Shane Watson made a blistering 78 © AFP
Shane Watson made a blistering 78 © AFP

This is Match 30, which means we are halfway through in VIVO IPL 2018. Invited to bat first, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) posted a more-than-competitive 211 for 4 against Delhi Daredevils (DD). Shane Watson began the carnage with a 40-ball 78. Then Ambati Rayudu (41 in 24) and MS Dhoni (51* in 22) went bonkers at the end, helping CSK cross the 200-run mark. Whether DD maintain their batting prowess or head towards elimination with another defeat is something the next couple of hours will tell.

Watson and Faf du Plessis opened the innings on a pitch with a tinge of green. Trent Boult’s inswinger struck Watson’s pads and appeared to be hitting the stumps clearly. The decision, referred to upstairs, eventually went in the favour of Watson. It was a close call, but Watson survived, thanks to a faint thick edge. Then he cut loose, lofting the ball unhesitatingly. He spoiled Liam Plunkett’s figures and attacked Rahul Tewatia and Vijay Shankar as well. Faf, on the other hand, was off colour, but held his end to add a 100-run stand with Watto.

Note: Faf batted with an open-chested stance in the initial overs, presumably to negate new-ball movement and prevent edges.

Faf and Suresh Raina fell in quick succession. Watson, off strike for some time, had a lapse of concentration. Amit Mishra tossed one up, and Faf, almost cramped, never got the elevation to clear long-off.

Note: Watto’s innings had 74.36 per cent of runs in boundaries.

Dhoni and Rayudu got together at 130 for 3, and added 79 for the fourth wicket in 36 balls. Dhoni began the onslaught, against Mishra, and towed Boult, DD’s best bowler. He hit 5 sixes in all. Rayudu’s finest shot was a straight six off Plunkett. He is now a long way ahead in the Orange Cap list.

CSK piled up 62 runs in the last 4 overs. In process, Dhoni also became the highest run-scorer as captain in IPL history. He went past Gautam Gambhir (3,518).

Brief scores:

Chennai Super Kings 211 for 4 in 20 overs (Shane Watson 78, Faf du Plessis 33, Ambati Rayudu 41, MS Dhoni 51*; Amit Mishra 1 for 30) vs Delhi Daredevils