Arjun Bhalla ∙ Updated: May 20 2023, 7:58 PM | 3 Min Read

IPL 2023 | CSK Become 2nd Team to Qualify for Playoffs; Top-Two Puzzle Still to be Solved

image-lhw1grhbCSK handed DC an embarrasing loss of 77 runs (AP Photo)

MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have become the second team to qualify for playoffs in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 by beating Delhi Capitals (DC) at Delhi by 77 runs on Saturday. For the 12th time in IPL history, Chennai have qualified for the playoffs, which is the most any team in the lucrative league. With this, CSK have joined Hardik Pandya's Gujarat Titans to secure a berth among top-four teams; however, gloomy clouds still hover their heads on whether they would end in the second spot.

Saturday's evening clash between Lucknow Super Giants and Kolkata Knight Riders holds much weight, as a 97-run win for LSG would propel them over Chennai on the points table. However, a loss or win slimmer than 97 runs would guarantee CSK seal the second position.

Gaikwad-Conway ruled with the bat

Talking about the fixture, Dhoni & Co. had a berserk start to their innings in the first half of the match, thanks to Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway. The CSK openers took advantage of a clueless Delhi lineup and attacked the bowlers in the powerplay overs, smacking 52 runs off the first six overs. But as soon as the ball got older, the spinners started gripping the ball on a pitch that, more often than not, assists the slower bowlers more.

However, Gaikwad went behind DC's best bowler Kuldeep Yadav, smacking three sixes in a row. Captain David Warner could not rethink his plans, and CSK kept on piling massive runs.

Both Conway (87) and Gaikwad (79) might have missed on tonking their respective centuries, but Shivam Dube (22 off 9 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (20 off 7) didn't let the chips down after the 142-run opening stand as CSK ended with 223-3.

Warner's Bull-like show was nowhere close

Chasing a daunting target of as much as 224 runs would never be easy for any side, and it gets double the tough when the side is Delhi Capitals of '23. First, they lost Prithvi Shaw in the second over to Tushar Deshpande, and then Deepak Chahar got rid of Philip Salt and Rilee Rossouw on two balls.

With wickets falling like leaves in autumn, Warner took the command into his own hands as they started attacking the Chennai bowlers, especially Jadeja, who went for 50 runs in his four overs.

He stitched a partnership of 49 runs - the best of the innings for DC - with Yash Dhull before he and Axar Patel had a brief one. But nothing before and after that two stands went DC's way, as they got bundled out 146 with Warner falling on a 58-ball 86.