It is a seamless transition when MS Dhoni gets into his destructive mode, after a subdued start to his innings. His ability to seize control of situations has single-handedly handed Chennai Super Kings victories in this edition of the T20 league.
On Tuesday night, it was the skipper coming to the fore again with a blistering 58 not out (35 b, 2x4, 4x6) to take the momentum away from Delhi Daredevils at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Dhoni took just 17 balls for his last 41 runs to help CSK post an eventually match-winning 168/4. On a pitch offering bounce, Dhoni hit length deliveries into the stands, each six bigger than the previous one. The final five overs yielded 59 runs.
Like so often this season, Daredevils batting faltered after Virender Sehwag had edged a seaming delivery. Stand-in skipper David Warner's 44 was too little as Mohit Sharma, Albie Morkel and Dwayne Bravo restricted Delhi to 135/9, sealing a 33-run victory. Scorecard
After Suresh Raina fell for seven, Dhoni consolidated the innings with Ravindra Jadeja in the middle overs before the skipper got into his zone. It was the last game for the two-time champions at home, with the playoff games shifted to Delhi. Much drama had happened off the field but the match was about playing to the gallery, a sea of yellow.
For the greater part of the CSK innings, Daredevils had things under control. By the end, the strategy fell apart against the best finisher in the league.