du Plessis helped Chennai recover from 62/6 to chase down 140 to win the last over thriller.
Thanks to a 42-ball 67* from Faf du Plessis, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) edged Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 2 wickets in Qualifier 1 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 to reach the final of the tournament for the seventh time.
Chennai got off to a dream start as Deepak Chahar (1/31) bowled Shikhar Dhawan off the first ball of the match after they opted to bowl. A flurry of boundaries from Kane Williamson (24) and Shreevats Goswami (12) followed after that. But Williamson and Shakib Al Hasan (12) were caught behind as they were strangled down leg. Yusuf Pathan (23) tried to steady the innings but when it looked like he would open his arms, a brilliant low catch off his own bowling from Bravo sent him back and the Sunrisers were struggling at 88/6 after 15 overs. But a Carlos Brathwaite (43*) blitz towards the end helped Hyderabad reach 139/7 after 20 overs.
Find the full match scorecard here.
Defending 140, Hyderabad also got off to a start similar like Chennai as Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/14) scalped Shane Watson for a duck. Suresh Raina sizzled with a 13-ball 22 but exposed his leg stump for Siddarth Kaul (2/32) to uproot in the 4th over. Kaul then bowled a peach off a delivery next ball to clean up the in-form Ambati Rayudu for a duck to make it two in two. And when Rashid Khan (2/11) bowled Dhoni (9) with a googly, CSK’s chances looked very grim. At 62/6, with 79 needed off 45, it was Hyderabad’s game to lose. But as they say cricket is a funny old game… Chennai’s second opener MoM Faf du Plessis wasn’t done yet. As wickets kept tumbling on the other end, he kept going on and on, fighting a lone battle. With 43 needed off 18, Williamson gave the ball to Brathwaite who leaked 20 runs off it, 19 of which came from du Plessis’ bat. In the next over, Shardul Thakur (15* off 5) got two streaky edges for fours and an authoritative four off the last ball to reduce the equation to 6 needed off the last over. And quite fittingly, du Plessis hit the winning six off the first ball off the last over to power CSK to the final of IPL 2018.
Catch all the highlights from the game here.
20 runs came off the last over of Hyderabad’s innings as Carlos Brathwaite hit a six and two fours. But he leaked exactly 20 runs in the 18th over of the Chennai innings and that is the turning point of the match. du Plessis showed brilliant temperament as he hit him for two fours and a six, and swung the pendulum right back in his side’s favour.
Ambati Rayudu got a jaffa first up which cleaned him up, and his wicket is the best dismissal of the match. Siddarth Kaul bowled a knuckle ball yorker, which also swung away, to Rayudu who was opened up by it and was clean bowled for a golden duck. Any batsmen in the world would have found it difficult to negotiate with that kind of a ball first up.
Batsman of the Match
For a brilliant 42-ball 67* that helped Chennai win the match, Faf du Plessis is the batsman of the match. It’s very common for any batsman to lose concentration when wickets are falling at the other end. And with the kind of high pressure thriller it was, it becomes even more difficult for the batsman. But du Plessis showed great temperament as he executed right shots and picked the right bowlers to hit at the right time. He approached the chase brilliantly and displayed nerves of steel.
Bowler of the Match
Rashid Khan has been SRH’s go-to bowler all this season and he again proved it against CSK. And for his splendid 2/11, he is the bowler of the match. Such was his bowling that even Dhoni had no answer to his googly and was clean bowled by him. Chennai batsmen looked to play him out rather than trying to do anything fancy against him.
MS Dhoni (CSK Captain): I'm always happy whenever we win a game. If we had lost this game, we would have still had another chance. I think both sides bowled really well. There was a bit in the pitch for the pacers. We lost quick wickets, which put the middle order under pressure. It all happens in the Knockout stages. The win is important, but it's more important about what we learned. These are the best combinations we've got with the ball. I've been trying to use Bravo in a different way. We will get hit at some time. The bowlers will have to set up in one more game. Faf's experience showed. He's had no continuity, but he's come good. He has been brilliant tonight. We have always been a very good team, and it reflects in the IPL history. The support staff play a big part. We are enjoying the way we are. Credit goes to the management, the support staff and the players.
Kane Williamson (SRH Captain): A trip to Kolkata should be interesting. It was a good game of cricket. It was a decent surface and we should have got 20 more. The bowlers were outstanding. We've got to do some hard work in Kolkata and try and get across the line. We certainly back our death bowlers. Most times, we'd defend that total. Credit to the lower of CSK. It's important we learn a little bit from this. Faf played a beautiful knock.
Chennai will wait for the winner of the second qualifier to face in the final on 27th May in Mumbai. On the other hand, Hyderabad will travel to Kolkata to take on the winner of the eliminator in the second qualifier on 25th May.