When MS Dhoni calls a game ‘perfect’, it goes a fair distance in signifying how comfortable it was for Chennai Super Kings who defeated Delhi Capitals by 91 runs in their Indian Premier League match in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.
Asked to bat first, CSK posted 208 for 6 with Devon Conway top-scoring with a 49-ball 87. He had provided a solid base with Ruturaj Gaikwad (41) as the openers continued their good run. The finishing touches came from Shivam Dube (32) and captain Dhoni himself.
For DC, Anrich Nortje was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/42 while Khaleel Ahmed took two wickets.
Delhi’s day, which began with reports of another Covid-19 case in the camp and news of Prithvi Shaw getting hospitalised due to fever, got only worse from there. The Capitals’ run-chase had its moments early on but collapsed spectacularly and were all out for 117 in 17.4 overs.
Mitchell Marsh top-scored with 25 off 20 balls. For CSK, Moeen Ali took three wickets, all of those coming in the space of couple of overs, while Mukesh Choudhary, Simarjeet Singh and Dwayne Bravo got two each.
“I think they outplayed us in all departments,” Pant said after the match. “The only thing we can look forward to is the next three matches, if we win them then we will qualify. There is a fair bit going on amongst us, especially Covid and we had a few stomach infections, but we are not making an excuse and we just want to keep improving.”
Dhoni was evidently pleased. “It would have been better if we would have had a win like this somewhere early. It was a perfect game. The batters did really well. Runs on the board really help, and it was important to restrict their big-hitters,” he said.
The former India captain did not want to get too bogged down in the impending scenarios.
“When two other teams are playing, you don’t want to be under pressure and thinking. You just have to think about what to do in the next game. If we make the playoffs, great but even if we don’t it’s not the end of the world,” he said.
The win saw CSK pip Kolkata Knight Riders on net run rate. DC were handed a big NRR dent with Pant now left hoping for three wins out of three matches.
Conway was declared player of the match.
CSK: (Devon Conway 87, Ruturaj Gaikwad 41, Shivam Dube 32, MS Dhoni 21 not out; Anrich Nortje 3/42, Khaleel Ahmed 2/28).
DC:: 117 all out in 17.4 overs (Mitchell Marsh 25; Moeen Ali 3/13).