This is turning out to be an interesting season in the Indian Premier League -- other than the Gujarat Titans and the Chennai Super Kings, none of the other teams have been able to maintain consistency, resulting in a crowded mid-table battle.
CSK are now in the second spot with 15 points (7 wins, 4 losses and 1 no result) after a superb bowling show on a slow track at Chepauk in Chennai on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
Predictions of the wicket being a high-scoring one was struck down once Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, going on current form, was aggressive though his opening partner Devon Conway perished after his early luck ran out.
Ajinkya Rahane then came in and clobbered two fours in the over off Axar Patel, making his intent clear from the get-go.
The wicket started revealing its colours early on and even though CSK had good runs in the Powerplay (49 for 1), it definitely wasn't easy pickings.
Each time a pair looked to be set on building, DC would get a breakthrough. Gaikwad and Moeen Ali were dismissed within three overs and after Gaikwad got out, Rahane and Moeen were busy collecting runs through singles and twos.
Once Shivam Dube, who is enjoying some good form, took Axar for a maximum, a little after he came in to bat -- that six was the first boundary in 29 deliveries. Dube was content to score in ones and twos with Ambati Rayudu, who was playing his 200th IPL game -- before the former decided it was time to take on the DC bowling.
Dube ended the spell of four dry overs by hitting Lalit Yadav for two sixes before Rayudu struck a four and a six to take 23 off the 14th over.
Another quiet spell and two wickets later, CSK's veterans in Mahendra Singh Dhoni -- with knees not a hundred percent -- and Ravindra Jadeja then upped the ante.
Khaleel Ahmed, who till the 19th over was DC's best bowler, with figures of 1 for 11 off 3 overs, had his numbers spolit with one bad over that gave CSK the mental edge.
At the end of the 18th, CSK were 139 for 6, but a poor over propelled CSK -- Dhoni smashed Khaleel for 21 runs in the 19th over to spoil his figures and push CSK to beyond the 150-run mark, eventually finishing 165 for for 8.
DC's fate was sealed when they lost three quick wickets inside the Powerplay.
The wicket started to turn and do all sorts of things. Moeen, Jadeja and Maheesh Theekshana beat batters Riley Rossouw and Manish Pandey a few times, but the duo managed to march on. Their 59 run stand was the only shining light in an otherwise dull DC chase.
Once Matheesha Pathirana was brought in the attack he got the breakthrough, having Manish LBW with a stinging yorker.
Thereafter, there was no fightback from the DC players as there were no partnerships forged with wickets tumbling in heaps. DC finished at 140 for 8 with Pathirana playing his role of Impact Sub to perfection, finishing with three wickets.
The loss means bottom-placed DC could well be headed home and their inability to get off the blocks in those crucial Powerplay overs coupled with lack of partnerships proving to be their undoing in Chennai.