Chennai Super Kings kept their playoff hopes alive with a ruthless performance that cut the table-leaders Delhi Daredevils to size. Super Kings shook Daredevils out of their comfort zone by letting them set a target, and they came a cropper on a lively pitch, plodding to 114. Virender Sehwag failed for the second time, and the absence of a strong top-order base exposed a weakness in the same line-up that carried them to the top of the table. Super Kings coasted home courtesy an opening stand of 75, which helped them power back to No. 4.
Daredevils never recovered when Ben Hilfenhaus sent Sehwag’s off stump for a tumble in the opening over. Sehwag was lost at sea with one that straightened and the rest of the top order were undone by arrogance. David Warner, who gave the Indian bowlers in Deccan Chargers a hiding in Hyderabad, was now confronted with the quality of Hilfenhaus, who had him swatting tamely to mid-off.
Naman Ojha, who partnered Warner in an explosive stand in Hyderabad, failed to match those heroics, gloving Hilfenhaus down the leg side. Daredevils were crawling at 27 for 4 after the Powerplay and the middle order was pushed into the deep end. Boundaries were like a mirage in the desert – the drought lasted 32 deliveries before Venugopal Rao charged Ravindra Jadeja and lofted him over wide long-on.
Jadeja was taken off after one over, in which he conceded 11, the most expensive in the first ten overs. Rao and Yogesh Nagar were stifled by the other two spinners – R Ashwin and Shadab Jakati. The fielding was sharp enough to stop easy singles. Rao and Yogesh Nagar had added 48 at a run-a-ball before Albie Morkel pulled off a stunner at short cover to send back Rao. Daredevils added only 36 in their last five overs and ended up with a barely defendable score.
The Daredevils bowlers couldn’t extract the same kind of purchase and looked a deflated outfit, as if waiting to be struck down. The positivity shown by the Super Kings openers was reflected in the frequency of boundaries. Daredevils managed a total of seven boundaries in their innings; Super Kings knocked off the same number before the sixth over. Pace may be Daredevils’ forte, but it counted for nothing today as they bowled the wrong lengths.
The batsman who had everything to gain was M Vijay. With underwhelming returns of 134 runs from nine games, the pressure was on him to reproduce his form from last season. Michael Hussey’s enterprising start took the weight off Vijay’s shoulders, as he played himself in initially, before opening up. He picked consecutive boundaries off Umesh Yadav, pulling and clipping past fine leg.
One of his trademark shots is the pull over midwicket and he managed that off Irfan Pathan, after having warmed up with four boundaries. A six over extra cover off Varun Aaron was his most elegant shot of the evening, merely using the pace of the ball. Wild slogs from Suresh Raina helped Super Kings knock off the runs with nearly five overs to spare.
Super Kings are known for their last-minute scrambles. With two wins on the trot, the momentum is with them again.
- Dwayne Smith stuns Chennai (himalini.com)