Glenn Maxwell might have stunned the Chennai Super Kings in their first game of the IPL 7 season, but there was to be no heroics with the bat in another chase, this time from the Delhi Daredevils, as MS Dhoni's men cruised to the easiest of victories in Abu Dhabi.
Still probably reeling from that epic loss in their first game against the Kings XI Punjab, CSK, like true big-time teams, dusted the doubts off their shoulders, posting another big score - this time 177 for seven, courtesy an all-round batting effort led by Suresh Raina (56).
There was no reply really from the Delhi Daredevils, as the CSK medium pacers put the stranglehold on them right from the off, with no chances of escape, with DD eventually finishing on a we-wanna-forget-this-soon 84 for nine in 15.4 overs - Nathan Coulter Nile was unable to bat due to injury -- to hand the Chennai side a big 93-run victory, their biggest win in the IPL.
The chase from the Delhi Daredevils never really took off, with regular wickets making the target look more daunting than writing a board exam.
Mayank Agarwal was the first of many wickets to fall early on, mistiming a shot to the offside with Suresh Raina completing a brilliant running catch -- Ishwar Pandey, in for Ashish Nehra, picking up his first wicket.
Murali Vijay, who went for plenty of runs in one over with the ball, but also took two catches in the first innings, would have been desperate to score runs against the team he played with for six years, but the right-hander is far from the force he was a couple years back in the IPL and there was to be no wonder knock as Faf Du Plessis completed a wonderful catch running back with Mohit Sharma taking the wicket.
Manoj Tiwary disappointed yet again, going for a flashy shot in just his second delivery with Du Plessis taking another stunner and Pandey (4-0-23-2) the beneficiary of a second wicket.
JP Duminy (15, 14b, 0x4, 0x6), the main man for the Daredevils in their first two games, stuck around with skipper Dinesh Karthik for nearly four overs, but could not fashion another brilliant innings, as Dwayne Smith, stepping up in Dwayne Bravo's absence with the ball, trapping the left-hander in front of the stumps.
Ross Taylor (6, 6b, 1x4) was also sent back to the pavilion soon after, edging a nice outswinger from Ben Hilfenhaus to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni.
Five down and needing another 128 runs from under 11 overs, there was no way back for the Daredevils, with Karthik (21, 22b, 2x4) and Jimmy Neesham (22, 15b, 2x4) also unable to take-off, as CSK cruised home.
After making 205 in their first game, CSK posted yet another big score, falling marginally short of the 180-mark, with quite a few of the batsmen chipping in with vital runs.
While the first match was all about a searing opening partnership between Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, this innings from CSK, without the injured Dwayne Bravo, who has been ruled out for up to five weeks, was more about a group effort, with McCullum unable to provide that early impetus, falling in just the fourth over.
The New Zealand captain was lucky to escape unscathed in the first ball of the third over from Jaidev Unadkat, with Duminy, of all people, dropping an absolute sitter at short cover. However, McCullum (9, 10b, 1x4) did not make the Daredevils pay for that miss, with the opener toe-edging one to short third man in the very next delivery.
Smith and Raina then built a crucial partnership of 54 from 46 deliveries to set the platform for the crazy-final-over hitters to take centre stage. Smith (29, 28b, 3x4) was far from his best but hung around until the 11th over, before Shahbaz Nadeem found a way through his defences.
However, that steadying of the ship after losing McCullum early, allowed Raina, who played a typical IPL-Raina innings, and the likes of Faf Du Plessis and MS Dhoni to take advantage, with the Delhi Daredevils seriously hamstrung after losing Nathan Coulter-Nile to injury early on with the Australian unable to bowl a single over.
Raina (56, 41b, 5x4, 1x6) was his usual self, taking a little time to get settled in, before carving the bowlers apart with great effect, as the classy left-hander raced to yet another half-century in his favourite tournament.
Neesham dismissed Raina just when he was beginning to go nuts, but CSK needn't have worried too much as the master finisher came to the fore in some style.
Du Plessis played a nice little innings of 24 from 17 balls (1x4, 1x6), but it was Dhoni who found full throttle, bringing out those patented six-strikes. The CSK skipper blitzed to a 15-ball 32 (2x4, 2x6), with Mithun Manhas (13 n.o., 5b, 2x4) also doing his job quite well at the end as CSK scored mammoth 66 runs in the last five overs to put the game out of Delhi's reach.