SRH vs CSK: Faf du Plessis steers Chennai Super Kings into seventh IPL final
MUMBAI: Faf du Plessis (67 not out) scored a match-winning half-century to help Chennai Super Kings reach their seventh Indian Premier League final on Tuesday. The two-time champions defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by two wickets in a low-scoring thriller at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
CSK will now play the summit clash on Sunday, whereas Sunrisers have to face the winners of the Eliminator between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2 for the second shot at the final on Friday.
Du Plessis completed the run chase with a six as CSK chased down the 140-run target in 19.1 overs. The South African remained unbeaten on 67 off 42 balls, which included four sixes and five fours, and added 27 runs off 8 balls with Shardul Thakur (15* off 5 balls).
Defending a modest total, Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave Sunrisers an early breakthrough by removing Shane Watson (0) in the first over. Suresh Raina though came out all guns blazing as he smacked three consecutive fours off Sandeep Sharma's first three balls in the second over.
But the introduction of Siddarth Kaul in the fourth over changed the scenario upside down as the pacer clean bowled Raina and in-form Ambati Rayudu (0) in consecutive balls to reduce CSK to 24/3 in 3.4 overs. Raina scored 22 off 13 balls with the help of four boundaries.
The situation worsened for CSK when they lost skipper MS Dhoni (9), who missed a wrong 'un from Rashid Khan, in the 8th over with just 39 runs on the board. CSK reached 50/4 at the halfway mark and needed 90 more off the final 10 overs.
Rashid then removed Dwayne Bravo (7) in the 12th over, before Sandeep dismissed Ravindra Jadeja in the next over to leave CSK at 62/6 in 12.3 overs.
Du Plessis though kept CSK in the hunt from the other end as he stitched a valuable 30-run stand in 2.3 overs with Deepak Chahar (10) to take the score to 92/7 in 15 overs.
Du Plessis then completed his fifty off 37 balls with the help of three sixes and three fours, while clobbering 20 off Brathwaite in the 18th over and changed the equation to 23 off 12 balls.
Shardul scored three fours off Siddarth Kaul as 17 came from the penultimate over to make the equation a comfortable six off the final over, which du Plessis did in just one ball.
Earlier, the CSK bowling attack utilised the lively pitch to the fullest as they restricted Sunrisers to a modest 139/7.
Carlos Brathwaite (43* off 29 balls), skipper Kane Willamson (24) and Yusuf Pathan (24) were the useful contributors for Sunrisers on a track that offered good bounce.
CSK pegged back Sunrisers at 47/3 after six Powerplay overs with both Williamson and opener Shikhar Dhawan (0) back in the dugout.
Dhawan played on off Deepak Chahar in the very first delivery of the match. Williamson, in red-hot form in the season, then produced three hits to the fence off the last three balls in the same over.
From the other end, Lungi Ngidi packed off the other opener Shreevats Goswami (12) by accepting a smart return catch, when the batsman tried to pull.
At 34/2, Sunrisers slipped further when Williamson feathered a catch down leg-side ball off Shardul Thakur to rival captain Dhoni to leave Hyderabad reeling at 36/3 in 4.2 overs.
CSK, attempting to make it to their seventh final in nine seasons that they have been part of IPL, struck another blow just past the Powerplay period.
Shakib Al Hasan (12) also fell to a leg-side catch by Dhoni off Dwayne Bravo (2/25) and it left Sunrisers at 50/4. After 10 overs, the score was a modest 64/4.
A late flurry from West Indian Brathwaite, who slammed Thakur for four huge sixes and a four in death overs, boosted the total significantly.
Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 140/8 in 19.1 overs (Faf du Plessis 67*; Rashid Khan 2/11) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 139/7 (Carlos Brathwaite 43*; Dwayne Bravo 2/25) by two wickets