In a last-ball finish, with all results possible till the very end, Chennai managed to sneak a four-wicket win, breaking a three-game losing streak in a humdinger watched by near-50,000 at the Kotla.
Shoaib Malik began the last over, with Chennai needing 15, and was dispatched over midwicket by Manpreet Gony for a six straight up. A smear across the line ended in a thick edge for four to third-man, a generous wide helped the score along and when Badrinath chipped inside-out over cover for a controlled brace, the scores were levelled.
With the field inside the circle for the last ball, Badrinath took the aerial route and Shikhar Dhawan, the lone fielder in the deep and midwicket, gave good chase and dived full-length, but could not get hand on to the ball. A game that Delhi should have won slipped out of their grasp.
Chennai's pursuit of 188 was a stop-start affair. They began well, scoring 62 for no loss in the powerplay. S. Vidyut (40) who had done the early damage, was followed to the dressing-room by Stephen Fleming (44). This partnership had brought up the first of two 20-run overs in the innings, with Yomahesh being taken for three fours and a six.
But it was the second big over, the 14th, bowled by Virender Sehwag that did the damage. Albie Morkel launched the first ball over square-leg, hit cleanly back down the ground and rounded things off with a line drive over midwicket. Twenty three came off that over, and even when Sehwag ran out Morkel in the next over, he had done his bit, hitting 30 off 15 balls. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, not hitting the ball cleanly, managed 33 off as many balls, but holed out to long-on in the 19th over, leaving the lower order to deal with a pressure-packed final over.
The game was set up in the first half by Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan. Gambhir took on all comers, going after pace first, cutting, driving and pulling before he took on the spin of Muttiah Muralitharan. While Gambhir showed his full range of strokes, Dhawan played to his strengths. Dhawan favoured the pull - attacking anything short - playing the ball with control in the air and on the ground. Against spin Dhawan cleared his front foot and heaved powerfully over midwicket.
Both batsmen brought up half-centuries with unhurried ease and the hundred-run partnership for the fourth wicket came in only 68 balls.
Gambhir c K'dera b Balaji (49 b) 80
Sehwag b Gony (18) 23
de Villiers b Morkel (1) 0
Dhawan c K'dera b Morkel (46) 59
Malik c Raina b Balaji (3) 2
Karthik not out (3) 6
Tiwary not out (2) 5
Extras: (lb-6, w-4, nb-2) 12
Total: (for 5 wkts in 20 ovrs) 187
Fall of wickets: 1-45, 2-46, 3-167, 4-175, 5-176
Bowling: Gony 4-0-36-1, Morkel 4-0-35-2, M'tharan 4-0-25-0, Amarnath 3-0-35-0, Balaji 4-0-35-2, K'dera 1-0-15-0.
Vidyut c Dhawan b S’wan (23 b) 40
Fleming c de Villiers b Asif (28) 44
Dhoni c de Villiers b Mahesh (33) 33
Raina c Tiwary b Sangwan (2) 1
Morkel run out (15) 30
K’dera c Dhawan b Mahesh (9) 8
Badrinath not out (5) 8
Gony not out (5) 13
Extras: (b-1, lb-4, w-6) 11
Total: (for 6 wkts in 20 ovrs) 188
Fall of wickets: 1-62, 2-97, 3-98, 4-138, 5-166, 6-166
Bowling: McGrath 4-0-23-0, Asif 4-0-33-1, Mahesh 4-0-40-2, Sangwan 4-0-29-2, Malik 2-0-28-0, Sehwag 2-0-30-0.