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Albie Morkel © Gallo Images

Albie, Dhoni take CSK to top of the log

South African all-rounder Albie Morkel led the way in a superb bowling performance as Chennai Super Kings crushed the Delhi Daredevils by 33 runs in Chennai on Tuesday night and went top of the table with one game to play.

Full Scorecard: Chennai v Delhi

Morkel took 3-32 off his four overs, including the wicket of the dangerous David Warner, who was desperately trying to keep his team in the game.

Morkel, who has spent much of the season playing second fiddle to Chris Morris, a specialist bowler, was backed up by Ravichandran Ashwin (2-19), Mohit Sharma (2-22) and Dwayne Bravo (2-19) who scythed through the lower order to regain the purple cap for the top-wicket-taker with 24 wickets.

The Daredevils were set a target of 169 to win just their fourth match of the season, but from the moment Virender Sehwag was caught behind slashing at a wide ball off the second ball of the innings , they were on the slide.

They ended on 135 for nine, with only South Africa’s Johan Botha (23) offering any support to Warner, who ended with 44 off 37.

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The Super Kings’ challenging target was due to a brilliant innings of 58 off 35 balls by captain MS Dhoni, who hammered four sixes, including one on to the roof of the stadium, and two fours in a fiery display which earned him the man of the match award.

He and Ravindra Jadeja had been tasked with rebuilding the innings when the Daredevils had made a breakthrough, taking three quick wickets to leave the hosts wobbling at 74 for three after a good stand of 61 by the openers, Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay.

Then Vijay was slow off the mark and was run out by a direct throw from Ben Rohrer, and two overs later Hussey top-edged an extravagant pull to be caught at short fine leg by Sehwag off Umesh Yadav. The next over Suresh Raina popped an easy drive off South African left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe to Warner at extra cover. The run-rate plummeted. The first 50 had come up off 38 balls; the next 50 off 46 in the 14th over.

Dhoni and Jadeja (24 off 17) steadied the innings with a stand of 57 in 38 balls . The loss of Jadeja, beaten by pace by Umesh Yadav did not faze Dhoni, who immediately hit Siddarth Kaul out of the park. He launched into Nehra, too, who conceded 33 off his final two overs -- which must have been painful since he had conceded just four off his first two.

Van der Merwe did well to end with 1-19 off three overs.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: MEK Hussey, M Vijay, SK Raina, S Badrinath, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), RA Jadeja, DJ Bravo, JA Morkel, R Ashwin, JO Holder, MM Sharma

DELHI DAREDEVILS: DA Warner (capt), V Sehwag, UBT Chand, BJ Rohrer, J Botha, KM Jadhav (wk), IK Pathan, RE van der Merwe, S Kaul, UT Yadav, A Nehra


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