By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
Left is right for Delhi Capitals as Shikhar Dhawan and Axar Patel heroics propelled them to a creditable five-wicket victory against Chennai Super Kings in the Dream11 Indian Premier League. In the 34th game of the thirteenth edition of IPL, DC logged their seventh win at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
With 14 points from nine matches, DC not only regained their top position in the points tally, but also more or less sealed their berth in the play-offs as they are enjoying a dream season. On the other hand, Chennai Super Kings continue to struggle. The last year’s runners-up and three-time champions will need a miraculous performance from now on to clinch a spot in the four-team play-offs.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side has just six points from nine outings. After their sixth defeat, the remaining five matches will be all must-win situations for them.
Chasing a strong target of 180, Shikhar Dhawan (101 not out) and Axar Patel (21 not out) took DC home with a ball to spare in an exciting contest. Scoring his maiden century in any Twenty20 game, Dhawan carried his bat through with a stupendous 101 not out. The experienced southpaw cracked 14 fours and a six during his 58-ball knock to bag man-of-the-match award.
Patel emerged as the real game changer. The bowling all-rounder finished the game in style with his five-ball 21 not out. He ended up with an awesome strike rate of 420. Needing 17 from last over, Ravindra Jadeja did not live up to his team’s expectations. Since Dwayne Bravo was injured, Dhoni had no choice but to use the services of Jadeja.
There was high drama and excitement in the last over. Jadeja started off with a wide. Dhawan then collects a single off the first delivery as he guides the ball towards the leg side. Axar Patel then swung into action and reminded the world about his sensational batting prowess. He pummelled Jadeja out of the park, collecting three sixes off the next four deliveries to finish the game by himself.
Earlier, Dhoni opted to bat first. CSK started off on a mixed note but some excellent striking in the middle and death overs saw them post 179. Jadeja’s unbeaten 33 off 13 balls ensured his team set a challenging total for the opposition. “It feels really special, it’s my first IPL ton. At first, I wasn’t converting those 30’s into 50’s. I just want to continue the same form and make the most of it. I look to keep my mindset positive and I play with courage. I’m not afraid to get out. Due to the coronavirus, we had many months, so I worked on myself both mentally and physically. I just make sure my fitness is up to the mark and I am an asset for my team,” said a jubilant Dhawan after the match.
There will be another double-header on Sunday. Kolkata Knight Riders will clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad at Abu Dhabi, while defending champions Mumbai Indians will face Kings XI Punjab at Dubai.
Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 179 for 4 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 58, Ambati Rayudu 45 not out, Shane Watson 36, Ravindra Jadeja 33 not out; Anrich Nortje 2-44, Kagiso Rabada 1-33, Tushar Deshpande 1-39) lost to Delhi Capitals 185 for 5 in 19.5 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 101 not out, Marcus Stoinis 24, Shreyas Iyer 23, Axar Patel 21 not out; Deepak Chahar 2-18, Dwayne Bravo 1-23, Sam Curran 1-35, Shardul Thakur 1-39) by 5 wickets. Man-of-the-match: Shikhar Dhawan (DC).