Refreshed, with MS in office

After Raina-Dhoni rescue act, Tahir helps Chennai reclaim top spot with big victory against Delhi

Published: 02nd May 2019 11:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd May 2019 11:12 AM   |  A+A-

Chennai’s Imran Tahir was unplayable on Wednesday | D SAMPATHKUMAR

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Dissecting the poor show in the previous match against Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming had said that among other factors, his team was missing the intensity that MS Dhoni brings to the field.

He was of the opinion that the skipper has a calmness which helps the team perform as a unit. Other than that, the former New Zealand captain had lauded Dhoni’s reading of situations and his deft handling of bowlers.

All these and more were on display on Wednesday, as Dhoni first played a cameo of 44 not out to help the hosts post a challenging total and then marshalled his troop with customary aplomb to lead them to an 80-run victory. Suresh Raina played a vital knock too, which helped Chennai recover after a slow start, but without the flourish of Dhoni, they would not have got the kind of total they posted in the end.
Chasing 180 for a win, Delhi made a disastrous start, losing opener Prithvi Shaw in the first over bowled by Deepak Chahar. A lot depended on Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer. A day earlier, Dhawan had said that having played spin back at the Kotla, he was expecting no trouble against the spinners of Chennai.
He initially showed his intention by hitting Harbhajan Singh over the ropes, but the veteran spinner soon lured the opener into a shot across the line against an off-break, which shattered the stumps.

Delhi never recovered and eventually crashed to a massive defeat. Iyer (44) waged a lone battle as wickets tumbled at the other end. Harbhajan, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja bowled with a lot of control. Iyer was brilliantly stumped by Dhoni off Jadeja.

The crowd was waiting to see fireworks from Rishabh Pant, but the wicketkeeper disappointed. He miscued a flighted delivery from Tahir straight into the hands of long-off. Tahir, who accounted for four wickets, was at his vintage best. Earlier, Raina and Faf du Plessis (39) with their 83-run stand for the second wicket put the hosts back on track after a poor start. The way openers Shane Watson and Du Plessis began, it looked as if Chennai would not even reach 150. They managed just seven runs in the first four overs.

But Raina’s 37th half-century and the late Dhoni blitz gave the hosts a good total to defend. Raina was positive from the start and did not take time to get into his groove. He played the spinners with soft hands and this helped his stroke play.

Du Plessis was content to lend support and waited for the right balls to attack. Raina was harsh on spinner Jagadeesha Suchith and struck him for two consecutive boundaries and a six. But in the same over, he was caught at backward point.
Dhoni and Jadeja added 43 runs in 22 balls for the fourth wicket. Dhoni’s sixes off the last two balls off the final over from Trent Boult will be remembered for a long time.


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