Suresh Raina marked his return with a trademark fifty. All-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Sam Curran carried on with their exploits from the United Arab Emirates. And Moeen Ali made a significant contribution with the willow on his Chennai Super Kings debut.
Still, such was the onslaught by the Delhi Capitals opening combination that it chased down a target of 189 without any fuss to open its campaign on a high. Despite an impressive batting performance, Super Kings bowlers couldn’t really get their act together on a belter at the Wankhede Stadium.
The Powerplay turned out be the difference between the sides. Capitals, with a new captain in Rishabh Pant, dominated the first six overs in both the halves, which proved decisive.
After electing to field first, despite missing last year’s wreckers-in-chief Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, the Delhi pacers restricted Super Kings to a meagre 33 for two. Avesh Khan, preferred over veteran Ishant Sharma, justified his presence and Chris Woakes made his Capitals’ debut count as the duo got rid of openers Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad.
In the latter half, it was the Capitals’ opening batsmen who dominated the proceedings to virtually seal the fate of the game. While Shikhar Dhawan continued his silken touch, Shaw continued from where he left in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
While Dhawan drove and cut with panache, Shaw displayed his change of technique by playing close to the body, something that was exposed during the IPL and the opening Test in Australia last year.
As a result, with the left- and right-hand combination finding gaps at will with its pristine strokeplay, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was rendered helpless waiting for a breakthrough. To make matters worse, Super Kings didn’t support its bowlers on the field as well, with substitute Mitchell Santner and Ruturaj Gaikwad dropping Shaw in the deep.
Even after Shaw succumbed to Dwayne Bravo’s change of pace in the 14th over, Dhawan upped the ante to ensure the game was all but over when Shardul Thakur trapped him in front of the wicket with three overs remaining.
Dhawan’s classy innings thus overshadowed the effort of CSK’s left-handed quadruple with the bat. While Raina and Moeen started the onslaught by going after experienced spinners R. Ashwin and Amit Mishra, Jadeja and Sam, who won the mini-battle against elder brother Tom on debut for Capitals, ended the innings on a high.
In the end, it wasn’t enough.