West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer produced a match-winning cameo as the Delhi Capitals edged out the Chennai Super Kings by three wickets on Monday.
Chasing 137 for victory, Delhi depended on a brisk 39 by Shikhar Dhawan and Hetmyer’s 18-ball 28 to achieve their target with two balls to spare in Dubai.
“It’s very important for me to finish games,” said the left-handed Hetmyer. “I tell the guys that is what I am paid for and I try to finish as many games as possible.”
Spinner Axar Patel set up victory with impressive figures of 2-18 as Delhi kept down MS Dhoni’s Chennai to 136-5 despite an unbeaten 55 by Ambati Rayudu.
Delhi, who inched closer to a top-two finish in the league stage, made Chennai slip to second while Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore stay third. All three teams have made the playoffs.
Finishing in the top two gives the teams a second chance among the four teams to make the finals on 15 October.
“Not a bad birthday present, but in the end, we made it tough for us,” said Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant, who turned 24 on Monday. “Absolutely big win, and want to be absolutely sure we finish in the top two.”
Delhi were in trouble at 99-6 after pace bowler Shardul Thakur struck twice in an over to send Ravichandran Ashwin and Dhawan back to the dugout.
No 7 Hetmyer then stood firm and smashed fellow West Indian Dwayne Bravo for two boundaries in one over and hit a six off Josh Hazlewood in the next to ease the pressure.
Bravo got Patel out in the final over but new man Kagiso Rabada hit the winning runs to take Delhi to 20 points in 13 matches.
Earlier, Patel took two key wickets including Faf du Plessis for 10 and Moeen Ali for five to hurt Chennai’s batting, which was later boosted by a 70-run fifth-wicket stand between Rayudu and Dhoni.
© Agence France-Presse