Watson lights up IPL after tight review goes his way
SHANE Watson and captain MS Dhoni hit belligerent half-centuries as Chennai Super Kings beat Delhi Daredevils by 13 runs in the Indian Premier League.
Watson survived a close lbw television referral off Trent Boult's first ball to smash 78 off 40 balls, and Dhoni hit his third unbeaten half-century in the tournament - 51 off 22 balls - in Chennai's challenging total of 4-211.
The referral took place after the on-field umpire denied Delhi's lbw shout against Watson.
The Australian was adjudged to have edged the ball before it struck his pads plumb in front, but it was mighty tight. He proceeded to hit the next ball he faced for four and went on to hit seven sixes.
Delhi was restricted to 5-198, always lagging behind the asking rate despite late half-centuries from Rishabh Pant (79) and Vijay Shankar (54 not out).
Chennai sits top the table with six victories from eight matches. Delhi is at the bottom after a sixth loss.
"It's very important for us to get off to a good start, not necessarily in terms of runs, but even a good partnership," Dhoni said.
"I can promote myself and come out at No.5. It's more fun when you go into the eighth and 10th overs and the bowler doesn't know when you will go for the big runs."
Watson and Faf du Plessis (33) gave Chennai a solid start of 102 runs off 65 balls against some wayward bowling by the Delhi seamers.
England's Liam Plunkett (0-52) and Boult (0-48) conceded 100 runs between them off just seven overs, after Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer won the toss and opted to bowl first.
Watson was well on course for his second century of the season until he holed out in the deep in the 14th over.
Ambati Rayudu (41) and Dhoni then combined for a 79-run stand off just 36 balls against the leaky Plunkett and Boult.
Dhoni, who was dropped by Colin Munro on 31, went on to smash five sixes and two fours. Rayudu hit a six and five boundaries before he was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Delhi stuttered to 4-74 in the ninth over of their chase, losing the key wickets of skipper Iyer (13) and Glenn Maxwell (6).
Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi (1-26) had an impressive IPL debut and another new pace bowler KM Asif (2-43) removed both openers Prithvi Shaw (9) and Munro (26) in his opening spell.
Pant and Shankar shared 88 runs in a fifth-wicket stand until Ngidi had Pant caught at deep cover in the 18th over. Shankar reduced the margin of defeat by hitting Dwayne Bravo (0-43) for three sixes in the 19th over.
"We got really close, which is a positive we can take into the next match," Iyer said.