New Delhi: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar brought their ‘A’ game to the fore as Chennai Super Kings cantered to a 77-run crushing victory over Delhi Capitals to seal an IPL play-off berth here on Saturday.
Playing a must-win game, Conway (87 off 52) and Gaikwad (79 off 50) smashed brilliant half-centuries to help Chennai Super Kings post a challenging 223/3 after captain MS Dhoni opted to bat.
Skipper David Warner, DC’s best batter this season, waged a lone battle, scoring 86 off 58 deliveries. But in the end the home team could manage only 146/9 in 20 overs after Chahar dealt a killer blow removing a couple of top-order batters within Powerplay overs.
It was another shameful performance from DC batters as save Warner, none of the others could cross individual score of 15. The profligate Indian core of likes of Prithvi Shaw, Yash Dhull, Lalit Patel and Aman Hakim Khan continued to embarrass and never looked like belonging to this level.
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Even the crowd was supporting the visitors as it continued to chant ‘Dhoni Dhoni’ through out the game and even cheered when Delhi lost wickets.
Chahar (3/22) was the standout bowler for the visitors while Maheesh Theekshana (2/23) picked up two wickets in the last over With the win, CSK moved up to 17 points and become the second team to move to the qualifiers. With a net run rate of 0.652 CSK are likely to finish in the top two as only Lucknow Super Giants, who play Kolkata Knight Riders later in the evening, can finish on 17 points and they have a NRR of 0.304.
Conway and Gaikwad came all guns blazing, hitting boundaries and sixes at will at the tacky Kotla pitch. The two put on 141 runs for the opening stand and smashed a total of 14 fours and 10 sixes.
Delhi’s 2023 IPL campaign ended how it began — with a defeat. Their match performance was representative of their dismal season — underwhelming bowling, losing wickets in clumps and an overseas batter doing the heavy lifting with the bat.
While Warner, an IPL stalwart notched his sixth fifty of the season, other DC batters cut a sorry figure. Shaw’s (5) nightmare of a season ended with another disappointing show. He was caught off the bowling of his Mumbai teammate Tushar Deshpande by a flying Ambati Rayudu, who timed his dive to perfection at mid off.
After being hit for a maximum and a four by Warner, Chahar came back with a bang. The pacer dealt twin blow, getting rid of big-hitters Phil Salt (3) and Rilee Rossouw (0) off successive deliveries.
Young Dhull (13) kept Warner company in the middle for a bit as the skipper hit the big shots but the partnerships didn’t last long.
The Australian southpaw attacked Ravindra Jadeja, hitting the spinner for two sixes and as many fours in two overs, which yielded 37 runs. But the skipper kept on losing partners at the other end which made it difficult to chase the 200 plus score.
Earlier, Conway and Gaikwad began the onslaught in the second over when CSK collected 13 runs off Lalit Yadav with Conway hitting a cracking six.
The Delhi bowlers were punished for straying from their lengths.
With field restrictions lifted, DC managed to dry out the boundaries before Gaikwad hit Axar Patel for back-to-back sixes over mid wicket and got to his third fifty of the season.
While Gaikwad assumed the role of the aggressor, Conway complemented his fellow opener well as he clipped, pulled and cut en-route his half-century. Gaikwad then targeted Kuldeep Yadav, hammering a hat-trick of sixes.
The opener first whipped one over long off and then sent the ball over wide long on. But all eyes were on Dhoni (5 not out ) who faced just four balls.
However, the CSK skipper was on strike for the last ball which had to be bowled a couple of times as Sakariya bowled a no ball and a wide.
CSK 223 for 3 in 20 overs (Devon Conway 87 off 51 balls, Ruturaj Gaikwad 79 off 50 balls, Khaleel Ahmed 1/45, Anrich Nortje 1/43).
DC 146 for 9 in 20 overs (David Warner 86 off 58 balls, Deepak Chahar 3/22). CSK won by 77 runs.