It wouldn’t be a wrong to say no one player wields as much an influence on a team’s fortunes as Mahendra Singh Dhoni does on Chennai Super Kings this year in the IPL and he showed on Wednesday why he is so vital to the team’s fortunes.
After missing the last game against Mumbai Indians due to fever, the Super Kings skipper admitted he was far from 100 % fit to take the field at the toss but showed no signs of illness hampering his brilliant form with the bat as he yet again played a key role in helping his side post a thumping 80-run win over Delhi Capitals on Wednesday.
The skipper first starred with an unbeaten 44 off just 22 balls to help Super Kings post a competitive score from a precarious situation and then effected two brilliant ‘blink-and-you-miss’ stumpings to dismiss Delhi’s two key batsmen.
The win moves Super Kings back to the top of the table and also gave them a much-needed boost to the net run rate which should help in a fight-to-finish to the top two.
Earlier, put into bat, Super Kings got off to a poor start with just three runs coming in the first three overs Watson back in the pavilion as well. Suresh Raina stepped up with a 37-ball 59 at a time when the innings looked rudderless. He looked good and started off with a couple of boundaries off Axar Patel in the fifth over. Raina then went after Suchith with two fours and a six bringing up his 50 in the process before holding out at backward point.
From 102 for three at 15 overs, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja (25, 10b), who got a promotion, ran amok. The skipper started with three boundaries, all helped through the leg side before a beamer from Morris sailed over the fine leg fence.
In the final over, Dhoni smashed Boult for 21 runs with two sixes, with 126 coming off the last 10 overs.
The final flourish took the team to a competitive 179 after just 53 came in the first 10 overs.
In reply, Delhi Capitals started off strongly with Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Shreyas Iyer scoring at 10 runs per over after losing Prithvi Shaw in the first over. Dhawan was then dismissed just before the end of the powerplay, bowled by Harbhajan as the visitors ended the powerplay on 59 for two.
Over the next six overs, spinners Imran Tahir (foru for 12) and Ravindra Jadeja (three for 9) sealed the match for Super Kings as Delhi slumped to 85 for eight.
While Tahir got three left-handers (Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel and Sherfane Rutherford) all caught driving wide half-volleys, Jadeja removed Chris Morris and Shreyas Iyer who played well for 44, stumped thanks to Dhoni’s brilliant glovework.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
Faf du Plessis c Dhawan b Axar 39 (41b, 2×4, 2×6), Shane Watson c Axar b Suchith 0 (9b), Suresh Raina c Dhawan b Suchith 59 (37b, 8×4, 1×6), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 44 (22b, 4×4, 3×6), Ravindra Jadeja c & b Morris 25 (10b, 2×4, 2×6), Ambati Rayudu (not out) 5 (2b, 1×4); Extras (lb-1, nb-1, w-5): 7; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 179.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-4 (Watson, 3.2 overs), 2-87 (du Plessis, 13.3), 3-102 (Raina, 14.5), 4-145 (Jadeja, 18.3).
DELHI CAPITALS BOWLING
Boult 4-0-37-0, Suchith 4-0-28-2, Morris 4-0-47-1, Axar 3-0-31-1, Mishra 3-0-16-1, Rutherford 2-0-19-0.
Prithvi Shaw c Raina b Chahar 4 (5b, 1×4), Shikhar Dhawan b Harbhajan 19 (13b, 1×4, 1×6), Shreyas Iyer st. Dhoni b Jadeja 44 (31b, 4×4, 1×6), Rishabh Pant c Bravo b Tahir 5 (3b, 1×4), Colin Ingram lbw b Jadeja 1 (5b), Axar Patel c Watson b Tahir 9 (9b, 1×4), Sherfane Rutherford c Chahar b Tahir 2 (4b), Chris Morris st. Dhoni b Jadeja 0 (1b), Jagadeesha Suchith run out 6 (15b), Amit Mishra c Dhoni b Tahir 8 (11b, 1×4), Trent Boult (not out) 1 (1b); Total (in 16.2 overs): 99.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-4 (Shaw, 0.5 overs), 2-52 (Dhawan, 5.3), 3-63 (Pant, 6.2), 4-66 (Ingram, 7.4), 5-81 (Axar, 10.2), 6-83 (Rutherford, 10.6), 7-84 (Morris, 11.4), 8-85 (Shreyas, 11.6), 9-92 (Suchith, 15.2).
SUPER KINGS BOWLING
Chahar 3-0-32-1, Harbhajan 4-0-28-1, Tahir 3.2-0-12-4, Jadeja 3-0-9-3, Bravo 3-0-18-0.
Super Kings won by 80 runs.