Man of the Match Awarded to Nehra
CSK, who have over the years established a reputation of being poor starters, opened their account in Pepsi IPL 2015 with a 1-run win over the Delhi Daredevils at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Put in to bat, MS Dhoni’s side could only muster a modest 150 for 7. But their bowlers bowled disciplined first spells to keep the pressure on the DD batsmen, strangled them and eventually restricted them to 149 for 9. The defeat was the Delhi Daredevils’ tenth in a row – dating back to 3 May 2014.
The experienced Ashish Nehra gave DD the early jitters when he picked up the wickets of CM Gautam, Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer in the first five overs. Reduced to 39 for 3, DD recovered through a 48-run partnership between Albie Morkel and Kedar Jadhav. Just when one felt the pendulum was tilting in favour of the visitors, Mohit Sharma struck for CSK, dismissing Jadhav, caught at point for 20.
Yuvraj Singh, who was welcomed with a huge cheer from those in the stands, didn’t last too long; he scored 9 from five deliveries before he miscued a pull which landed in the hands of Ishwar Pandey at midwicket. DD skipper JP Duminy perished in the following over when he inside-edged one onto his stumps.
Morkel – who walked out to bat at number three – held his own, but the South African just didn’t get enough support at the other end and couldn’t force the pace as much as he should have. Needing 19 off the final over, Morkel turned on the heat finding the fence off the first delivery and then deposited the fourth boundary over the fence, bringing the equation down to eight off the final two balls. He picked a brace off the penultimate delivery, and needed to deposit the ball over the fence off the final delivery. But he could pick up four runs – which meant DD fell two runs short. Morkel remained unbeaten on 73 off 55 balls and his innings was studded with eight boundaries and one six.
Nehra was the pick of the CSK bowlers, returning with figures of 3 for 25, while the rest of the bowling attack complimented him well picking up a wicket each. The CSK fielders too backed their bowlers, taking all the catches that came their way. Faf du Plessis’ catch to dismiss Shreyas Iyer and Suresh Raina’s catch to dismiss Imran Tahir were two standout efforts.
Earlier in the evening, asked to bat first on what appeared to be a placid track, the Chennai Super Kings got off to a smashing start posting 16 runs on the board in the very first over – courtesy three boundaries from the blade of Dwayne Smith and four leg byes. But Nathan Coulter-Nile struck first blood for the Delhi Daredevils in the second over dismissing the dangerous Brendon McCullum with a fast-paced short-pitched delivery. He followed it up with another strike in his second over when he had Suresh Raina’s leg stump pegged back.
The innings was resurrected through a 33-run partnership between Smith and Faf du Plessis, before the former was dismissed by Imran Tahir caught at deep midwicket. Smith, who hit six boundaries, made 34 from 31 balls. du Plessis perished at the start of the 13th over just after the team had posted 100 on the board; he made 32 from 24 balls.
That was the moment when DD put the skids on the CSK innings. Over the next 34 deliveries, not only did DD see the back of Ravindra Jadeja (who was promoted to bat at number five) and the dangerous Dwayne Bravo, but they also conceded only 25 runs. MS Dhoni too found it difficult to find the boundaries until the last over of the innings when he punished Coulter-Nile for consecutive sixes, before his attempt for a third big hit landed in the hands of Mayank Agarwal at mid off. The CSK skipper made 30 from 27 balls.
CSK finished their allotted 20 overs at 150 for 7. The hosts scored 36 runs off their first three overs and added 25 runs in the final two. In the 15 over period in between, they 89 runs at and lost 5 wickets.
Coulter-Nile, who clocked a top speed of 142.9 kph, was the most successful DD bowler with three scalps, while the spin trio of Imran Tahir, Amit Mishra and JP Duminy returned with a wicket each, conceding only 63 runs in the ten overs they bowled in totality.