Delhi Capitals (DC) completed a comprehensive victory of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Saturday, set to be a thriller between last year’s finalists and a successful but comparatively older and experienced CSK squad. DC won the toss, and Rishabh Pant, the newly installed captain of the team, opted to field first at the Wankhede stadium – factorising that the win percentage is higher at the ground.
However, a mammoth total of 188 set by CSK did not prove sufficient as a glamourous batting display by DC’s openers ensured that the target was chased comfortably. Despite CSK’s seasoned star, Suresh Raina’s brisk half-century and a flashy display of hard-hitting at a depth of the innings by Sam Curran, it was DC who took the spoils of victory.
CSK put into batting, fielded the Faf Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad as their openers. However, within the first few overs of the power-play, CSK lost both their openers with just 7 runs to show on the board. Du Plessis was dismissed by Avesh Khan for a duck in the second over after a ball, nipping back in, caught him Leg-Before-wicket (LBW). Gaikwad soon followed him back to the dressing room after nicking one to Shikhar Dhawan in Chris Woakes’ bowling slips. CSK ended up with a meagre 32 runs for the loss of 2 wickets at the end of the power-play with Moeen Ali – pushed up the order – and Suresh Raina tasked with steadying the ship. After the power-play, DC introduced their experienced spinners, but they were soon taken apart by CSK’s left-handers. Ravichandran Ashwin, bowling his second, was at the receiving end of an onslaught by Ali during the 9th over. Ali hit him for two sixes before finally being caught after contributing 36 of 24 balls, attempting to play a reverse shot.
Raina, however, continued targeting Ashwin, hitting for another six, eventually adding 18 runs off his bowling. CSK accelerated their innings in the middle-overs, scoring at a rate of close to 8 runs per over in a bid to cross the par score of 170 at the Wankhede. A partnership of 50 in 24 balls between Ambati Rayudu and Raina ensured that CSK built the perfect platform for a sparkling finish. But, in the 16th over, CSK were dealt a blow by Khan, who again picked up an important wicket at a crucial juncture. After scoring a 32-ball half-century, Raina was run-out following a miscommunication with Ravindra Jadeja at the non-striker’s end. Raina’s dismissal brought MS Dhoni to the wicket at a crucial stage in the innings. However, a ball deflected off the bat’s under-edge and onto the stumps, saw Dhoni dismissed for a disappointing duck. Khan proved to be the pick of DC’s bowlers, posing 23-2 from his 4 overs. The onus of posing a substantial target was now in the hands of Sam Curran and Jadeja. Curran, fresh from the India-England series, smacked Tom Curran, his elder brother, for 23 in the penultimate over, taking CSK over the 170 run mark. Curran and Jadeja forged a 26 ball 50 run partnership through their power-hitting, sealing a defendable total for the CSK bowlers.
In response, DC’s batsmen looked comfortable throughout the chase. An exquisite batting display culminated into a formidable opening partnership which set the set for the eventual victory. Coming into the match, improvements in Prithivi Shaw’s batting technique were widely discussed. Following a string of poor performances during India’s tour down under, Shaw was dropped from India’s Test squad but made a comeback during the Vijay Hazare Trophy, scoring 827 runs. The improvements were there to see on the pitch as the Shaw and Dhawan seemingly glided towards the target.
After a calculated start to their innings, Dhawan and Shaw targeted Sam Curran, scoring 17 runs off the 4th over. In the next over, Shaw displayed some extravagant cricketing strokes, taking another 17 of Shardul Thakur’s over. By the end of the 5th over, the pair had already stitched a 50 run partnership and ended up scoring 65 runs in the powerplay overs with 12 boundaries to show for it. The pair continued their onslaught during the middle-overs, hitting a boundary during the first over of nearly every bowler introduced.
The opening pair rotated the strike and did not let the bowlers settle, scoring at a rate of 10+ runs per over for most of the middle overs. In the 11th overs, the pair put together 100 runs on the board, with Shaw and Dhawan reaching half-centuries at a rapid pace. Both batsmen targeted Shardul Thakur as they took 31 runs off his first two overs. The pair put up 138 runs on the board before Bravo dismissed Shaw for 72 of 38 deliveries. By this time, the odds were highly favouring DC as Dhawan began displaying an assorted range of shots. Dhawan disrupted the lengths of the CSK bowlers through his innovative but risk-averse shot-making. He played the anchor at the start of the innings and transcended into the aggressor as soon as the target seemed in close range.
Dhawan eventually lost his wicket to Shardul Thakur, but it did not stop DC as Pant ended with a boundary to seal their victory. DJ Bravo was the pick of CSK’s bowlers, posing figures of 28-1. Deepak Chahar and Moeen Ali for 30 odd runs, and Thakur conceded 53 runs for 2 wickets. DC won the match with 8 balls remaining, taking them top of the table on net run rate.
Here are the highlights of the match on Hotstar