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Chennai Super Kings 208 for 6 (Conway 87, Gaikwad 41, Dube 32, Nortje 3-42) beat Delhi Capitals 117 all out (Marsh 25, Moeen 3-13) by 91 runs
Devon Conway continued his purple patch with a third fifty-plus score, and Moeen Ali took three wickets in a miserly spell to help Chennai Super Kings complete a 91-run demolition job over Delhi Capitals. With Capitals trying to stay in contention of a top-four finish, RIshabh Pant's side conceded 208 runs in the first innings, after which they lost their last eight wickets for only 45 runs in the chase.
For Capitals, it was the seven single-digit scores that hurt their chase. A target of 209 was always going to be steep, but it proved even more difficult in the absence of Prithvi Shaw and a premature end to David Warner's innings. Every Super Kings bowler enjoyed success on the night, with two-fors for uncapped seamers Mukesh Choudhary, Simarjeet Singh and allrounder Dwayne Bravo, and a 1 for 29 for mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana.
Super Kings' win took them out of the bottom two for the first time in over a month, and keeps them alive for playoff contention, even though their road to the final-four remains dependent on a huge slice of luck. Capitals are now in danger of slipping from fifth to seventh over the next few days with Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad both on 10 points after 11 games.
The Capitals chase offered promise early on, despite the dismissal of KS Bharat - playing instead of Shaw as opener - as he fell to the slip cordon trying to pull Simarjeet. Warner was then out lbw to Theekshana even though he was convinced he got some bat en route to the pad, but then Mitchell Marsh and Pant looked to rebuild. Between the two, the seven fours and the lone six kept Capitals in contention of the net run-rate as they moved into the seventies by the eight over.
But then came the fall. Moeen tempted Marsh to slog to a wide-ish ball, only to get caught on 25. The offspinner then returned next over to pick off Pant with a chopped-on bowled dismissal and soon picked up Ripal Patel. A recovery from 81 for 5 was still possible, but a double-wicket over from the other end in the next over made the result a formality. Choudhary picked off Axar Patel and Rovman Powell in the space of five balls in the 11th over, and at 85 for 7, the target for Capitals was to finish respectably, helped in part by Shardul Thakur's 24. However, all they could reach was 117 before Bravo picked up wickets nine and ten off back-to-back deliveries in the 18th over.
Moeen's day out
After the game, Moeen said that his primary job as offspinner is to spin the ball, and on Sunday's used wicket, he found that. It helped Moeen that he picked up Marsh's wicket three balls into his spell, and used that momentum to remain on top of the batters. Moeen enjoyed a bit of luck with Pant's dismissal onto his stumps, but earned Ripal's wicket by ensuring he did not go full after being hit for a six. Instead, his flatter, length ball left the batter trying for a big leg-side swipe even though the ball was not in his arc.
Moeen also enjoyed the advantage of the pressure being applied by the bowler from the other end, as his third over came following the two Choudhary wickets. That allowed him to eke out five dots against Kuldeep Yadav - who was still trying to find his feet in the crease - and finished his spell of 3 for 13 with 16 dot balls.
Conway shines (again)
The left-hander from New Zealand is scoring fifties for fun now, his hat-trick of fifties corresponding to big Super Kings totals, too. Quite early on, Conway made it clear in fellow opener Ruturaj Gaikwad's company that he preferred spin inside the powerplay, and when it was offered to the batters by Pant, Gaikwad rotated the strike often enough to let Conway face the slow bowlers.
That proved to be brutal as Axar was welcomed inside the powerplay with two sixes over his head by the charging Conway, and when Kuldeep came on for the first time in the eighth over, the batter lofted him for six, swept him for another six and drove him for four. The two big overs helped Conway race away to a 28-ball fifty, following up from scores of 56 and 85 not out in his last two outings.
Pant continued to trust Kuldeep after an 18-run opening over, and when Conway faced him again, the batter hit him for a hat-trick of fours through the covers. By the time the partnership broke - with Gaikwad falling for 41 to an Anrich Nortje short ball - Super Kings were 110 for 1 after 11 overs.
Dube, returning to the side following Ravindra Jadeja's absence from the XI due to injury, entered at No. 3 and chose to be the one taking the risky batting options as Conway entered his 80s. And he did by hammering Shardul for 6, 6 and 4 in the space of four balls to end the 16th over.
But Conway's prolonged period at the non-striker's, starved of strike, did have some impact. When he got back on strike on 87 in the 17th over, he failed to get the desired connection off a ramp and fell 13 short of what could've been high first IPL century. Nonetheless, he finished on his highest tournament score.
At the point of his dismissal, Super Kings were going at over 10 runs per over, and the remaining batters ensured they didn't let the momentum die after the set batters' dismissal. MS Dhoni walked in and got off the mark with a six and four, Ambati Rayudu and Moeen swung the bat around for useful boundaries, and despite a tidy nine-run 20th over from Nortje that also included two wickets, Super Kings could not be stopped from posting their fourth 200-plus total.
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