The host registers a comprehensive win and does a lap of honour in gratitude

Twenty-four hours ago, the smoky haze of surmise seemed to be the overbearing context enveloping the Chennai Super Kings (CSK)-Delhi Daredevils (DD) encounter.

With non-cricketing issues looming large, there was a possibility of CSK’s last home game in this IPL being a no-show. But, much to the rapturous delight of Chennai’s fans, the contest took place at the citadel that’s the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.

CSK gift-wrapped to its devoted supporters a comprehensive 33-run victory, and followed it up with a lap of honour in gratitude. Chennai had, earlier in the evening, confirmed its berth in the play-offs.

Unleashing the whistles

Electing to bat, the Super Kings stuttered and stormed their way to 168. Skipper M.S. Dhoni’s jet-propelled unbeaten half-century gave the rambunctious crowd more reasons to unleash the whistles.

Delhi’s pursuit was laden with the ingredients that contributed to its dismal run.

The scoring was fast-paced alright, but it lacked the calming rhythm required in run-chases. Despite Virender Sehwag’s departure in the first over, caught behind off Mohit Sharma, there weren’t many apparent perils.

Johan Botha, reprising the No. 3 role he played for Rajasthan Royals in 2011, averted stymieing of run-flow.

DD was two runs ahead of CSK’s 47at the Powerplay’s conclusion.

But his ouster in the seventh over heralded a curious disintegration: Kedar Jadhav and Ben Rohrer followed him to the dug-out soon after.

Captain David Warner and the feisty Roelof van der Merwe knitted a 39-run alliance. However, with their eviction, the brittle resistance evaporated.

Earlier, in the first half of the Powerplay overs, DD’s bowlers helped smooth the worry lines on their captain’s face.

Mindful of the stuffed off-side field, they earnestly tried to stop doling out freebies. But come the fourth over, the hard-earned ground was ceded.

Mike Hussey, the adroit ace that he is, hopped out of the crease and flayed Irfan Pathan over covers. He stepped out the next ball – again, not premeditating – to execute an immaculate strike over the non-striker’s head.

A vital piece of action occurred in the preceding over. Ashish Nehra’s away-swinger caressed M. Vijay’s bat-edge but ‘keeper Jadhav’s indifferent one-handed attempt reprieved the batter. On two then, Vijay went on to score 29 more runs.

As CSK began to adopt a menacing posture – it had scored 61 runs in seven overs – Rohrer effected a swoop-and-hurl direct-hit, catching Vijay short.

It turned out to be a joyous little phase for DD as Hussey and Suresh Raina fell before the 11th over was completed.

Vital partnership

Dhoni, with Ravindra Jadeja as his lieutenant ran hard and clubbed the ball harder: 59 runs were the consequence of a rather erratic last five overs. The duo added 57 in 38 balls.

The space between long-on and mid-wicket was mercilessly targeted by Dhoni; a six off Sidharth Kaul made its way to the roof.

Scoreboard:

Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey c Sehwag b Umesh 26 (26b, 3x4), M. Vijay (run out) 31 (23b, 3x4, 1x6), Suresh Raina c Warner b van der Merwe 7 (11b), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 58 (35b, 2x4, 4x6), Ravindra Jadeja b Umesh 24 (17b, 2x4), Dwayne Bravo (not out) 12 (8b, 1x4); Extras (lb-2, w-8): 10; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 168.

Fall of wickets: 1-61 (Vijay), 2-69 (Hussey), 3-74 (Raina), 4-131 (Jadeja).

Delhi Daredevils bowling: Irfan Pathan 3-0-24-0, Siddarth Kaul 4-0-37-0, Ashish Nehra 4-0-37-0, Umesh Yadav 4-0-26-2, Johan Botha 2-0-23-0, Roelof van der Merwe 3-0-19-1.

Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag c Dhoni b Mohit 0 (2b), Unmukt Chand c Holder b Mohit 16 (12b, 2x4, 1x6), Johan Botha c Holder b Ashwin 23 (20b, 3x4, 1x6), David Warner c Vijay b Morkel 44 (37b, 2x4, 1x6), Kedar Jadhav c Dhoni b Morkel 2 (4b), Ben Rohrer c Ashwin b Morkel 4 (5b), Roelof van der Merwe c Raina b Ashwin 14 (16b, 1x4), Irfan Pathan b Bravo 4 (5b), Umesh Yadav (not out) 12 (9b, 1x6), Ashish Nehra c Dhoni b Bravo 0 (1b), S. Kaul (not out) 7 (9b); Extras (lb-4, w-5): 9; Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 135.

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Sehwag), 2-34 (Unmukt), 3-49 (Botha), 4-56 (Jadhav), 5-63 (Rohrer), 6-102 (van der Merwe), 7-115 (Warner), 8-125 (Pathan), 9-125 (Nehra).

Chennai Super Kings bowling: Mohit Sharma 4-0-22-2, Jason Holder 4-0-39-0, R. Ashwin 4-0-19-2, Albie Morkel 4-0-32-3, Dwayne Bravo 4-0-19-2.

Man-of-the-match: M.S. Dhoni.

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