In the second ball of the fifth over during the Delhi Daredevils’ chase of 178, Manoj Tiwary, after facing just one delivery which beat him, charged out. Medium pacer Ishwar Pandey perhaps saw him coming down the track and pulled his length back a touch.
The ball made a loud hollow sound as it took the bottom of the bat and lobbed up in the air. Faf Du Plessis stationed at mid-off sprinted to his left while keenly tracking the flight of the ball. With an acrobatic leap, he pouched the catch. Delhi were 17 for 3 after 26 balls and the road ahead looked long.
Before Tiwary’s rush of blood, openers Mayank Agarwal and Murali Vijay too had perished off poor shots but the credit for the dismissals must go to the fielders – Suresh Raina on the first occasion at the point region and Du Plessis at mid-off again. Agarwal has struggled this season as an opener and he added to his woes while trying to execute and inside-out shot. The rest of the Delhi batsmen followed suit and failed to put up any real challenge. Delhi were bowled out for just 84 in 15.4 overs.
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Even though the Chennai Super Kings batters managed 177, it was the bowling unit that really swung things in their side’s favor. Ishwar Pandey, making his debut for the franchise, opened the bowling and was on the money right from the first ball.
With the ball swinging in the air and also at times cutting off the seam, Pandey was a handful. A back of length fourth-stump line allowed the ball to move, late at times, consistently troubling the batsmen.
Ben Hilfenhaus, in for the injured Dwayne Bravo, complemented the young Pandey from the other end. Mohit Sharma completed the pace trio. Sharma bowled three overs and gave away just 17 runs in addition to taking the wicket of Vijay. The spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, mopped up the tail to give their side a crushing victory.
Earlier, CSK won the toss and elected to bat. Delhi were unlucky with pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile limping off in second over after having pulled his hamstring.
Short on bowlers
However, Delhi seemed to have put the blow aside with Jaydev Unadkat dismissing Brendon McCullum in the fourth over. With a bowler short, Delhi’s skipper Dinesh Karthik had to turn to JP Duminy, who bowled four overs of his off- spin. Duminy did quite well, conceding only 26 off his four but the rest of the Delhi bowlers seemed to have let their side down.
Suresh Raina and Dwayne Smith stitched a 54-run partnership in six and half overs, shoring up things for their side. Raina was eventually dismissed for 56 – his 19th IPL fifty in 101 outings. Raina ensured that CSK were on their way to a fighting total. At the end, Du Plessis mentioned that his side’s aim was to reach 150. CSK managed 27 more and owed a large part of these runs to the profligacy of Mohammed Shami.
On a wicket where keeping the ball up to the batsmen was rewarding, the 24-year-old Shami inexplicably seemed to favor the short ball. The two overs that he bowled at the death were milked for 30 runs with Dhoni, Du Plessis and Mithun Manhas exacting a heavy toll. Sharing the death-overs duties was Unadkat, who looked as if he possessed no other variation than a slower one.
Though he finished with three wickets, his two overs leaked 28 runs. These 54 runs in the last four, powered CSK comfortably past the 150-run mark and with the ball swinging more under lights, handed the pace-heavy side a distinct advantage.