A half-century from Faf du Plessis was trumped by a brilliant century from Shikhar Dhawan, helping secure the Delhi Capitals a five-wicket victory over the Chennai Super Kings.
KL Rahul is the tournament’s most consistent batsman and rightly well ahead of the chasing pack in the run-scorer’s stakes. But there is a collection of men in the chasing pack playing some excellent cricket, and Du Plessis is one of them.
His innings this evening was more measured than what we’ve become used to, but he assessed the wicket well and anchored the innings as CSK set a formidable 181 to win.
Du Plessis’ runs came off 47 balls and featured six fours and two sixes, ably supported by Shane Watson (36) and Ambati Rayudu (45*). Ravindra Jadeja then smashed 33* off 13 deliveries late in the piece to take his side to a target they would have been pleased with.
Kagiso Rabada (4-33-1) and Anrich Nortje (4-44-2) did reasonably well for the Capitals.
But this was all about Dhawan, who came out of the gate hot, taking advantage of a relatively flat wicket and pummeling the CSK bowlers to all parts of the ground.
The Capitals lost two wickets quickly, but found a willing and able partner in Shreyas Iyer. The pair rebuilt the innings, but Shreyas (23) fell with the Capitals needing 86 to win off 51 deliveries, bringing Marcus Stoinis to the wicket.
The Australian signalled his intention from the outset, attacking Karn Sharma, while Dhawan, who’d been dropped thrice at that point, continued the assault when he faced the spinner.
With five overs to play, the Capitals needed 51 and were favourites to win. And when Dhawan was dropped for the fourth time, it seemed inevitable that they would.
Dhawan cashed in, keeping his side in the contest, but Alex Carey struggled to find his rhythm, heaping pressure on his partner.
With 21 needed off 12, Carey holed out to long on and the rest of Sam Curran’s over went for just four, leaving 17 to get from the final over.
MS Dhoni decided to go with Jadeja, a decision he will probably regret given the wicket’s tameness. Axar Patel made them pay, smashing three sixes and a double to end the contest.