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

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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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IPL 2019 LIVE: CSK battle Delhi Capitals for a spot in Qualifier 1

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CSK's Shane Watson. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

A guaranteed spot in Qualifier 1 of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) is on offer as Chennai Super Kings lock horns with Delhi Capitals at the Chepauk stadium.

Both teams are currently tied on 16 points each after 12 games and have already confirmed their spots in the play-offs.

The winner of the clash will be assured of a place in the first Qualifier slated to take place at the Chepauk stadium where CSK have lost just the one game so far this season.

Can defending champions CSK book a home clash in the play-offs or will Delhi become just the second away team to win at the Chepauk this season? Find out by following the ball-by-ball action from Chennai below.

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IPL 2019 playoffs scenario as five teams battle it out for two remaining spots

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SRH are one of the five teams in the fray. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

The race for the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) playoff spots remains as hot as ever with as many as five teams vying for two remaining berths.

With Royal Challengers Bangalore’s clash against Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday being washed out due to rain, the former have become the first team to officially be ruled out of the running for the play-offs.

So far, defending champions Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals are the two teams which have confirmed their qualification.

As the business end of IPL 2019 approaches, we look at how the five other teams are placed with regards to their playoff ambitions.

MUMBAI INDIANS (14 POINTS FROM 12 GAMES)

Remaining fixtures

Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad (Wednesday, May 1)

Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders (Sunday, May 5)

Of the five remaining teams, Mumbai are best-placed to advance to the playoffs with Rohit Sharma and his men requiring just one more victory in their remaining two league fixtures to finish in the top-four.

Both their games are at home and this should hold them in good stead. If Mumbai win both matches, they will likely finish in the top-two and qualify for Qualifier 1. Even if they lose both their matches, Mumbai can still advance to the play-offs but then it will come down to net run-rate.

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD (12 POINTS FROM 12 GAMES)

Remaining fixtures

Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad (Wednesday, May 1)

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Sunrisers Hyderabad (Saturday, May 4)

After Mumbai, it is Sunrisers Hyderabad who are in prime position to make the play-offs. With two games remaining, two victories will guarantee Sunrisers a place in the play-offs although both their clashes are away.

Even if they manage just the one win from two games, Hyderabad will qualify for the play-offs should KKR and KXIP fail to win each of their remaining clashes.

Such is their superior net run-rate (0.709) compared to the other seven teams in the competition that SRH might sneak into the top-four even if they lose both their remaining games. In that case, however, Rajasthan will need to lose their final fixture while KKR and KXIP will need to lose at least one game each from the remainder of their campaigns.

David Warner has played his final IPL 2019 innings.

David Warner has played his final IPL 2019 innings.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS (10 POINTS FROM 12 GAMES)

Remaining fixtures

Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders (Friday, May 3)

Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders (Sunday, May 5)

KKR and the KXIP are the two teams who have it all to do. With two games remaining for Kolkata, Dinesh Karthik and his men will need to win both and even then, qualification will not be assured.

Their saving grace is a positive net run-rate and should they find themselves tied on 14 points with another team, it could come in handy. What KKR want is for SRH and KXIP to lose both their remaining fixtures and for Rajasthan to suffer a defeat against Delhi. In that case, two wins for Kolkata will guarantee a top-four finish.

Should they win just the one match from their two away clashes, Kolkata can still hope to qualify should SRH, KXIP and Rajasthan fail to register any more wins in the competition. In that case too, they will be tied with SRH on points but their net run-rate (0.10) is inferior to the Hyderabad side.

The only way KKR can qualify without depending on the net run-rate is for Mumbai to defeat SRH and for KXIP to taste one defeat at least in their two remaining games. In that case, two victories will assure KKR of progression.

Russell (r) is in scorching form. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Russell (r) is in scorching form. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

KINGS XI PUNJAB (10 POINTS ROM 12 GAMES)

Remaining fixtures

Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders (Friday, May 3)

Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings (Sunday, May 5)

King XI are in the same boat as Kolkata but are further handicapped by a negative net run-rate (-0.296). They too, need to win both their remaining fixtures but that would be moot should SRH record at least one more victory.

In that case, SRH and KXIP will be tied on points but such is the difference in their respective net run-rates that the latter will still crash out.

Hence, what Ravi Ashwin and his men need is two victories in the upcoming matches while Hyderabad taste as many defeats. Should they win just one of their remaining two games, Punjab will require SRH and KKR to lose both their games along with Rajasthan going down to Delhi.

In that case too, KXIP will be fighting an uphill battle against SRH when it comes to net run-rate.

KXIP openers Gayle and Rahul. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

KXIP openers Gayle and Rahul. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

RAJASTHAN ROYALS (11 POINTS FROM 13 GAMES)

Remaining fixtures

Delhi Capitals v Rajasthan Royals (Saturday, May 4)

While the washed out clash against RCB might have ended all hopes for Virat Kohli and his men, it also took the winds out of the sails of Rajasthan’s campaign.

The Jaipur-based franchise desperately needed the win at Bangalore but the shared point has done little to help them in their play-off aspirations.

Should SRH beat Mumbai on Thursday, then Rajasthan are out of the running even before they have played their last match.

The equation for Rajasthan now is pretty simple. They need to win at any cost against Delhi and then hope that SRH lose both their encounters while KKR and KXIP taste one defeat each at least in their remaining fixtures.

In that case, the Royals will sneak into the play-offs with just 13 points.

Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

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