Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming pointed out that skipper MS Dhoni wasn’t the only batter who struggled against Delhi Capitals on Monday, in Dubai. Fleming added that the pitch was difficult for stroke play as batters from both teams struggled to score at the end of the innings.
Chennai Super Kings were put into bat after Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant won the toss and elected to field first. Chennai got off to a decent start as they scored 48 runs for the loss of two wickets having lost both the in-form openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis. Chennai’s batters struggled after the powerplay as they were unable to score against the spin-bowling duo of Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin. CSK lost the wickets of Moeen Ali and Robin Uthappa to Axar and Ashwin respectively inside nine overs. Ambati Rayadu and MS Dhoni steadied the ship with the partnership of 70 runs for the fifth wicket before Dhoni was caught behind by Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant off the bowling of Avesh Khan. Dhoni struggled to break free as he could score only 18 runs in 27 balls with no boundaries and a strike-rate of 66.66.
"Well, he [Dhoni] wasn't the only one who struggled. It was a difficult day for strokeplay. When 137  is almost enough, I think it was a tough wicket to score big on in terms of the big shots. So both teams struggled with that towards the end of the innings. Sometimes you set your sights too high, [want] too many, and probably we were only 10-15 runs short of having a match-winning score,” Fleming said.
"So, the difficulty at the moment is to assess what the conditions are in all three different grounds and, batting first, getting a score that is par or just above. It was no lack of intent, it was just we had to stabilise after a couple of mistakes and then we were reasonably well-placed for 150. The other thing was their attack bowled very well in the last five overs. They were very smart, so it was tough going.
In reply to Kings’ 136/5, Delhi Capitals got off to an explosive start even though they lost the opener Prithvi Shaw to Deepak Chahar. Shikhar Dhawan took Chahar to cleaners as he scored 21 runs in the third over of Chennai’s swing bowler. The Capitals were cruising before Shardul Thakur took the wickets off Ravichandran Ashwin and Dhawan which made life a little difficult for the Delhi batters. Shimron Hetmyer scored all-important 28 runs off 18 balls with two fours and one six to win the game for his team in the last over, which also gives them a chance to ensure a top-two finish before the playoffs.
Delhi will play their last league game against three-time finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday, October 8 in Dubai.