at the top after whipping Delhi Daredevils

Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni receives the Tata Nexon Super Striker of the match award. (Photo courtesy of BCCI)

(IPL) The Chennai Super Kings regained their place at the top of the VIVO IPL 2018 standings after they defeated the Delhi Daredevils by 13 runs at the MCA International Stadium in Pune last night.

After being put in to bat, CSK posted 211-4 riding on the back of half-centuries from opener Shane Watson and captain MS Dhoni.

Later in the night, they restricted the visitors to 198-5.

CSK had their best start of the season when their openers Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis added 56 runs in the power play and extended their association to 102 in 10.5 overs. The hosts lost three wickets in quick succession when both the openers and Suresh Raina were dismissed in the space of 28 runs and three overs. Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni then consolidated the innings, and gave the innings the end-overs impetus by adding 79 runs from six overs before the former was dismissed off the penultimate ball of the innings. CSK added 81 in the middle overs and then accelerated towards the end adding 74 from the final five overs.

Sakshi Dhoni with her daughter during last night’s VIVO IPL match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Delhi Daredevils at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. (Photo courtesy BCCI)

The Delhi Daredevils lost Prithvi Shaw very early in the run-chase and slipped to 74-4 in the ninth over. The visitors still managed to put up a fight, courtesy of Rishabh Pant, who scored 79 off 45 balls (aided with seven fours and four sixes), and Vijay Shankar, who remained unbeaten on 54, made from 31 balls (one four and five sixes). Despite their individual efforts and their 88 run partnership, DD would eventually finish 14 runs short of what they needed. DD were 59-2 at the end of the power play, added 69-2 in the middle overs, and a further 70 runs in the final overs.

Shane Watson was his in elements last evening and punished the Delhi Daredevils bowlers for their slightest errors – line or length. Most of the deliveries on the pads or pitched short, he converted to boundary balls; he hit seven sixes and four boundaries in his 40-ball outing – six of the seven sixes being scored on the leg-side. He pulled the short deliveries, flicked the pad-line deliveries and on the odd occasion the bowlers landed full or offered him width, he drove fluently through the off-side. Watson, who got to his half-century off 25 balls, made 78 before he miscued an attempted big-hit off Amit Mishra and holed out to long-off.

The Australian was the dominant partner in CSK’s 102-run opening partnership; he contributed 66 runs off 33 balls in that first wicket stand. He would himself be third man out in the 14th over.

The final flourish to the innings was given by MS Dhoni, who walked in to bat after Watson was dismissed – with 6.1 overs left in the innings. The CSK captain took a few deliveries to size up the conditions and launched the seventh delivery he faced, sailing into the stands at long-off – a flat hit off the leg-spinner Amit Mishra. Trent Boult was at the receiving end of his onslaught the following over: his first three deliveries –the 17th over of the innings – were 6, 6, and 4; the first ball deposited into midwicket, the second over long-on and the third ball a boundary through fine-leg. Right at the end, Dhoni once again teed off, putting away a full toss off Avesh Khan into the stands at square-leg, and collecting a six a boundary off Boult in the final over. Dhoni, who was dropped on 31, brought up his half-century off 22 balls, and would finish unbeaten on 51; his innings contained two fours and five sixes.

Ambati Rayudu extended his prolific season with the bat by making yet another useful contribution to CSK. Coming in to bat after Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina were dismissed in quick succession, Rayudu scored a quick-fire 41 – coming off just 24 balls; his knock contained five boundaries and a six.

Lungi Ngidi, in his first game for the Chennai Super Kings, bowled two outstanding overs in the power play, conceding only 7 runs. The South African pacer came on to bowl later in the death overs, and conceded 19 in his last two, to finish with respectable figures of 4-0-26-1. The experienced Harbhajan Singh, who bowled in the middle overs, returned economical figures of 4-0-26-0.

The other CSK debutant, KM Asif, bowled with good pace, and ended up being CSK’s most successful bowler in the match; the Kerala pacer was expensive, but picked up two wickets and ended with figures of 2-43 from his three overs.

For the Delhi Daredevils, the young pacer Avesh Khan returned respectable figures of 4-0-28-0, while Amit Mishra, who dismissed Watson with a tossed up leg-break, finished with figures of 4-0-30-1.

With the addition of his 51 runs in this match, MS Dhoni has now scored more runs than any other captain in the IPL. Captain Dhoni has now scored 3356 runs; he overtook Gautam Gambhir’s aggregate of 3518 runs.

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