IPL 2021: Delhi win battle of table toppers against Chennai

Shikhar Dhawan and Shimron Hetmyer help secure three-wicket victory in Dubai

Delhi Capitals held their nerves to defeat Chennai Super Kings by three wickets in the final over in Dubai on Monday.

Chennai batted first on a tricky surface and posted 136-5, which proved just about enough at one point. But responsible innings from Shikhar Dhawan (39) and then Shimron Hetmyer (28) towards the end took Delhi to victory.

The Capitals thus moved to the top of the table ahead of Chennai, with both teams having already qualified for the playoffs.

Conditions proved challenging for batting on Monday. None of the Chennai top order could get going and it was left to middle order batsman Ambati Rayudu to hold the innings together, remaining unbeaten on 55 from 43 balls. Even MS Dhoni failed to hit top gear, the veteran wicketkeeper batsman managing just 18 from 27 balls.

A total of 136-5 seemed short of where Chennai should have been, especially with Dwayne Bravo and Shardul Thakur not coming out to bat and Ravindra Jadeja facing just two balls.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was the wrecker in chief, picking up 2-18 from four overs.

When Delhi started their innings, the challenging wicket stopped them from going at top speed as well. Opener Dhawan made the most of his experience to make 39 from 35 balls, while the rest of the Delhi batsmen around him got starts and then departed.

Thakur bowled the 15th over with 39 needed from 66 balls. The in-form all-rounder turned the match in Chennai's favour by first castling Ravi Ashwin and then getting Dhawan caught at cover. The Capitals seemed down and out.

But West Indies batsman Hetmyer, who had earlier stated his desire to focus on his role as a finisher, took it upon himself to get the job done. The left-handed batsman scored 28 off 18 balls, with the game-changing moment coming in the 18th over when he hit compatriot Dwayne Bravo for two fours in three balls.

Following the win, Delhi captain Rishabh Pant said his team complicated what should have been a simple path to victory.

"In the end we made it tough for us. We were always in the chase since it was a low total. Absolutely big win, and want to be absolutely sure we finish in the top two," the wicketkeeper said.

Updated: October 4th 2021, 6:19 PM