Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

IPL 2019: Chennai Super Kings rely on teamwork to beat ­Delhi Capitals

Defending champions claim a six-wicket win thanks to a collective effort and a favourable toss

Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni hits a six on his way to an unbeaten 32 in the win over Delhi Capitals. AP Photo
Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni hits a six on his way to an unbeaten 32 in the win over Delhi Capitals. AP Photo

Chennai Super Kings once again proved they are the team to beat in the Indian Premier League when the defending champions outclassed ­Delhi Capitals by six wickets on Tuesday night.

And once again, they did it without the help of any one outstanding performer, relying rather on teamwork and some luck given that it was a good toss to lose for them.

After calling right at the toss, Delhi opted to bat first. They strung together promising partnerships for the first, ­second and third wickets only for Chennai to peg them back each time.

While Shikhar Dhawan scored a half-century, none of Prithvi Shaw (24), captain Shreyas Iyer (18) or wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant (25) kicked on ­after making cameos.

Seam-bowling all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was the pick of the visitors’ bowlers as he took 3-33.

In contrast, it was a rather quiet night for off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was unable to follow up on his own three-wicket heroics against Royal Challengers Bangalore last Saturday. He finished wicketless and went for 30 runs in his four overs – this despite the pitch offering some turn.

That Delhi could not score more than the 147-6 they eventually got is down as much to MS Dhoni’s shuffling of the bowling attack as it is to Bravo’s bowling. In response, Chennai lost Ambati Rayudu with just 21 on the board before a 52-run stand between Man of the Match Shane Watson (44) and Suresh Raina (30) steadied the ship. Foundation set, it was now up to Kedar Jadhav (27) and Dhoni (32 not out) to seal the deal.

Amit Mishra, one of the IPL’s most successful bowlers, took the wickets of Watson and Raina, but the leg-spinner proved expensive as he conceded 35 runs in his spell.

But Mishra was not the only bowler to struggle to control the ball thanks to dew. Fast bowlers Ishant Sharma and Kagiso Rabada also proved ­expensive.

Shreyas refused to blame his batsmen for not getting a ­bigger total, but conceded struggling to get going on a slow pitch.

“For the new batsman, the pitch was really tough,” he said. “I usually don’t have trouble starting against spinners but today it was turning and holding up. Our best batter Rishabh Pant also found it tough.

“The wicket was slow and that’s why I decided to bat first.”

While Dhoni, too, conceded feeling unsure about the conditions at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Watson called the pitch “a little better than Chennai”, referring to the opening match when Bangalore were shot out for just 70.

The all-rounder did not bowl in the match, which he said was due to a calf injury.

Chennai next host Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, while Delhi take on Kolkata Knight Riders a day earlier.

Updated: March 27, 2019 08:32 AM

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