Australian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus polished off the top three of the Daredevils line-up in his first spell of three overs effectively ending Delhi's chances of putting up a sizeable total. He removed skipper Virender Sehwag (4), last match's centurion David Warner (8) and Naman Ojha (3) to reduce Delhi to 24 for three in only first five overs.
Hilfenhaus with figures of three for 27 made the most impact.
In another couple of deliveries, it was four down with Mahela Jayawardene (8) also back in the dug-out courtesy Albie Morkel.
Yogesh Nagar (43 not out, 47 balls, 1x4, 1x6) and former India player Y Venugopal Rao (27, 24, 2x6) added 48 runs for the fifth wicket but with the track being one that is difficult to bat on, scoring runs at a fast pace wasn't the order of the day.
The slide started in the very first over as Hilfenhaus bowled a beauty that saw Sehwag's stumps go for a walk. The ball pitched on the middle stump and moved a shade as Sehwag got squared up.
Warner didn't get the required elevation as he hit one straight to Ashwin at mid-off. Ojha, who played a blinder couple of days back gloved one which Dhoni fumbled twice before clutching onto it.
The last chance of putting up a big score depended on Jayawardene but he committed early to a stroke to offer a simple catch to Mike Hussey at mid-on.