They needed a win and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings flexed their muscles to get that, recording a thumping 77-run victory over Delhi Capitals at the Kotla on Saturday.
With 17 points and a net run rate better than Lucknow Super Giants (also on 17 points), Chennai booked their place in the playoffs as the second-placed team behind leaders Gujarat Titans, whom they would face in Qualifier 1 in Chennai on Tuesday.
It was an all-round show by the men in yellow, starting with Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway’s 141-run opening wicket stand and finishing with a fine performance from their bowlers, particularly Deepak Chahar (3/22).
Dhoni’s decision to bat first was vindicated by his openers and helped them post a massive 223/3. Delhi, who were the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs race, stuttered in their chase from the very beginning and even though captain David Warner (86 off 58 balls) tried his best, it was never going to be enough.
Besides Chahar, Sri Lankan speedster Matheesa Pathirana (2/22) and his compatriot, spinner Maheesh Theekshana (2/23), had a good day with the ball.
But it was Ruturaj and Conway’s day. The two, who have served Chennai well so far this season, were scathing in their strokeplay. While Ruturaj, the Man of the Match, hit seven sixes in his 50-ball 79, Conway smashed 11 boundaries in his 52-ball 87.