Shikhar Dhawan got lucky not once but four times (dropped on 25, 27, 50, 79). But, he ensured that CSK would regret it deeply.
Despite all his brilliance in ODI cricket for India, Shikhar Dhawan has not been one of the greatest match winners in the IPL. And, despite being an opener and playing since 2008, the Delhi opener did not score a T20 ton in 264 matches and any IPL hundred in 167 matches.
He was not supposed to hit one either on October 17 night against Chennai Super Kings. However, Dhawan has always been a gritty cricketer and makes most of the chances he gets in life. In this match, he got lucky not once but four times (dropped on 25, 27, 50, 79). But, he ensured that CSK would regret it deeply.
“It’s very special (first IPL ton). Playing for 13 years, so very special. Really happy. At the start of the tournament, I was hitting the ball but I wasn't converting the 20s or 30s into fifties. Once you start doing that, you get more confidence,” said a beaming Dhawan after getting his Man of the Match award.
Axar Patel’s all-round effort
While batting Chennai had scored 16 runs in the 20th over and Delhi needed 17 runs of the last over. So far, Axar Patel’s great bowling effort( in 4 overs he gave just 23 runs) was going largely unnoticed and maybe he chose to announce his presence in the team with the bat! He scored 21 runs in just 5 balls and made the mockery of last over tension and Delhi won by a margin of 5 wickets.
“I was very nervous, didn't know what to say because it was getting to the last over. I knew that if Shikhar stayed till the end, we would win. But the way Axar struck the ball was amazing to see. Whenever we give the Man of the Match awards in our dressing room, he is always there. He is an unsung hero,” acknowledged DC captain Shreyas Iyer after the match.
Earlier, when Chennai won the toss and decided to bat first CSK batters were not allowed to score freely in the first 10 overs of the innings. Faf du Plessis(58 off 47) and Watson (36 off 28) played steadily. However, it was Ambati Rayudu (45 off 25) and Ravindra Jadeja’s 13-ball cameo for 33 that set a challenging target of 180 for the Capitals.
All hell broke loose
Two left-handers batting in the last over of the innings when the match was still evenly poised, the sight of Ravindra Jadeja bowling to pair was bewildering for all the experts and fans watching. It simply defies the conventional cricket logic on many fronts and especially when the team has someone like Dwayen Bravo who is a master of such occasions.
However, CSK and Dhoni are realizing that the lady luck is no longer smiling whenever they are cornered in this tournament.
“Bravo was not fit, he went out and was really not able to come back. That was the reason we had to bowl (Jadeja).
The option was between Karn and Jaddu so I went ahead with Jaddu,” explained Dhoni after the match in his post match chat with the host broadcaster. Now, CSK are left with a seemingly impossible target of winning all the remaining matches if they are to make it to the playoff.
(Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.)Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2020 here