Chennai Super Kings 223 for 3 (Conway 87, Gaikwad 79) beat Delhi Capitals 146 for 9 (Warner 86, Chahar 3-22, Pathirana 2-22, Theekshana 2-23) by 77 runs
Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad made merry in Delhi, enjoying the kind of batting conditions David Warner had hoped to maximise for home advantage. It allowed Chennai Super Kings to dominate from start to finish in a 77-run win and assure themselves of a playoff berth, and a No. 2 spot.*
Up next for them are Gujarat Titans, the defending champions, on their home turf at Chepauk in Qualifier 1.
For Capitals, the end was as tame as the start of the season. Warner was the only top-order batter to show any semblance of form and consistency throughout. His 86 off 58 had its thrilling moments, particularly against Ravindra Jadeja, but the collapse around him meant everything he did was merely limiting damage.
Conway's powerplay surge
MS Dhoni felt it was a dry surface. Warner agreed. So it was no surprise to see spin early in the powerplay. But CSK's approach two overs in told you the surface seemed better than anticipated.
Conway stepped out to launch Lalit Yadav's offbreak for his first six, the season's 1000th, in the second over to begin the sixathon. It was no different even when there was pace on the ball. Khaleel Ahmed was flicked disdainfully and when Anrich Nortje went short into the body, Conway cleverly got inside the line to ramp for four.
CSK's fifty was up in just the fifth over, with Gaikwad and Conway going almost neck and neck.
Gaikwad overcomes slight blip
Overs six to nine produced just one boundary, but Gaikwad broke the shackles when he pulled Axar Patel's short balls for two consecutive sixes in the 10th over. Off the next delivery, he raised a 37-ball half-century.
Two overs later, Kuleep Yadav found himself under the pump. Enthused by Gaikwad getting a leading edge to a tossed-up googly that drifted away earlier in the innings, he generously tossed them up again, away from the hitting arc. This time, though, Gaikwad got to the pitch and went 6, 6, 6, by peppering different arcs in the 'V' down the ground to turn the innings into overdrive.
Soon, Gaikwad and Conway raised 1000 runs as an opening pair in just their 20th innings.
Gaikwad's fury ended when he was caught on the ropes trying to muscle a short ball out of the ground, but the two overs following his dismissal went for three fours and two sixes. Conway pressed the pedal after his 33-ball half-century, galloping towards a century as the death overs loomed.
The high-power finish
Dhoni promoted himself to No. 4 ahead of Jadeja, but when Shivam Dube fell with 12 balls left, it brought Jadeja out anyway. And he smashed three fours and a six off the seven balls he faced as CSK finished with 223 for 3. The last six overs went for 83 runs.
Chahar dents Capitals
Tushar Deshpande removed Prithvi Shaw early to an outstanding catch from Ambati Rayudu at mid-off. Deepak Chahar made further incisions in the powerplay when he removed Phil Salt and Rilee Rossouw to slow Capitals down. Salt found cover trying to force a length ball up and over the infield, while Rossouw chopped on.
Warner's lone battle
Warner found his hitting gear after a slow powerplay as he got stuck into Jadeja by muscling him down the ground. He brought up his fifty off just 32 balls and then upped the tempo even more in Jadeja's last over that went for 23 and made him finish with 4-0-50-1. Warner, who kept hitting him with the spin into the short leg-side boundary, outfoxed him with a switch hit for six as Jadeja tried to fire it away from his hitting arc. The hand-eye coordination, the wrist work, the execution were all top notch.
As wickets continued to fall, Warner kept counter-punching, but the bowling meltdown and their own top-order collapse in a slow start meant the asking rate had spiralled beyond reach very early. When Warner was out, dragging a cutter off Matheesha Pathirana down to long-on, it seemed as if there would be not much else left in the game.
But Maheesh Theekshana delivered a thrilling final over in which he picked up two wickets in two balls and was heartbreakingly denied a hat-trick in the wicket maiden. There were smiles all round as the review for the hat-trick wicket was turned down, but CSK were through with a big net run rate boost.
*1655GMT: The story was updated after CSK were assured of the second spot