On a pitch that was termed to be sluggish, Gaikwad produced a stunning exhibition of back-foot shots in hitting three fours and seven sixes in his 50-ball knock while Conway was pristine in his strokeplay during his 52-ball innings to hit 11 fours and three sixes as Chennai unleashed carnage.
The four-time champions were also helped by stunning cameos from Shivam Dube and Ravindra Jadeja at the end. Delhi’s bowling line-up was totally off-colour on a hot afternoon, with pacers and spinners being taken to the cleaners constantly on going too full or short in their lengths. Such was the effect of the carnage that Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel didn’t complete their full quota of overs.
Electing to bat first, Chennai began aggressively with Gaikwad whipping nicely for fours off Khaleel Ahmed and Lalit Yadav. Devon Conway brought up the 1000th six of the tournament by dancing down the pitch to drive over Lalit’s head into the sightscreen. Conway then feasted on full and short balls from Khaleel to pick fours via flick and slash in the third over.
Despite the introduction of Axar and Anrich Nortje, there was no stopping Chennai as Gaikwad lofted off the former for a six over cover while Conway pulled off his wrists and brought out a drive presenting the full face of the bat off the tearaway pacer for back-to-back fours as 50 runs came in just five overs.
Gaikwad’s brilliance on the backfoot continued when he pulled Kuldeep in the seventh over and broke a lull of three boundary-less overs by rocking back twice to hit sixes off Axar, before getting his fifty in 37 balls.
After Conway whipped and pulled off Sakariya for back-to-back fours in the eleventh over, Gaikwad smacked a hat-trick of sixes off Kuldeep’s fuller balls in the next over. A clean loft over long-off was followed by clearing wide long-on and bowler’s head with immaculate ease.
Gaikwad’s sterling run continued when he used Nortje’s pace to pull over fine leg for six, followed by Conway hitting a maximum by effortlessly whipping off Khaleel to reach his fifty in 33 balls, before pulling again off the pacer for four more in the 14th over.
The opening stand was broken in the 15th over when Gaikwad miscued a pull to deep square leg off a slower ball from Sakariya. But Conway marched forward by upper-cutting off Sakariya and thumping Lalit Yadav over his head for a brace of fours.
Dube joined the party by smashing Yadav down the ground for six before Conway chipped off the backfoot to hit a four between long-on and long-off. The New Zealander got an outside edge off Nortje for four and followed it up with a sizzling short-arm jab for six.
Dube’s fruitful promotion to three continued when his mistimed swing still cleared deep mid-wicket off Khaleel and cleanly swung over the bowler’s head for a brace of sixes, before he and Conway holed out in the deep in quick succession.
Jadeja brought up Chennai’s 200 in the 19th over by smashing Nortje over long-on for six and steered one past backward point for four more. Jadeja flicked and swiped off Sakariya for back-to-back fours in the final over yielding 16 runs, despite M.S. Dhoni not getting a boundary.
Chennai Super Kings 223/3 in 20 overs (Devon Conway 87, Ruturaj Gaikwad 79; Chetan Sakariya 1-36) against Delhi Capitals