Chennai Super Kings needed to do well in all the three disciplines if they had to beat a strong Delhi Capitals side to retain a more-than-mathematical chance of making the playoffs in this year's IPL. Their batsmen gave them a realistic chance by setting a target of 180 for the Capitals to chase down. On a night when there was a dew on the ground in Sharjah, their bowlers needed all the support they could get from their fielders. However, Super Kings dropped an in-form Shikhar Dhawan at least three times. Four, if you consider the chance to Shane Watson a catchable one. Dhawan capitalised on those chances by hitting his first century in the IPL and steered his team to a win.
The first of the four drops happened as early as the seventh over when Dhawan was on 25 off 17 balls. According to ESPNcricinfo's Luck Index, that drop cost Super Kings 34 runs. That means, had Deepak Chahar caught caught Dhawan off Ravindra Jadeja, the Capitals would've got 34 fewer runs than what they eventually got, which considering that the match was alive even after the 19th over the chase, would've flipped the result in Super Kings' favour.
The value of a drop is estimated by allocating the balls faced by Dhawan after the drop to batsmen who didn't get to bat and to those who were unbeaten at the end of the innings. So in this case, the 40 balls faced by Dhawan after the drop would be distributed among Axar Patel and the other Capitals batsmen who were yet to bat. Considering the Capitals' had proper T20 batsmen only till No. 7 including an out-of-form Alex Carey, Luck Index reckoned that the Capitals batting order wouldn't have been able to cover for the 41-ball 76 that Dhawan made after the drop.
The second drop, by MS Dhoni, was estimated to cost Super Kings 8 runs, still enough to turn the result in favour of last year's runner-ups. But the third clear chance, by Ambati Rayudu in the 16th over, had no bearing on the result. Because according to Luck Index, by then Capitals had enough on the scoreboard for their remaining batsmen take their team to a win.
ESPNcricinfo stats team