Delhi Capitals brush aside CSK with two masterful powerplays

With the help of half-centuries from David Warner and Rishabh Pant, as well as strong performances from Khaleel Ahmed and Mukesh Kumar, the Delhi Capitals won their first IPL 2024 match and gave the Chennai Super Kings their first defeat of the year with a 20-run victory in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

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Shaw-Warner upholds their stellar reputation

David Warner and Prithvi Shaw are considered to be one of the IPL’s most potent opening duos. Shaw was benched for the first two games of this season since they were unable to live up to their reputation from the previous one. But when he came back, the pair proved why they are so terrifying. They had a few rough overs before they settled into a groove and started attacking the CSK bowlers. In the sixth, Warner defeated Deepak Chahar by carting his low full toss and bouncer for boundaries and then choosing his slower delivery over the square fence. 

In the final over of the powerplay, Shaw also got things going by hitting three consecutive boundaries off Mustafizur Rahman, leading the team to 62 for no loss, their highest powerplay total of the year.

The pair persisted in their assault even after the field limitations were lifted, particularly against Ravindra Jadeja, who was hammered for 24 runs in his opening two overs. Warner even reached his 62nd IPL half-century in the ninth over with a flick to mid-wicket. DC had reached 91 for no loss before the end of the ninth over.

Pathirana to the rescue

Despite bowling a good first over despite the chaos around him, Matheesha Pathirana’s attempt to force Prithvi Shaw away from his arc resulted in a couple of wides. The innings-turning moment, though, came when he made an unbelievable, one-handed diving catch at short third to remove Warner, whose reverse scoop turned out to be ineffective. After being removed for a boundary in the fifteenth over, he dispatched Mitchell Marsh and Tristan Stubbs in the space of three balls using quick yorkers.

Shaw was dismissed for failing to cut Jadeja in the four overs that separated Pathirana’s two efforts. This meant that MS Dhoni became the first wicketkeeper to reach 300 catches in T20 cricket. Jadeja kept getting hit, but Tushar Deshpande and Chahar bowled a couple of tight overs. Pathirana’s second over ended with DC down to 134 for 4. Due to the Sri Lankan’s skill with the ball and in the field, CSK was able to regain momentum in the process, leaving them with a new batsman in addition to Rishabh Pant, who was also having trouble with timing.

Read more: Fastest Century of the IPL 

Pant retaliations

Pant was barely able to get a clear connection on the ball until the end of the 17th over. Despite a few boundaries, he continued to score runs at a rate of 23 runs per ball. And all of a sudden, he regained his former magic. After first ripping Mustafizur’s short delivery for a boundary, he used the one-handed flick to strike a full delivery for a six a few balls later. In the next over, he carried on his attack against Pathirana, hitting the bowler for two boundaries and six off consecutive deliveries before toe-ending a yorker to allow the long-off fielder to make a good catch. 

CSK reversed course early

In favorable circumstances, Khaleel Ahmed’s excellent swing bowling helped the Delhi Capitals take two early wickets. Additionally, there was some spongy bounce and seam movement, which benefited DC’s new ball pair. In the opening over, Ruturaj Gaikwad had a thin edge to the ‘keeper, and in the third over, Rachin Ravindra, who had a difficult time during his 12-ball stay, was caught top-edging a swipe to mid-off. In his three overs during the powerplay, the left-arm pacer let up just nine runs, limiting CSK to 32 for 2.

CSK responds, but DC maintains control

With a partnership of 68 runs in 45 balls, Daryl Mitchell and Ajinkya Rahane assisted CSK in pulling themselves out of a difficult situation. Despite the increasing necessary pace, they both took a while to get going. However, in the tenth over, they each hit a six off Rasikh Salam, raising expectations of gaining momentum. But Mitchell’s stay was cut short in the following over by an ill-advised loft off Axar Patel. Rahane tried to help CSK rebound with Shivam Dube, but DC held the upper hand because the latter was unable to center his powerful shots. Mukesh Kumar further hurt CSK in the 14th over when he quickly removed Sameer Rizvi and Rahane from the game. 

Jadeja and Dhoni try a late battle, but it is unsuccessful

In his second over, Mukesh came back to bowl and got Dube to flat bat a slower ball straight to the long off fielder. When Dhoni came out to bat, CSK had an impossible task ahead of them with 72 needed off 23 balls. However, Dhoni, who was making his batting comeback after almost a year, and Jadeja struck a flurry of boundaries to cut the deficit to 46 off the final two overs.

At that point, Mukesh bowled the game-winning over that decided the outcome. DC bowlers had been keeping the wide line outside the off-stump, heading towards the lengthier part of the boundary, for a considerable amount of time. CSK’s hopes were dashed when Mukesh kept it full and wide and gave up just five runs in the penultimate over. Anrich Nortje let up two sixes and two boundaries in his last over for the second game in a straight, but even with Dhoni’s late heroics (16-ball 37*), CSK was still 20 runs short of DC’s total.

Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 171/6 in 20 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 45, MS Dhoni 37*; Mukesh Kumar 3-21, Khaleel Ahmed 2-21) were defeated by Delhi Capitals 191/5 in 20 overs (David Warner 52, Rishabh Pant 51; Matheesha Pathirana 3-31) by 20 runs.

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