IPL 2019: Lightning quick MS Dhoni powers CSK to top v Delhi Capitals

Ajit Vijaykumar 22:10 01/05/2019
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MS Dhoni hits a quickfire 44 and affected two remarkable stumpings in Chennai. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

The battle between the top two teams in IPL 2019 turned out to be a one-aided affair that was once again decided by the slow pitch at Chepauk as Chennai Super Kings defeated Delhi Capitals by 80 runs on Wednesday.

The Super Kings, bolstered by the return of skipper MS Dhoni who was still showing signs of illness, posted an above par 179-4 which proved more than enough as Delhi could only muster 99, with spinners Imran Tahir (4-12) and Ravindra Jadeja (3-9) breaking the visitors’ Delhi’s back.

Skipper Dhoni smashed an unbeaten 44 off just 22 balls while Suresh Raina top scored with 59, which formed the bulk of CSK’s total. Delhi’s batting stood no chance against a rampant Chennai spin attack on a raging turner and they folded for 99 in 16.2 overs.

Chennai have now all but secured their spot in the Qualifier 1 after rising to the top of the table with their ninth win from 13 games.

No Rabada means runs

Dhoni (c) and Jadeja had a brilliant game. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Dhoni (c) and Jadeja had a brilliant game. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Delhi were missing the services of the best bowler of the tournament – pacer Kagiso Rabada out with a bad back. That meant Chennai top order could take their time and cash in later. Even when opener Shane Watson fell for a nine-ball duck to spinner Jagadeesha Suchith, Chennai’s seasoned campaigners Faf du Plessis (39) and Raina could afford to be play the waiting game and they took the score to 87 by the 14th over.

Raina hit two fours and a six off successive balls before falling to Suchith with five overs to go. It was time for Dhoni to flex his muscles.

The final seven balls of the innings saw vintage MSD as he first sent a beamer from Chris Morris for a six before laying into left-arm quick Trent Boult in the final over. A short arm jab down the ground for a four followed by successive hits over the midwicket fence saw Dhoni end with four fours and three sixes. Jadeja also chipped in with 22 off 10 balls.

Spin does Delhi in

The second innings was always going to be difficult with seasoned spinners Harbhajan Singh, Tahir and Jadeja taking turns to tie Delhi batsmen down.

From the moment Harbhajan bowled Shikhar Dhawan who attempted to slog sweep the spinner, it became clear the match was going to go just one way. Tahir and Jadeja ran through the middle order as not a single batsman from four down managed to reach double figures. Delhi were forced to resort to front foot defences with the ball spinning sharply away.

Two moments in the game underlined the class of Dhoni the keeper. Morris and captain Shreyas Iyer prodded at Jadeja and both saw Dhoni pull off lightning quick stumpings by the smallest of margins. It showed once again that 37, Dhoni is still by far the best gloveman in India.

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