Team Delhi made a blistering start to their 2021 Indian T20 League season under their new captain Rishabh Pant, beating MS Dhoni-led Team Chennai by seven wickets at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, April 10.

This victory was Delhi’s third win on the trot over the three-time champions after having defeated them twice in last year’s competition in UAE. 

On a pitch known as a batting paradise, Delhi decided to go for the chase and had a perfect start. The likes of Chris Woakes and Avesh Khan combined to reduce Chennai to 7/2, but Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu then steadied the ship.

Ravindra Jadeja and Sam Curran played their cameo as Chennai posted 188/7 on board. While it was thought to be a difficult run chase, both Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan made the target looked easy, forging a 138-run stand in just 13 overs. Rishabh Pant and Marcus Stoinis did the rest as Delhi cruised to a rather easy win.

Delhi batsmen made the target looked so elementary, and we look at some of the stats that took the center stage on the night.

Dhawan and Shaw leading the charge

It goes without saying that both Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw love batting against Chennai. A 54-ball 85 on the night took Dhawan’s run tally against Chennai to 862, which includes as many as eight fifty-plus scores (1x100, 7x50), and this is now the joint-most fifty-plus scores by any batsman against Chennai. Shaw, on the other hand, scored 72 off just 38 balls and a whopping 75% of those runs came through boundaries. Not to forget that their partnership of 138 runs is the third-best partnership against Chennai in the competition.

Top-5 opening wicket stands vs Chennai in Indian T20 League
Partners Runs Team Venue Date
A. Rahane, S. Watson 144 Rajasthan Ahmedabad 19 April 2015
G. Smith, S. Asnodkar 127 Rajasthan Chennai 24 May 2008
P Shaw, S. Dhawan 138 Delhi Mumbai 10 April 2021
Q. de Kock, I. Kishan 116* Mumbai Sharjah 23 October 2020
D. Warner, S. Dhawan 116 Hyderabad Ranchi 22 May 2014

It was Shaw’s eighth fifty in the Indian T20 League and second against Chennai. Note that both of his half-centuries against MS Dhoni’s side have come on the trot.

Furthermore, Dhawan’s Man of the Match knock also helped him surpass David Warner in the list of most runs in the Indian T20 League. The southpaw now has 5282 runs in the competition to his name. 

Delhi’s dominance over Chennai

Before the teams had met in UAE last year, Chennai had won all of their last three meetings against Delhi. The tables, however, turned, as Delhi completed a double over Chennai last year and a victory at Wankhede further outlined their dominance over Dhoni’s side. Here are the results of the three meetings between the teams:

Match #7 at Dubai- Delhi won by 44 runs.

Match #34 at Sharjah- Delhi won by 5 wickets.

Match #2 at Mumbai -Delhi won by 7 wickets

Yesterday’s run chase was the second instance where Delhi chased down a target of 180-plus runs. It is also their highest successful chase against Chennai in terms of target. As far as wickets are concerned, it was their third-largest win over Chennai in terms of wickets.

Raina making a statement

Suresh Raina returned to the Indian T20 League fold after almost two years, and he announced his arrival with a 36-ball 54. It was Raina’s 39th half-century in the competition. 

Raina's run distribution vs Delhi 
Spin vs Pace Runs Balls Dots 4s 6s Strike Rate Dot % Run %
Pace 17 16 7 1 1 106.25 43.75% 31.48%
Spin 37 20 6 2 3 185.00 30% 68.51%

An experienced cricketer in the shortest format, Raina is always aware of his strength and thus it does not come as a surprise that he decided to go after spinners. 37 of his 54 runs were scored against spinners and he hit them at a strike rate of 185.00. The southpaw played a 63-run partnership with Ambati Rayudu for the fourth wicket and a whopping 55.56% runs (35/63) were scored by him.

He is now the fourth-highest run-scorer against Delhi in the competition.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @IPL