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50th Match (N), Dubai (DSC), October 04, 2021, Indian Premier League
(19.4/20 ov, T:137) 139/7

Capitals won by 3 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)


Axar, Hetmyer key drivers in tight win for Delhi Capitals

Batting slowdown costs Chennai Super Kings, who've lost two in a row

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
Delhi Capitals 139 for 7 (Dhawan 39, Hetmyer 28*, Thakur 2-13) beat Chennai Super Kings 136 for 5 (Rayudu 55, Axar 2-18) by three wickets
After being ahead for most of the contest, the Delhi Capitals seemed to have lost their way in a chase of 137, but Shimron Hetmyer's unbeaten 28 helped them beat the Chennai Super Kings and inch one step closer to a top-two finish.
Shikhar Dhawan had anchored the chase for much of the innings, but when he fell for 39 in a double-wicket over from Shardul Thakur, the Capitals were 99 for 6 with two new batters in the middle.
Hetmyer then took charge as he struck Dwayne Bravo for two fours in his first over. He then smacked Josh Hazlewood for a crucial six, and finally watched from the non-striker's end as Kagiso Rabada flicked one fine for four to seal a three-wicket win in the final over.
Hetmyer also had a massive slice of luck when he was put down by substitute fielder K Gowtham at long-on with Capitals needing 22 off 16. It proved to be one of the key moments in the game. The result meant the Capitals had completed the double over the Super Kings for a second season running.
Despite losing just five wickets in their innings, the Super Kings struggled with the bat after the Capitals opted to field. The opening partnership of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis did not fire, Moeen Ali fell early, and MS Dhoni struggled to a 27-ball 18. If it wasn't for Ambati Rayudu's unbeaten 55, the Super Kings could have finished with a score much less than 136.
CSK's top order struggles
Anrich Nortje leaked 16 runs off his first over as he erred against Gaikwad. Faf du Plessis then thumped Avesh Khan for two fours in the second over, and another dangerous opening stand loomed. The quick start may have forced Rishabh Pant to bring spin on early, and it worked as Axar Patel struck off his fourth ball as du Plessis pulled one to a diving Shreyas Iyer at deep midwicket. Nortje then returned to bowl a rising, short delivery that had Gaikwad slicing a pull to midwicket. With both openers gone, it was a useful chance - with not a lot of pressure - for the Super Kings middle order to get some batting time before the playoffs.
Robin Uthappa came in at No. 3 on his Super Kings debut after replacing the injured Suresh Raina, but couldn't make much of a mark. After hitting one four early in his innings of 19, he succumbed to an R Ashwin carrom ball. Moeen Ali struggled against spin in the powerplay and was out early too when he flicked Rabada to deep midwicket. After nine overs, the Super Kings were 65 for 4.
Rayudu's rescue act
With a match-winning 32 and an unbeaten 17 in the UAE leg of the IPL so far, Rayudu's impact with the bat has been limited given how solid the Super Kings' top three have been. But this time, he had the opportunity to show he still has the skills and temperament to pull off a rescue act.
He struck Avesh for two fours in the 12th over, then hit a six and four off the same bowler in the 18th, but in between the boundaries were hard to come by. Axar and Ashwin bowled their eight overs for 38 runs, and Dhoni, batting at No. 6, ahead of the in-form Ravindra Jadeja, struggled with his timing. A big 19th over off Nortje allowed Rayudu to raise his half-century and lift the Super Kings to 136 on what Dhoni called a "two-paced surface" after the game.
Dhawan anchors...
After Prithvi Shaw was dismissed for the sixth time in the IPL by Deepak Chahar - among the more one-sided match-ups in IPL history - Dhawan chose to attack. The fifth over from Chahar had the umpires bringing out the sanitisers twice as Dhawan smacked big sixes either side of two fours. The 21 runs conceded that early in the chase left the Capitals needing to score at a rate of less than six for the rest of the chase.
However, Dhawan was forced to rein his shots in when Shreyas Iyer was dismissed by Josh Hazlewood and Rishabh Pant was picked off by Ravindra Jadeja as the Capitals stuttered to 75 for 3 after ten overs.
Soon after, the No. 5 Ripan Patel was out for an 18-ball 20, but not before he had hit Jadeja for two fours in one over. That brought some relief to the required rate, but when Thakur's double-wicket over got rid of Ashwin (bowled) and Dhawan (chipped to cover), the game looked to be getting out of the Capitals' grasp.
... and Hetmyer finishes
With Ashwin coming in early, the positive was that Hetmyer had been held back. Axar and Hetmyer knocked singles around early on to take the Capitals closer to their target. At that stage Dhoni could either go to Moeen for an over or Bravo, and he chose the latter for the 18th despite him not bowling all evening.
At the start of the over, the Capitals needed 28 off 18 balls, and Hetmyer clubbed his fellow West Indian for two fours in a 12-run over that included a dropped chance at long-on. That brought the equation down to 16 off 12, but the pressure would be released when Hetmyer thumped Hazlewood for a six in the 19th over.
Needing to defend six off the final over, Bravo started poorly by conceding four runs off one legal ball. Then came the dismissal of Axar. But Bravo then went full at Rabada's toes, and he flicked fine to end the game with two balls to spare.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

Win Probability
DC 100%
100%50%100%CSK InningsDC Innings

Over 20 • DC 139/7

Axar Patel c Ali b Bravo 5 (10b 0x4 0x6 28m) SR: 50
Capitals won by 3 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
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