IPL, Previews and Summmaries

Scintillating Dhawan punishes sloppy CSK

The explosive pinch-hitter Sam Curran failed to trouble the scorers in today’s encounter against the Delhi Capitals courtesy a cool and composed piece of fielding by Nortje on the boundary edge.

In an attempt to steady the faltering ship, Watson and Du Plessis chewed up countless dot balls; Watson even committed the grave sin of playing out a maiden, something that is considered unacceptable in the fast paced world of T20.

I began to wonder whether CSK’s habit of consuming dot balls would prove to be fatal in the outcome of this match…

Despite the sluggish start, Watson and Du Plessis upped the run rate dramatically with an exotic buffet of delightfully sumptuous stroke play.

This resurrected CSK’s abysmal start into an imposing 85/1 of 11 overs and fans had good reason to hope that the CSK batsmen could capitalize on this solid start and convert it into a total that the bowlers can defend…

Watson was castled by the ludicrously fast Anrich Nortje who successfully adopted the simple strategy of “you miss, I hit” to great effect.

This led to the arrival of the Ambati Rayudu and it was evident that his game was in fine order when he swept R Ashwin’s carrom ball for a monstrous 6.

Unfortunately for the Super Kings, Du Plessis’s dynamic innings, that consisted of insanely daring scoops and brutal slams down the ground alike, came to an abrupt end. Iyer’s hopeful gamble of introducing Rabada into the attack had paid dividends.

Dhoni was dismissed cheaply but the ultra attacking Jadeja entered the crease to join Rayudu, who was currently playing a priceless gem of an innings.

Rayudu went onto to showcase a wonderful display of crunching shots as he finished on a vital 45 of 25 which further proved his class and prowess under pressure.

Jadeja also played a blinder of an innings as he scythed his way to a dashing 33 of 13 balls (253.84 strike rate!) which dragged the Super Kings to a very defendable 179. Now it was up to the bowlers…

Deepak Chahar and swing is a match made in heaven and when the 2 are united, very few teams can survive unscathed: Chahar utilised his mastery of swinging the white ball both ways by dismissing both Rahane and Shaw, the latter a very destructive player of all forms of bowling.

Despite this excellent start, Shikhar Dhawan uncharacteristically took the attack to the CSK bowlers while skipper Shreyas Iyer played the selfless role of 2nd fiddle with perfection.

Despite the presence of some excellent batsmanship, DC profited from a plethora of sloppy dropped catches that reprieved the in-form Shikhar Dhawan many a time. This is a facet of of their game that CSK have to improve with utmost urgency.

DC were at a threatening 88/2 of 11 overs, with Dhawan in the form of his life, until Iyer was dismissed to bring the cricketing equivalent of the Hulk, Marcus Stoinis, to the crease.

The CSK bowlers were beginning to feel the full impact of the dew factor as pacers and spinners alike were routinely strayed the ball into areas that deserved to be punished. Both Stoinis and Dhawan utilised this, to the Super King’s dismay, as they went on a ruthless rampage in pursuit of victory.

Again, Dhawan was dropped and CSK’s inexcusable ineptness in the field continued…

Stoinis fell for a more than handy cameo and it was upto Carey to maintain momentum in this chase.

Unfortunately for DC, Carey scored a laboured 4 of 7 which did far more harm than good. His skewed attempt at smacking a full toss over long on, which led to his inevitable dismissal, summarised his tortured stay at the wicket: a massively missed opportunity by a massively talented player.

Curran proceeded to bowl a simply outstanding 19th over that conceded a mere 4 runs. DC needed a monumental 17 runs of the final over to win the game. Surely not?

Due to the injured DJ Bravo, Dhoni was forced to choose between Karn Sharma and Jadeja to execute the final over, 2 bowlers that would turn the ball into the 2 left handers at the crease, a match up that would only lead to inevitable doom and gloom.

Dhoni handed the responsibility to the experienced Jadeja but it backfired completely: Axar Patel tonked 3 massive sixes which sealed the deal for DC as they continue to show promise to become a title winning side. CSK, however, look like a side who’s best days are well and truly behind them.

While I appreciate that Dhawan’s brilliant ton and Patel’s lusty blows were game changing, it was undisputedly CSK’s unacceptably low standard of fielding for a elite cricket team (Dhawan was dropped a ridiculous 4 times!) and general lack of fitness that lost us this game.

While old is gold, it is becoming increasingly obvious that this CSK team is past it’s expiry date.

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