A disciplined bowling effort, led by spinners Axar Patel (2/18) and R. Ashwin (1/20), followed by vital knocks from Shikhar Dhawan (39) and Shimron Hetmeyer (28 n.o.), helped Delhi Capitals beat Chennai Super Kings by three wickets in an Indian Premier League match in Dubai on Monday.
Electing to field, the Capitals’ spinners and Kagiso Rabada restricted CSK to 136/5. For CSK, Ambati Rayudu waged a lone battle, his unbeaten 55 (43b, 5×4, 2×6) taking the side to a fighting total.
Delhi started strongly with 48 runs in the first five overs but made heavy weather of a modest chase after its batters kept throwing their wickets away, keeping CSK in the hunt till the end.
Dhawan anchored the chase with a measured approach. He started explosively by hitting Deepak Chahar for 21 runs in one over before nudging it around as wickets kept falling at the other end.
Shardul Thakur was the star performer for the Chennai side with the ball (2/13) as the Capitals batters struggled to score off him.
With 29 needed off the last three overs, Hetmeyer hit two crucial boundaries off Dwayne Bravo in the 18th over. He was lucky with the second one as substitute fielder K. Gowtham dropped a simple catch at long-on when he was on 12. In the end, the Hetmyer’s unbeaten 28 helped the Capitals seal a place in the top two.
Earlier, CSK made a promising start as Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis struck a series of boundaries.
However, the South African perished when he hit an arm-ball from Axar straight to mid-wicket. The in-form Ruturaj soon followed, mistiming a pull off Anrich Nortje.
Axar and Ashwin bowled tight lines, reaping the benefits whenever the batters decided to take them on.
From 62 for four in the ninth over, M.S. Dhoni and Rayudu forged a 70-run partnership for the fifth wicket but struggled to score boundaries with the skipper not finding the fence even once in his knock of 18 (27).
Rayudu began slowly but found a higher gear towards the end of the innings, hitting two sixes off Nortje and Avesh Khan to give the innings some momentum but, it was not enough.