Axar-Hetmyer lead Delhi to top of the points table, Dhoni's slow innings cost CSK
Delhi Capitals 139/7 (Dhawan 39, Hetmyer 28*, Thakur 2-13) beat Chennai Super Kings 136/5 (Rayudu 55, Axar 2-18) by three wickets
CSK made three changes
Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant won the toss and sent their opponents in to bat at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Chennai Super Kings made three changes in their eleven from the last match by excluding Sam Curran, KM Asif and Suresh Raina to get Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar and Robin Uthappa in the side.
CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said at the toss that their batting mainstay Raina has some back issues so he is excluded from the team to get some rest, while it will be the debut match for IPL veteran Robin Uthappa with CSK, who has scored over 4,000 runs in IPL.
As the pace arsenal of Delhi Capitals are known for fearsome bowling spells, fans were expecting gripping battles between Delhi’s intimidating pacers and the successful opening pair of Chennai - Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Delhi Pacers broke the wall of CSK openers in powerplay
The fastest pacer in IPL, Anrich Nortje, took the new ball for Delhi to bowl a riveting first over of the innings which cost 16 runs. On the second ball of the over, Ruturaj Gaikwad was given out by the umpire on an appeal for LBW, only to be overturned by the third umpire through Decision Review System (DRS).
In reply, Gaikwad hammered two boundaries to complete the first over of the innings. Also, Du Plessis struck two boundaries in the next over by Avesh Khan.
However, first bowling change by Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant succeeded instantly, as left-arm spinner Axar Patel bagged the wicket of Du Plessis, to break one of the most successful opening pairs in this season of IPL.
Du Plessis was trying to pull a slightly short ball, but miscued it and was caught by Shreyas Gopal at deep mid-wicket.
Ambati Rayudu rebuilds innings for CSK
Uthappa came to bat at one down, but Gaikwad returned to the pavilion while trying to attempt a pull shot to a high bouncer by Nortje, only to be caught by Ravichandran Ashwin at mid-wicket.
As England all-rounder Moeen Ali joined Uthappa in the middle, Delhi skipper Pant brought Ashwin to bowl alongside Axar Patel. Ali played a half-hearted flick in the air off Patel to deep mid-wicket and was pouched safely by Shreyas Iyer.
Wickets continued to tumble for Chennai as they soon found themselves to be struggling at 62/4 in 8.3 overs, till CSK skipper MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu put together a vital partnership in the middle overs. They added 70 runs for the fifth wicket.
Rayudu went berserk in the death overs, to add valuable runs to the team total. He also completed his fifty on the last ball of the 19th over, which was a 151.7 kph delivery bowled by Nortje.
On the other end, Dhoni didn’t look settled in the middle and got out while attacking Avesh Khan in the last over of the innings to end up at just 18 runs off 27 balls without a boundary. The collective failure of the batting line-up resulted in Chennai reaching only 136 runs in 20 overs for five wickets.
Early blows to Delhi top order
Delhi openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan started the chase of an ordinary target of 137 runs. Shaw pummelled three boundaries before getting caught by Du Plessis at mid-off on 18 while trying to punch the ball over extra cover off a delivery by Deepak Chahar.
The other Delhi opener, Dhawan, clobbered four consecutive boundaries, including two maximums to make 21 runs in the third over of Chahar. Early dismissals of Shreyas Iyer and skipper Pant left Delhi struggling at 71-3 in 8.5 overs but the target was still reachable with only 66 runs required off 69 deliveries.
Debutant Ripal Patel joined Dhawan in the middle but got out to Ravindra Jadeja on 18 off 20 balls. Both Dhawan and Ashwin lost their wickets in one over of Sharul Thakur, which made things worse for Delhi Capitals. Delhi were now 99/6 inm 15 overs and still 38 runs away from securing a win. The Yellow Army fans were smelling something special.
Hetmyer and Axar help Delhi close the game
Axar Patel and Shimron Hetmyer batted sensibly till the last over in which Delhi needed only 6 runs. However, the wicket of Patel in the last over could have turned the match but Kagiso Rabada held his nerves to smash a four to win the match for Delhi Capitals. Hetmyer played a vital knock of 28 off 18 balls which helped Delhi to win the match.
Delhi Capitals moved to pole position in Points Table
As both teams were tied at 18 points at the top of the points table in this season of IPL before the beginning of this match, this win helped Delhi reach the top position with 20 points, whereas if Chennai Super Kings win the next encounter against Punjab Kings, they will finish in top two due to better run-rate than Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in this season.
If Chennai lose their next match, they have to pray that RCB lose one of their next two games to finish in the top two.
The sixth-placed Rajasthan Royals (RR) will take on the seventh-ranked Mumbai Indians (MI) at Sharjah in the 51st game of the season on Tuesday. The game will commence at 19:30 hours IST.
Top Twitter Reactions as Delhi Capitals beat CSK
Delhi Capitals beat Chennai Super Kings by three wickets and move to the top of the points table with 20 points from 13 games. In a low scoring thriller, Axar Patel was adjudged as player of the match for his brilliant 2/18. MS Dhoni came ahead of the in-form Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo and could only add 18 runs from 27 balls this didn't go well with many cricket pundits. They expressed their reactions over twitter. Here are some of the best twitter reactions from DCvsCSK: