A batting performance bordering on the shambolic – there were three run-outs inside the first ten overs, and four overall – left Chennai Super Kings defending the lowest completed total in IPL 5, but it was far too little to challenge a Delhi Daredevils line-up bolstered by the arrivals of Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen. Chasing 111 at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi were given a spirited start by Virender Sehwag before an eight-wicket victory was sealed with 40 balls remaining, on the back of a brisk 61-run stand between the new boys, Pietersen and Jayawardene.
Sehwag's decision to field on a two-faced surface that had a hint of juice in it following a rain delay was vindicated when his bowlers and fielders put in a terrific performance, but they were helped significantly by some frenetic running from Chennai's batsmen. Five players got starts but only one crossed 20, and there were just two boundaries in the last 11 overs as CSK finished on 110 for 8, two runs lower than what they made in the tournament opener.
Chennai's innings started in terrible fashion. Faf du Plessis dabbed the first ball from Irfan Pathan to the leg side and set off, only to sell Murali Vijay down the river. The dismissal capped a poor run of form for Vijay, following scores of 10 and 2 in the tournament. du Plessis was unable to atone for his error, as he smashed a delivery from Morne Morkel straight to extra cover in the fourth over. Suresh Raina's run-out for 17, the result of a risky call and good throw from Yogesh Nagar at point, left Chennai in further trouble. A third run-out, as S Badrinath was caught short by Pietersen at short fine leg, left the innings in disarray.
Pietersen and Jayawardene stamped their arrival as Delhi chased 111 with eight wickets remaining.
Irfan's reintroduction into the attack for the 11th over produced a fifth wicket, as Ravindra Jadeja edged to Naman Ojha who held a one-handed blinder behind the stumps. The running between the wickets remained panicky; Dwayne Bravo and MS Dhoni twice had moments of indecision and never looked settled in the middle.
Irfan (1 for 25) was bowled out inside 11 overs, and apart from one 14-run over in which Raina and du Plessis got stuck into him, was spot on with his line and length. Delhi's spinners, Roelof van der Merwe and Shahbaz Nadeem, kept a check on runs with tidy lines and clever changes of pace. van der Merwe was excellent, conceding 11 singles and two twos in his four overs, while Nadeem kept it quick and flat for the most part in an attempt to check Chennai's shots.
Having managed seven runs in 11 balls across five overs, Dhoni tried to launch the first ball of Morkel's return spell into the stands but instead found Jayawardene at long-on. Morkel returned to bowl the 18th and 20th overs, and did superbly to conceding only 11 runs. He finished with 2 for 19, an excellent performance that made him the leading wicket-taker in IPL 5. Umesh Yadav cleaned up Bravo, the innings' top-scorer with 22 off 31 balls, to ensure there were no repeats of the West Indian allrounder's last-over heroics against Deccan Chargers.
A target of 111 was never going to be too big a challenge, even with Chennai having three spinners in their side. Ojha got Delhi's chase off to a flier by hitting the first three balls for four before he was run out, and Sehwag (33 off 21) hit a few trademark boundaries before swinging to deep midwicket. That brought together Jayawardene and Pietersen, Delhi's costliest acquisitions during the off-season. Pietersen knuckled down to work a few singles to steady the innings before he started playing some audacious shots, a massive straight six followed by a big heave over midwicket and two twinkled-toed drives over the infield. Pietersen's 26-ball 43 dominated a 61-run stand with Jayawardene, and hastened victory in 13.2 overs. The last time Chennai visited Delhi they beat Delhi handsomely, but this time around the tables were turned dramatically.