Dwayne Smith scored a blistering 79 as a dominant Chennai Super Kings steamrolled Delhi Daredevils by eight wickets on Monday for their sixth straight victory in the Indian Premier League.
Chasing a competitive 179-run target, Chennai overhauled the target with two balls to spare.
The West Indies batsman led the chase, scoring his runs off 51 balls. The knock was embellished with eight sixes and four hits to the fence.
Such was Smith's domination that he plundered boundaries at will and spared no Delhi bowler.
He departed in the 19th over when Chennai needed 11 runs off eight balls.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni ensured there was no twist in the script by keeping his reputation as a fantastic finisher intact.
He hit Jaydev Unadkat for a six off the second ball and followed it up with a couple and a boundary through extra-cover to yet again score the winning runs for his side.
Brendon McCullum (32) and Suresh Raina (47 not out off 26) too contributed in Chennai's victory, supporting the rampaging West Indian well.
A light shower made it a pleasant evening for the fans, but gloomy for the Daredevils as it became difficult to grip the wet ball.
With this victory, Chennai strengthened their position at the top while Delhi are placed second last in the table with four points.
Despite losing charismatic skipper Kevin Pietersen for a golden duck, Daredevils put up a competitive 178 for five, thanks to a collective batting effort, led by Dinesh Karthik.
Karthik smashed his way to a 51-run knock and combined well with Murali Vijay (35) in a splendid 71-run partnership for the third wicket after a shaky start.
JP Duminy (28) and Kedar Jadhav (29) provided superb finishing touches as Delhi put up their best total of the season after being invited to bat.
Duminy blasted paceman Mohit Sharma for four boundaries in a row in the 18th over while Jadhav finished the innings with a flourish by hitting the same bowler for two sixes and a four in the final over.
The two batsmen raised an unbeaten 58-run stand.
However, the Delhi bowlers could not complement the good work done by their batsmen.
With inarguably the strongest opening pair at their disposal, Chennai made a stupendous start, rattling up an 82-run stand in 11.2 overs.
Smith, continuing with his rich form, blasted three sixes off Jaydev Unadkat, while McCullum too found the boundary although it was not his usual innings.
Of all the bowlers used by Pietersen, it was only Wayne Parnell and Laxmi Ratan Shukla who made an impact intially.
Shukla created the first chance, but Jadhav failed to hold on to a powerfully hit cut by McCullum.
However, Shukla succeeded in getting the Kiwi batsmen in his third over as McCullum could not clear the ropes at long-on.
Chennai's strategy was clear. They found at least one boundary in each over and rotated the strike comfortably, keeping the asking rate under check.
Smith raised the team's 100 with a flat six off Mohammed Shami in the 13th over and his own fifty with a four and a six off Shukla in the next.
Earlier, the Delhi openers took some time to settle down on a seaming wicket and after getting their eye in cut loose.
Young pacer Ishwar Pandey bowled a rare maiden over but was taken to task in his next by Quinton de Kock, who hit him for two sixes after Vijay struck a magnificent straight boundary.
The South African southpaw needlessly ran himself out while attempting a third run.
Skipper Pietersen failed to come out of his lean patch, scoring a golden duck. The English batsman failed to read the line of Mohit Sharma and in no time found his stumps shattered.
Despite losing two quick wickets, Delhi maintained a decent run rate. Dinesh Karthik creamed off a six and four off Ravindra Jadeja to take 13 runs from the ninth over and one of Murali's shots rocketed to the cover boundary as the hosts reached 75 for 2 at the half-way stage.
Karthik continued the same way against the pacemen as he hammered a full toss from Mohit Sharma to mid-wicket for a six after hitting a straight boundary off the same bowler.
He completed his fifty with a majestic cover drive. This was after he had lofted Australian paceman Ben Hilfenhaus with a well-calculated paddle for a six.
However, his brilliant innings was a cut short when Mohit Sharma pulled off a stunning low catch off the last ball of that over.
Vijay, at the other end, kept scoring at a brisk pace. His switch-hit off Ashwin was a treat. The hosts, though, lost him when he failed to connect off Jadeja while attempting a straight shot.
Image: Dwayne Smith