Chennai: Delhi Daredevils' all-rounder Albie Morkel (55-ball 73) took his team to the brink of victory against Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday night only to fall one short of the hosts’ total of 150-7.
Needing 19 off the last over, Morkel slammed 4, 1, 6, 2 to bring down the equation to six runs required off the last ball. Morkel slapped another length delivery from Dwayne Bravo to the long-off fence but the ball bounced just inside the rope for a boundary. Earlier, Delhi Daredevils’ big-hitters Yuvraj Singh (9) and skipper JP Duminy (5) failed to deliver the goods leaving Morkel to do the bulk of the scoring.
Delhi Daredevils' Albie Morkel en route to his 73 not out against Chennai Super Kings at the MAC Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. Pic/PTI
Chasing CSK’s target of 151, Delhi never got the kind of start they would’ve desired as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Ashish Nehra sent back Delhi openers Mayank Agarwal (15) and CM Gautam (4) in his second over. He then dismissed Mumbai’s promising youngster Shreyas Iyer (7) for whom Delhi shelled out R2.6 crore.
Hopes of Delhi’s revival now relied on Yuvraj, the IPL-8's costliest buy at R16 crore, and skipper JP Duminy. The duo too perished quickly. Yuvraj was late into his pull shot to give an easy catch to Ishwar Pandey at midwicket. Duminy was scalped by Pandey in the next over as Morkel waged a lone battle.
Earlier, two-time champions, Chennai Super Kings were caught in a spin web and could only manage a modest 150-7.
Put into bat, opener Dwayne Smith (34) and middle-order batsman Faf du Plessis (32) provided a good platform for Chennai but Delhi's spin trio of Amit Mishra (1/21), Imran Tahir (1/27) and J P Duminy (1/15) bowled beautifully to restrict Chennai to a modest score.
With wickets tumbling, Mahendra Singh Dhoni too found the going tough. In the end, the Chennai skipper blasted two sixes in the last over to take his team close to the 150-mark.
Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile was the highest wicket-taker for Delhi as he scalped three for 30 in his four overs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Earlier, Smith gave Chennai a flying start as he blasted three fours in the opening over to amass 16 runs.
His opening partner Brendon McCullum (4) too smashed a boundary in the first ball of the next over but Nathan came back strongly, dismissing the New Zealand captain in the next ball to strike an early blow.
Nathan struck again in his second over as he cleaned up Suresh Raina to reduce Chennai to 38 for two.
New man Faf du Plessis then joined Smith and blasted a couple of boundaries off Domnic Joseph and Albie Morkel. Delhi skipper Duminy introduced spinners Imran and Amit next and the plan worked as the South African gave a simple catch to Nathan at deep mid-wicket while looking for a boundary.
Next batsman Ravindra Jadeja didn't waste any time as he cracked a four and six within 10 balls of his stay, while du Plessis indulged in singles and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking with spinners bowling in tendum.
After 12 over, du Plessis hit Duminy for a four over extra cover but he was dismissed in the next ball when he tried to smash another ball for a boundary, only to be caught by Shreyas Iyer at the fence.
India skipper Dhoni then joined Jadeja but the latter could not stay longer as he was foxed by Mishra's googly which sent his stumps for a walk. Domnic Joseph then joined the party, getting rid of Dwayne Bravo with a delivery that trapped him in front of the wicket as Chennai slipped to 120 for six in 16.4 over.
Dhoni tried his hand and blasted two sixes in the last over before holing out to Mayank Agarwal as Chennai posted 150 in the end.
Chennai Super Kings: 150 for seven in 20 overs (Dwayne Smith (34), Faf du Plessis (32); Nathan Coulter-Nile 3/30)
Delhi Daredevils: 149 for 7 in 20 overs (Albie Morkel 73; Ashish Nehra 3/25).