Chennai Super Kings looks unstoppable in this edition of the Indian Premier League. The two-time champion banked on the brute power of West Indian batsman Dwayne Smith to extend its winning streak by snatching an eight-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Monday.
Smith (79) put up an extraordinary exhibition of power-hitting as he notched up his fourth half-century of IPL-7, and put CSK on the patch to achieve a target of 179.
The major highlight of the DD innings was the 71-run partnership between Dinesh Karthik (51) and Murali Vijay (35).
After a blitz from Quinton de Kock (24) was ended by a run out and Kevin Pietersen departed for a first-ball duck, the two Tamil Nadu players joined hands to rescue DD from a dismal 36 for two in the fifth over.
The two complemented each other well and relieved the pressure on the team. Vijay’s role was to hold one end up while Karthik’s was to keep the scoreboard moving.
The pint-sized wicketkeeper-batsman, who has not been able to make an impact with the bat in the last four matches, dazzled by mixing perfect cricketing shots with extraordinary improvisation.
Karthik brilliantly punched and flicked to score on both sides of the wicket off Ishwar Pandey, and accelerated further by pulling Ravindra Jadeja for a six and a four.
Rub of the green
Karthik did enjoy a slice of luck; when on 11, he launched Jadeja towards the mid-wicket boundary where Ben Hilfenhaus made a valiant effort to take a diving catch but the ball popped out of his hands to go over the ropes.
In the 13th over, Karthik shuffled across to scoop Hilfenhaus for a six, and struck a four on the offside four balls later. However, the Aussie soon had the consolation of grabbing his tormentor’s wicket, Mohit taking a sharp catch diving forward at square leg.
A late charge by the reliable middle order pair of J-P. Duminy (28 n.o.) and Kedar Jadhav (29 n.o.) boosted the host further and restored some pride for the side which was bundled out for 84 in its previous match against CSK.
Jadeja turned out to be the most economical bowler for the visiting team.
DD’s bowling lacked the discipline it needed to stop CSK batsmen. The touring team’s openers relished the opportunities that came their way.
Brendon McCullum (32) was in no mood to spare any loose delivery, and found the onside fence regularly.
Smith was in his usual self, ruthlessly clubbing Jaydev Unadkat for three consecutive sixes — two over square leg and one to the sightscreen.
With the situation getting out of hand, Pietersen even gave his boys a pep-talk in the first available break.
However, the McCullum-Smith combine continued to flourish, with the West Indian effortlessly hammering Shahbaz Nadeem for two more sixes.
They had forged 82 runs before Laxmi Ratan Shukla got rid of McCullum. The Kiwi, when on 23, had been let off by Kedar Jadhav off Shukla.
When Smith left, CSK needed 11 off eight deliveries. Suresh Raina (47 n.o.) and M.S. Dhoni (12 n.o) ensured that their team reached the target without too much trouble.
Delhi Daredevils: Q. de Kock run out 24 (16b, 3x4, 2x6), M. Vijay c du Plessis b Jadeja 35 (30b, 2x4, 1x6), K. Pietersen b Mohit 0 (1b), D. Karthik c Mohit b Hilfenhaus 51 (36b, 4x4, 3x6), L.R. Shukla c Pandey b Ashwin 0 (2b), J-P. Duminy (not out) 28 (17b, 5x4), K. Jadhav (not out) 29 (18b, 2x4, 2x6); Extras (lb-6, w-5): 11; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 178.
Fall of wickets: 1-36 (de Kock), 2-36 (Pietersen), 3-108 (Karthik), 4-119 (Shukla), 5-120 (Vijay).
Chennai Super Kings bowling: Ben Hilfenhaus 4-0-34-1, Ishwar Pandey 3-1-26-0, Mohit Sharma 4-0-51-1, Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-23-1, R. Ashwin 4-0-29-1, Dwayne Smith 1-0-9-0.
Chennai Super Kings: D. Smith c Vijay b Parnell 79 (51b, 4x4,8x6), B. McCullum c Vijay b Shukla 32 (35b, 5x4), S. Raina (not out) 47 (27b, 6x4, 1x6), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 12 (5b, 1x4, 1x6); Extras (b-4, lb-5, w-2): 11; Total (for two wkts. in 19.4 overs): 181.
Fall of wickets: 1-82 (McCullum), 2-168 (Smith).
Delhi Daredevils bowling: Mohammad Shami 4-0-42-0, Wayne Parnell 4-0-25-1, Jayadev Unadkat 3.4-0-47-0, Shahbaz Nadeem 4-0-27-0, L.R. Shukla 4-0-31-1.
Man-of-the-match: Dwayne Smith.
CSK won by eight wickets with two balls to spare