Out-of-the-world catching bolstered by some tight bowling saw Chennai Super Kings crush Delhi Daredevils in the most emphatic manner thus far in season VII of the Indian Premier League at the Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Monday night.
After setting up a target of 177, the Super Kings simply packed off the Delhi chase with more than four overs to spare.
Catching was at its prime when the Super Kings took the field. Man-of-the-match Suresh Raina set the tone, leaping to his left to latch on to a Mayank Agarwal drive to the covers. That acrobatic act paled before what followed.
Faf du Plessis ran backwards from mid-off, with the floodlights in his face all the way from all the four towers possibly. His focus on the ball never wavered, though, as he held on to the skier from an attempted straight drive from M. Vijay.
In an encore of sorts, he retraced his steps from mid-off and held on to the offering from Manoj Tiwary.
Delhi’s travails didn’t end there; its dependable scorer Jean-Paul Duminy was caught on the wrong foot and right in front by Dwayne Smith.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik getting foxed by R. Ashwin’s straight ’un signalled the beginning of the end for the Daredevils, who were never persistent in their pursuit.
With little resolve left, the rest of the batting folded up in quick time on a night that the Super Kings could do no wrong.
The Daredevils made no personnel changes from their previous outing, while the Super Kings went in for three. The shoulder injury-afflicted Dwayne Bravo made way for Ben Hilfenhaus, Mithun Minhas bolstered the batting at the expense of left-arm spinner Pawan Negi and Ishwar Pandey replaced Ashish Nehra.
After being asked to field, Delhi had enough reason to exult early, getting rid of Brendon McCullum when he edged Jaydev Unadkat to short third man.
Spin gambit works
Karthik’s ploy to ply spin from the start had kept the openers quiet for a while. Midway through the innings, the Super Kings were on 66 for one.
The run-rate perked up with a six from Suresh Raina but, maybe, at the cost of Dwayne Smith, castled by Shahbaz Nadeem’s wrong ’un.
Raina slammed a six and five boundaries in a 41-ball 56 but was stopped in his tracks at long on by former CSK mate Vijay off James Neesham.
M.S. Dhoni speeded things up, charting the shortest routes to and over the ropes, hoisting Unadkat over the long-on boundary and then swatting Md. Shami through square.
It was double delight for Unadkat, who in the space of three balls, removed Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja too.
But, a target of 177 was always going to be tough, given the Super Kings’ form in the field.
Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Smith b Nadeem 29 (28b, 3x4), Brendon McCullum c sub (Parnell) b Unadkat 9 (10b, 1x4), Suresh Raina c Vijay b Neesham 56 (41b, 5x4, 1x6), Faf du Plessis c Vijay b Shami 24 (17b, 1x4, 1x6), M.S. Dhoni c Agarwal b Unadkat 32 (15b, 2x4, 2x6), Ravindra Jadeja c Karthik b Unadkat 7 (3b, 1x6), Mithun Minhas (not out) 13 (5b, 2x4), R. Ashwin run out 1 (1b), Ben Hilfenhaus (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-3, w-3): 6; Total (for seven wickets, 20 overs): 177.
Fall of wickets: 1-23 (McCullum), 2-77 (Smith), 3-108 (Raina), 4-141 (du Plessis), 5-156 (Dhoni), 6-162 (Jadeja), 7-173 (Ashwin).
Delhi Daredevils bowling: J-P. Duminy 4-0-26-0, Mohd. Shami 4-0-45-1, Shahbaz Nadeem 3-0-29-1, Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-32-3, James Neesham 4-0-29-1, Murali Vijay 1-0-13-0.
Delhi Daredevils: Mayank Agarwal c Raina b Pandey 2 (7b), Murali Vijay c du Plessis b Mohit Sharma 11 (12b, 2x4), Dinesh Karthik b Ashwin 21 (22b, 2x4), Manoj Tiwary c du Plessis b Pandey 0 (2b), J-P. Duminy lbw b Smith 15 (14b), Ross Taylor c Dhoni b Hilfenhaus 6 (6b, 1x4), James Neesham c Raina b Jadeja 22 (15b, 2x4), Shahbaz Nadeem c Raina b Jadeja 3 (8b), Mohd. Shami c McCullum b Ashwin 1 (3b), Jaydev Unadkat (not out) 1 (5b), Nathan Coulter-Nile (did not bat, hurt); Extras (w-2): 2; Total (in 15.4 overs): 84.
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Agarwal), 2-15 (Vijay), 3-17 (Tiwary), 4-42 (Duminy), 5-50 (Taylor), 6-74 (Karthik), 7-80 (Neesham), 8-82 (Shami), 9-84 (Nadeem).
CSK bowling: Ishwar Pandey 4-0-23-2, Ben Hilfenhaus 2-0-9-1, Mohit Sharma 3-0-17-1, Dwayne Smith 2-0-14-1, Ravindra Jadeja 2.4-0-18-2, R. Ashwin 2-0-3-2.
CSK beat DD by 93 runs.