Du Plessis blitz puts Chennai in IPL final


The two-time champions were struggling at 24 for 3 in chase of 140 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Qualifier 1 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Tuesday, May 22 when the chase master walked into bat. Bhuvneshwar had given away 71 runs in his combined eight overs, Sandeep totalled 106 in 10 overs for 2 wickets, Kaul had given away 110 in 11 overs, while Basil Thampi wrote himself into the record books after he was smacked for 70 in four overs against RCB.

While all the batsmen of Chennai Super Kings failed to perform yesterday, the innings of opener Faf du Plessis was outstanding.

While the likes of 37-year-old Harbhajan Singh and Shane Watson, a year his junior, had forgettable outings, du Plessis' blistering counter-attack more than made up for their failures. When the Afghan leggie had Dwayne Bravo (7) caught at slip in his next over, SRH knew the game was as good as over with CSK reduced to 61-5 in 12 overs.

20 runs came off the last over of Hyderabad's innings as Carlos Brathwaite hit a six and two fours. CSK and Shardul Thakur got lucky when they got two boundaries via two edges off the first two balls from Kaul's over, leaving them to get 15 in 10 balls.

Kane Williamson scored 24 runs in Sunrisers Hyderabad's preliminary final defeat to Chennai Super Kings. Shardul Thakur came in for tap - he conceded 17 runs in the 18thover & 20 runs in the 20th over - and finished figures of 4-0-50-1.

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For the second time in two matches, CSK reaped the benefit of experience.

"The vision that the franchise had, of keeping experienced players, was something a lot of people questioned", du Plessis said in a post-match interview. In the ninth over, in the first show of aggression, he deposited a short delivery from Brathwaite into the stands. Du Plessis completed the formalities with a six off the first ball in the last over off Bhuvneshwar to kick off celebrations in the CSK camp.

Earlier, it was Carlos Brathwaite's unbeaten 43 that gave the SRH bowlers a total to bowl at. CSK lost their first wicket before making their first run, and that was a big inspiring moment for SRH. He dealt in singles early on, and batted to the end. In between, he hit Shakib for a four and a six in the 14th over to stay in touch with the game. And for his splendid 2/11, he is the bowler of the match. The left-arm spinner generally darted the ball, had an excellent grouping on ball pitch, and seldom gave batsmen any room or length for them to swing their willow. Due to this, SRH were 36/3 after 4.2 overs. Rashid was a real handful, so just happy to cross the line. Such was his bowling that even Dhoni had no answer to his googly and was clean bowled by him.

Chennai, 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.

Du Plessis, who had endured a poor IPL so far this year, was at his best when it mattered the most with a chanceless 67 not out off only 42 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium.