Set to chase 173, Chennai needed a final flourish to take it past the line and it arrived from its captain who finished the proceedings with a boundary and with two balls to spare. Dhoni struck three fours off Tom Curran in the final over to spread cheer among his team’s dug-out.
The other chief architects of Chennai’s chase were Ruturaj Gaikwad and Robin Uthappa who both slammed half-centuries to put their team in command. But once Uthappa got out for 63 (44b, 7x4, 2x6), Chennai lost a flurry of wickets to jeopardise its chase. Gaikwad once again batted with flair scoring 70 (50b, 5x4, 2x6). Earlier, Rishabh Pant showed no signs of his self-confessed nervousness as his unbeaten 51 off 35 balls propelled Delhi to a competitive score of 172 for 5 against Chennai.
Pant got an ideal support from Shimron Hetmyer (37 off 24 balls) as the duo added 83 runs for the fifth wicket. Pant hit three fours and two sixes as Delhi didn’t ultimately pay the price for playing a specialist batter short as it capitalised on a blazing start provided by opener Prithvi Shaw (60 off 34 balls), who took the opposition on with seven fours and three sixes.
Coming together at 80 for 4, Hetmyer and Pant initially just nudged around for a few singles and doubles before the flamboyant Caribbean pulled a short one from Moeen Ali for a six. He then bisected the off-side field off Dwayne Bravo for a boundary. Pant, who was being kept quiet by the spinners, finally showed some spark with his trademark one-handed six off Shardul Thakur.
If Hetmyer thumped Josh Hazlewood (4-0-29-2) over his head, Pant whipped him towards deep mid-wicket to bring up the 150 for the team.
He then hit Dwayne Bravo (1/31 in 3 overs) over his head for a second six. But a lot of credit should go to Shaw as he played his best knock of the tournament.
He started with a pulled four and a six off Hazlewood, funnily both mis-timed shots. The first flew over slips and the next one was top-edged behind wicketkeeper with enough wood on the leather to go the distance.
BRIEF SCORES: Delhi Capitals 172/5 in 20 overs (P Shaw 60, R Pant 51*) lost to Chennai Super Kings 173/6 in 19.4 overs (R Gaikwad 70, R Uthappa 63, T Curran 3/29)