Matthew Hayden butchered Delhi Daredevils bowlers with a breathtaking 43-ball 93 to power Chennai Super Kings to a thrilling five-wicket win in their Indian Premier League match on Friday.
Chennai were chasing a competitive 186 to win but Hayden toyed with the Delhi attack and raised a crucial 78-run third wicket partnership with stand-in skipper Suresh Raina, who scored a sensible unbeaten 49.
Raina hit Tillakaratne Dilshan for a six in the first ball of the last over to notch up the win.
Hayden scored boundaries at will as his innings contained nine fours and seven sixes while Raina’s knock came off 34 balls with the help of three fours and as many sixes.
Earlier, it was Virender Sehwag’s blazing 38-ball 74 at the top and Mithun Manhas’s unbeaten 32 down the order that helped Delhi reach 185 for six, after electing to bat at Ferozeshah Kotla ground.
Rajat Bhatia (21) also played a good hand for Delhi after his side suffered a mini middle-order collapse following a good start.
For Chennai, Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (2\25) and paceman L Balaji (2/21) took two wickets apiece.
Amit Mishra deprived Hayden of a well deserved century having him caught in the deep by Tillakaratne Dilshan. When the Australian started his walk to pavilion his side needed 44 runs from 39 balls to win.
Albie Morkel (0) departed early and Justin Kemp (4) too returned soon to raise the heartbeats of his teammates but Raina and Murali Vijay (14) ensured that the Delhi side do not end on the wrong side.
This was Chennai’s second successive win, while Delhi suffered their second defeat in row.
Chasing 186, Chennai’s start was far from ideal as diminutive Parthiv, who came in for injured skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was run out when with 21 runs on the board.
But Hayden was soon in full flow and it was Bhatia who first faced the fury, leaking 18 runs in the fifth over. The burly Australian hit him for three fours and a six to start the Chennai’s push for win.
Dilshan was the next to face the music as Hayden, using his long handled Mongoose bat, hit him for three sixes and completed his half-century in style.
Chennai finished at 190 for five.
Earlier, Sehwag began the match with a bang, dispatching South African paceman Albie Morkel for two boundaries in the very first over.
Raina shuffled four different bowlers in the first four overs but there was no stopping Sehwag.
The local hero welcomed Joginder Sharma with two boundaries and then lofted Balaji for a long-on six in the very first ball of his spell.
Sehwag’s knock was bejewelled with 10 fours and three sixes.
It was Muralitharan’s twin scalp in the 12th over that brought Chennai back into the match when Delhi looked set for a huge score.
Delhi raced to 35 inside four overs but Balaji cut short David Warner’s (6) stay in the middle.
With Sehwag in full flow, Chennai bowlers struggled to find line and length as there was only one over till the first strategic break in which the visitors did not concede a boundary.
Sehwag and Dilshan raised a 67-run partnership, off which the Sri Lankan’s contribution was 15.
Muralitharan then got into act and dismissed Dilshan, caught by Raina and two balls later Kemp took a stunner at straight boundary to bring curtains on Sehwag’s entertaining innings.
Ashwin then sent packing AB de Villiers (2) in the next over.
But Manhas’s 32 not out and Bhatia’s 21 off nine balls helped Delhi reach 185 for six, but the total later proved insufficient.