Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The Chennai Super Kings recorded their sixth consecutive victory after West Indies opening batsman Dwayne Smith scored an outstanding half-century to lead them to a comfortable eight-wicket win over the Delhi Daredevils.
Smith was well supported by India batsman Suresh Raina, who smashed an unbeaten 47.
Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have been pleased with his decision to bowl first early on after Delhi opener Quinton de Kock was run out by Mohit Sharma for 24.
Delhi skipper Kevin Pietersen failed to trouble the scorers as he was clean bowled by Sharma for a golden duck.
Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik stabilised the innings with a 71-run partnership, during which Karthik brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Sharma at square leg off the bowling of Ben Hilfenhaus.
Karthik’s fantastic knock of 51 came off 36 balls and included four boundaries and three sixes.
Laxmi Shukla failed to have an impact as he was caught by Ishwar Pandey at long-off off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin for a duck.
Vijay ended up making 35 before he was caught by Faf du Plessis at long-off off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.
Just as Delhi looked to be in the midst of a collapse, Jean Paul (JP) Duminy and Kedar Jadhav put together an unbeaten 58-run partnership to help the Daredevils finish on 178/5 off their 20 overs.
Duminy scored 28 off 17 balls, which included five boundaries, while Jadhav remained undefeated on 29 off 18 deliveries, which included two boundaries and two sixes.
Hilfenhaus, Sharma, Jadeja and Ashwin all picked up one wicket apiece.
Chasing 179 to win, Chennai got off to a superb start as Smith and New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum accumulated an 82-run partnership before McCullum was caught by Vijay at long-on off the bowling of Shukla for 32.
Smith and Raina kept the runs flowing with an 86-run partnership, during which Smith registered his half-century, before he was caught by Vijay off the bowling of Wayne Parnell.
Smith’s brilliant knock of 79 came off 51 balls and included four boundaries and an incredible eight sixes.
Raina and Dhoni had no problems mopping up the remaining runs as Chennai got over the finish line with two balls to spare.
Raina finished on 47 off 27 balls, which included six boundaries and a six, while Dhoni was unbeaten on 12 off five deliveries, which included one boundary and a six.
Shukla and Parnell took one wicket each.
Pietersen was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “We thought we lost a bit of momentum. I thought some of our boys played some good cricket. Wayne Parnell was beautiful, the wicket was quite slow before the rain came and the rain sort of affected it but no excuses. CSK played really well. Nobody’s here to blame anyone, we probably have to win most of our games here and I still believe our team can make the playoffs.”
Dhoni was impressed with his team’s performance, and said: “We played good cricket but we gave away too many in the last two or three overs. The rain helped us, their bowlers found it tough. This was one of the best Delhi wickets I have seen. Shukla bowled well. Smith and McCullum were brilliant. Raina made sure he batted till the end. We need to improve our bowling. We need a couple of fast bowlers who can bowl well in the death.”
Smith was named Man of the Match, and said: “Meant to stay out there. It was a good track to me as well. Me and McCullum keep encouraging each other. It was a very good chase for us. It’s a great team.”