Comeback man Pant, Warner lead DC to 20-run win over CSK; Dhoni special in vain

Delhi Capitals players celebrating a victory against CSK at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
Delhi Capitals players celebrating a victory against CSK at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.


Comeback man Rishabh Pant hit a much-awaited fifty after David Warner’s well-constructed 52 to set up Delhi Capitals’ convincing 20-run win over Chennai Super Kings for whom veteran MS Dhoni’s vintage knock was not enough to cross the line in their IPL match here on Sunday.
Faced with a tough 192-run target, the Super Kings tried to scale it down through Ajinkya Rahane (45), Dhoni (37 not out) and Daryl Mitchell (34) but the Capitals carried far too many guns for them on the night. CSK ended up at 171 for six.
In the first session, Warner and Prithvi Shaw (43) overcame a slow start to share a 93-run opening stand before Pant’s 32-ball 51 powered DC to a competitive 191 for 5.
Pant, who came into the tournament after recovering from a life-threatening road mishap in December 2022, belted four boundaries and three maximums for his first fifty in 15 months.
Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed (2/21) set the tone for DC’s defence with his twin strikes in the Power Play which led to its fruition by pacer Mukesh Kumar (3/21).
While Ruturaj Gaikwad’s (1) trouble against left-arm seamers continued as he was done in by a superb inswinger, a frustrated Rachin Ravindra (2) holed out to Tristan Stubbs after a 12-ball stay as CSK slumped to 32 for 2 in six overs.
Rahane and Mitchell provided some stability with a 68-run stand, which included a 17-run over off DC’s impact sub Rasikh Salam’s second over but left-arm spinner Axar Patel ousted the New Zealander to break the alliance.
It was a Mukesh show thereafter as coming on to bowl after the 13th over, he struck twice in two balls to remove Rahane and Sameer Rizvi (0), leaving CSK at 102 for 5 in the 14th over.
Shivam Dube (18) was next to go as Mukesh kept bowling wide outside off and varied the pace as the batter eventually sent one straight to long-off.
With CSK needing 58 off 18 balls, Dhoni walked out to bat for the first time this season amid chants of “Dhoni Dhoni” and treated his fans to some delightful shots.
The former CSK skipper blasted two fours in the first three balls with Ahmed dropping a sitter in the second ball.
Dhoni then clobbered a six over extra cover off Ahmed, who ended up with three wides to concede 12 runs. But Mukesh conceded just 5 runs in the 19th over to crush CSK’s dream, leaving them to make an impossible 41 off the last over.
Dhoni, who turned the clock back, however, gave his fans enough to cheer with a four and a one-handed six off the first two balls before producing another four and a last-ball six as CSK racked up 20 runs.
But the Dhoni hurricane came a trifle late.
Brief scores:
Delhi Capitals: 191 for 5 in 20 overs (David Warner 52, Rishabh Pant 52, Prithvi Shaw 43; Matheesha Pathirana 3/31)
Chennai Super Kings: 171/6 in 20 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 45, Daryl Mitchell 34, MS Dhoni 37 not out; Khaleel Ahmed 2/21, Mukesh Kumar 3/21) by 20 runs. (PTI)