HIGHLIGHTS | POINTS TALLY
Much of this match was built around Dhoni getting another game at Chepauk. Openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway went about killing the game in the first 14 overs of the match raking up 141 for the first wicket before Gaikwad fell for 79 off 50.
Even as Conway continued pummeling the ordinary bowling effort by Capitals for his 87 off 52 balls, the stadium erupted in bursts chanting Dhoni’s name. The four balls Dhoni played for his unbeaten five runs in the final two overs amidst hair-raising support was a marquee event in isolation. Capitals, perhaps overwhelmed by the rousing reception for their opponents, saw their wheels coming off at the top of the match. For much of the match, it appeared Capitals only turned up to play good hosts.
That said, the anticipation of Dhoni walking out to bat couldn’t take anything away from the clean and effortless hitting by Gaikwad and Conway. Gaikwad took his time to get going in the first 10 overs as Conway ensured CSK always stayed ahead of a beleaguered Capitals team. Perhaps looking at the future, Capitals tried out Indian seamer Chetan Sakariya while resting the veteran Ishant Sharma. Conway feasted on the inexperienced and undisciplined bowling attack allowing Gaikwad time to hit top gear.
As Gaikwad got stuck into Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel, hitting five sixes from mid-wicket to long-on, the Capitals players’ shoulders dropped hoping the debauchery of this season ended quickly. Capitals may blame the Kotla surface for their abject surrender, but every visiting team has proved the square has been a true one that has yielded hefty scores. Conway and Gaikwad followed by Shivam Dube’s powerful 22 off 9 was another case in point as they went about literally chipping sixes deep into the stands even in the last game of a long cricket season that the Kotla square had to endure.
Capitals captain David Warner, through his 58-ball 86, turned up drawing from every bit of his streetfighter’s spirit and battled through the improbable chase almost trying to show his team what it takes to at least compete at this level. As his young batting looked listless against a disciplined bowling attack, he went about asserting it requires game awareness and a strong mind to make use of all the skills one may have.
As the match progressed, the teams and crowd went through the motions and the gulf between the two teams became even more apparent. The final points table is only an affirmation.