Watson, Dhoni smash brutal half-centuries as Super Kings go top

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Shane Watson then went into see-ball, hit-ball mode with 78 from 40 balls.

SHANE Watson and MS Dhoni smashed brutal half-centuries as Chennai Super Kings went top of the Indian Premier League (IPL)with a 13-run victory over struggling Delhi Daredevils.

Delhi thrashed Kolkata Knight Riders in their first game since Shreyas Iyer replaced Gautam Gambhir, but they were unable to back it up in Pune yesterday and remain bottom.

Watson made a brilliant 78 from only 40 balls and captain Dhoni bludgeoned an unbeaten 51 off 22 deliveries to take the Super Kings up to an imposing 211-4.

The Daredevils never looked like chasing down their target despite the best efforts of Rishabh Pant (79 from 45) and Vijay Shankar (54 n.o. off 31) as they fell short on 198-5.

Trent Boult thought he had dismissed Watson leg-before from the first ball of the match when he struck him on the pad, but the third umpire detected an inside edge after Iyer signalled for a review.

Watson found the boundary with a wristy stroke from the next delivery and continued to motor, Liam Plunkett coming in for some punishing treatment in three wicket-less overs which cost 52 runs.

The England paceman’s first over went for 20, Watson striking back-to-back sixes and Faf du Plessis (33) scooped another maximum in an opening stand of 102 in only 10.5 overs.

Watson nonchalantly hit Plunkett for two more sixes in his next over before doing the same to Rahul Tewatia, reaching 50 in only 25 balls before Amit Mishra ended his swashbuckling knock.

Dhoni has had his doubters but the former India captain proved he is still up there with the best finishers.

The wicketkeeper-batsman raised the roof with five sixes in a breathtaking visit to the crease, putting on 79 with Ambati Rayudu (41 off 24) in just six overs.

Dhoni was dropped by Colin Munro on 31 as he cut loose, taking a particular liking to New Zealand seamer Boult.

Iyer was the star of the show in his first game as skipper with a magnificent 93 against KKR, but he was run-out for only 13 and Delhi were 74-4 when Glenn Maxwell fell cheaply.

Pant and Shankar made a game of it, combining for a partnership of 88 with some high-quality strokes, Dwayne Bravo conceding 43 from only three overs.

An enterprising innings from Pant included four sixes before the impressive Lungi Ngidi removed him in the 18th over.

Shankar took 21 off the penultimate over from Bravo and Ngidi for six to increase the tension in the final over, but the South African kept it tight after that to deny the Daredevils an unlikely win. (Yahoo Sport)