Perhaps, it’s the depth in their ranks that prevailed over Shardul Thakur’s magical spell of 2/8 in three overs which had left Hetmyer and Axar Patel to chase down 38 runs in five overs with four wickets in hand. As Hetmyer (28 not out off 18 balls) leaped in the air when Kagiso Rabada turned away Dwayne Bravo to the fine-leg boundary with two balls remaining, Capitals sealed one of the top-two slots by three wickets.
Scorecard | As it happened | Points Table
The rash exhibition batting display by Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and skipper Rishabh Pant nearly undid the great work their potent bowling attack and Shikhar Dhawan (39 off 35) did for most of the match.
The drama in the final six overs of the match notwithstanding, Capitals were way ahead of CSK through the match.
Once Ruturaj Gaikwad got done in by the extra pace and bounce of Anrich Nortje and lobbed a simple catch to R Ashwin at mid-wicket, it was always going to be an arduous ask for the CSK batting against a relentless international quality Delhi Capitals attack.
Nail-biting finish! 👌 👌@DelhiCapitals hold their nerve & beat #CSK by 3⃣ wickets in a last-over thriller. 👍 👍… https://t.co/nm62SkCcQc
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) 1633369582000
Restricting the CSK to a modest total of 136/5 despite Ambati Rayudu’s scrappy unbeaten 43-ball 55, Capitals walked back into the dressing room knowing they have pulled away from MS Dhoni’s team.
The 64-ball 70-run stand ensured Jadeja had just two balls to face in the entire innings. Dhoni’s 27-ball 18 marked his painful drag into the sunset. The fact that he was unable to hit even one boundary is an indication that how tough this Capitals attack made it for him.
Rayudu looked hurried right through whenever the pacers attacked his ribs with pace and bounce. The partnership reiterates the struggles of batters who don’t play competitive cricket round the year and wait for the IPL to come around.
Two low-scoring thrillers in a row ✅DC stars hold their nerves on both occasions ✅Doubles over MI and CSK ✅Anot… https://t.co/8SI36oGxRv
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) 1633370132000
The deal was simple for Capitals: take out the in-form Gaikwad, fresh from an unbeaten century in the last match, to expose a lineup that has a plethora of over-the-hill batters.
Up against the fearsome pace and movement from Nortje, Avesh Khan and Kagiso Rabada, Gaikwad had the task to negate pace threat early on in the innings. He came second, perhaps, realizing there’s a little bit of work to do for him to dominate such attacks.
Capitals did what they do best. After the sheer intimidation with pace, spinners Axar Patel and Ashwin applied the choke. Axar nipped out Faf du Plessis and Moeen Ali before Ashwin removed Robin Uthappa. With Rayudu and Dhoni in the middle, Axar and Ashwin sailed through their spells to return figures of 2/18 and 1/20 respectively.
The CSK innings scrapped to find wheels. They did find some momentum in the 18th and 19th overs through Rayudu when Nortje and Avesh deviated from their stump-to-stump hard length balls to offer full and wide deliveries.
But as soon as Avesh found his length back in the final over, a clearly fatigued Rayudu struggled to hit the ball outside the 30-yard-circle. With Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo cooling their heels in the dressing room, CSK could do with using them more in their batting innings.