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IPL: Delhi survive Dhoni cameo to beat Chennai


Leading from the front,

Rishabh Pant

finally marked his return from a harrowing car crash with a commanding performance, scoring his first IPL half-century since the incident, as Delhi Capitals secured a 20-run victory over Chennai Super Kings in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
DC vs CSK: As it happened

Captain Pant’s 51 off 32 balls, combined with left-hander David Warner’s robust 52, propelled Delhi to a total of 191-5, their temporary home ground due to the impending general elections in the country.

Despite being in the heartland of Chennai, the crowd largely rallied behind their beloved MS Dhoni, chanting his name fervently. Dhoni, in turn, responded with a stellar unbeaten 37 off just 16 deliveries, comprising four boundaries and three sixes.
But Delhi bowlers held their nerves, restricting Chennai to 171 for 6 to securing their team’s first win of the season and halting Chennai’s two-match winning streak.
Khaleel Ahmed impressed with figures of 2-21, while Mukesh Kumar (3-21) claimed three crucial wickets towards the latter part of Chennai’s chase.

Earlier, Warner and Prithvi Shaw laid a solid foundation for Delhi with a 93-run opening partnership before Chennai’s bowlers fought back, including Matheesha Pathirana’s impactful two-wicket over.
Another highlight of the match was Pathirana’s remarkable one-handed catch behind the stumps to dismiss Warner, who attempted a reverse scoop.
Pant’s return to the T20 tournament after a 14-month hiatus saw him initially taking time to find his rhythm, having scored 18 and 28 in his previous two knocks in the tournament.

He initially eased into his innings, but towards the latter part, he surged ahead, punishing Pathirana with consecutive boundaries and a six on three successive deliveries. However, the bowler struck back on the fourth ball.
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Pathirana, often likened to Lasith Malinga due to his slinging action and deadly yorkers reminiscent of the Sri Lankan pace legend, finished with figures of 3-31.
Pant exited the field to a thunderous standing ovation, marking his first IPL half-century since 2021 and a significant milestone following a terrifying car accident in December 2022.

After sustaining multiple injuries in the crash, which saw his car collide with a crash barrier, flip over and catch fire, Pant underwent extensive treatment and surgery, followed by a long rehabilitation period.
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Chennai, under the leadership baton passed from the seasoned Dhoni to Ruturaj Gaikwad at the season’s onset, faltered early, losing two quick wickets, including that of Rachin Ravindra, for just two runs.
Though Ajinkya Rahane (45) and Daryl Mitchell (34) stitched a 68-run partnership in a bid to resurrect the chase, their dismissals led to rise in required run-rate, which gave Delhi control.
(With PTI inputs)

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