Chennai Super Kings continued their winning start to the season after a second successful run-chase on a slow wicket. Opting to bat first, Delhi Capitals were pegged back by Chennai's spinners and Dwayne Bravo and eventually managed just 147 runs in their quota of overs.
Shane Watson, and later, MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav helped them past the target to retain their position at the top of the table. Here are the best moments from the game at Feroz Shah Kotla.
Delhi pacers miff Shane Watson
Shane Watson was on 17 off 12 balls when at the end of the third over, Ishant Sharma walked up to the Aussie and wagged a finger at him, quite clearly displeased with something the opener did. To back Ishant up was Kagiso Rabada, who probably has a documented history of aggressive run-ins with Aussies. The Proteas seamer was pacy and had Watson pinned to the crease.
A 148kmph yorker that Watson just about kept out was followed by a bouncer at the same pace and the Chennai opener fended it off rather uncomfortably. Watson was quick to recover, though, and smashed Rabada for a four and a six off the last two balls of the over, one of which was bowled at 150kmph.
A clearly miffed Rabada was at Watson next over, animatedly talking to the umpire about the Aussie and exchanging words with the opener himself before the Delhi skipper intervened to move Rabada out of the scene. Watson, on his part, apparently enjoys such battles as was evident from his memorable tussle with Wahab Riaz in the 2015 World Cup. He went on to make 44 off 26 balls before Amit Mishra had him stumped off a wide leg-break.
Shaw starts with a bang but Chahar outsmarts him yet again
Prithvi Shaw was dismissed early in Delhi's first game at the Wankhede and appeared determined to put up a memorable performance on Tuesday. He began with a bang, slamming his Mumbai teammate, Shardul Thakur, for a hat-trick of boundaries in the second over. From thumping his short balls to different areas on the leg-side to deftly caressing the ball through the third man, Shaw appeared well on top early on.
However, before he could inflict further damage, Deepak Chahar deceived him with a slower short ball that Shaw looked to belt over mid-wicket. Watching the batsman charge him, Chahar shortened his length, slowed down his pace and left no room for Shaw. This is the second time Chahar has gotten the better of Shaw in IPL with the seamer dismissing Shaw last year in a very similar fashion at the very same ground.
Rishabh Pant's back-foot slaughter
Rishabh Pant, on the back of one of the best ever knocks in the IPL against Mumbai Indians on Sunday, seemed rather subdued on a sluggish wicket at the Kotla. He had still ambled along to 19 from 11 balls, milking the spinners and keeping his leg-side slogs at bay.
Harbhajan Singh was in the middle of a decent spell where he was finding turn and drift and it seemed like he was luring Pant into a big hit by slowing down his pace. Off the final ball of the over, the veteran off-spinner shortened his length and flighted the ball enough to flummox Pant.
But the in-form wicket-keeper batsman was up to the task. He rocked onto his back-foot and flat-batted Harbhajan over long-off for a maximum, least perturbed by the clever bait laid out for him. The ball came off the toe end of Pant's bat but cleared Shardul Thakur at long-off and the ropes quite comfortably.
Axar vs Dhoni - a sequel with a script different to the battle between the two in 2016
A dead rubber between Rising Pune Supergiant and Kings XI Punjab in 2016 garnered much attention when MS Dhoni showcased his finishing prowess yet another time by clubbing Axar Patel for 23 runs in the final over - including 12 from the last two balls - to secure an improbable win. The left-arm spinner was taken to the cleaners with the former Indian skipper bashing him mercilessly in a memorable final flourish.
Three years later for Delhi Capitals, Axar was tasked to bowl at Dhoni again in a run-chase with Chennai Super Kings needing 23 from 24 balls to win. This time, though, the script panned out differently. Axar bowled flat and quick into Dhoni's pads and denied him room to rotate the strike or go after him. He was clever with his length variations and despite Dhoni trying his best to get off strike, Axar bowled five dots on the trot at him before allowing a single off the final ball.
The decisive Dhoni blow
When Dhoni came out to bat, CSK needed 50 to win in 58 balls with seven wickets in hand. He and Jadhav appeared to be too casual in the run-chase and on a slow wicket brought the equation down to a point where Delhi could have edged ahead at the end. Though no wickets fell until the final over, Chennai needed 8 to win from 8 balls with Dhoni facing Amit Mishra, a veteran who knew the surface at Kotla inside out.
The leg-spinner had conceded just three runs in his four balls in the penultimate over but watched helplessly as Dhoni, helmet-less by now, got his leg out of the way to massacre him down the ground with a deadly blow for six. The equation came down to 2 in 7 balls and Chennai finished the formalities in the final over despite an early hiccup in the form of Jadhav's wicket.
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