Mumbai: Faf du Plessis played probably the best knock of his IPL career to guide struggling Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Qualifier 1 of Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) at the Wankhede Stadium here on Tuesday.
In a low-scoring nail bitting encounter, CSK sealed a three-wicket win to reach into the final of the tournament for the seventh time in nine editions.
Coming in to chase down a mediocre target of 140 runs, CSK went over the line with 5 balls to spare and three wickets in hand.
Du Plessis played the role of the mentor of the memorable victory with his 67-run knock off 42 balls hitting 5 fours and 4 sixes. After the early dismissal of Shane Watson (0 off 5), Suresh Raina showed some fireworks scoring 22 runs off 13 balls hitting 4 fours. He, however, could not last longer in front of an attacking SRH attack.
Ambati Rayudu (0 off 1) also departed off the very next delivery. Skipper MS Dhoni tried to consolidate the inning but was sent back by an unplayable delivery by Rashid Khan. He scored 9 runs off 18 balls with a boundary.
Dwayne Bravo also failed to click with the bat today and returned after adding 7 runs off 11 balls. Ravindra Jadeja also could not stand in front of an upbeat SRH attack and contributed only 3 runs off 5 balls.
Deepak Chahar, who played a crucial inning in the last match, scored 10 runs off 6 balls with a six. Harbhajan Singh added 2 runs off 9 balls. Shardul Thakur, who has been performing well with the ball so far, played a crucial role with the ball tonight scoring 15 runs off only 5 deliveries in the second last over of the match in which he scored three boundaries.
His inning reduced the runs required in the final over to six, which D Plessis scored on the very first delivery of the last over.
It still was an amazing bowling effort by SRH, which is regarded as the best bowling unit in the tournament, as they restricted a mighty batting line-up like CSK from freeing their arms.
Rashid Khan was once again unbelievable as he picked up two wickets for only 11 runs in his four overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was also unplayable on most of the occasions as he gave only 14 runs in 3.1 overs which include only one boundary which was hit by Du Plessis in the last over.
Sandeep Sharma, though, picked up two wickets but conceded 30 runs in three overs while Siddharth Kaul, who bowled amazingly well in the first three overs, gave away 32 runs in four overs for two wickets.
Carlos Braithwaite could not contribute much as he conceded 31 runs in three overs. Shakib Al Hasan also bowled two overs and gave 20 runs for no wickets.
Earlier, after being put in to bat first, SRH got off to a poor start with Shikhar Dhawan (0 off 1), S Goswami (12 off 9), Manish Pandey (8 off 16) and Shakib Al Hasan (12 off 10) failing to do much for the team.
Williamson, however, played yet another fine inning of 24 runs off 15 balls with 4 fours but could not play a big knock which he has been doing very often this season. Carlos Braithwaite played an amazing inning off 43 runs off only 29 balls with 1 four and 4 sixes to bring SRH to a competitive total which eventually fell at least 10 runs short.
Yusuf Pathan also contributed crucial 24 runs off 29 balls with 3 fours while Bhuvneshwar Kumar remained unbeaten on 7 runs off 11 balls.
Dwayne Bravo was the pick of the bowlers picking up 2 wickets for 25 runs in four overs. Ravindra Jadeja bowled an amazing spell of four overs giving away only 13 runs for one wicket. Deepak Chahar (1/31, 4 overs), Lungi Ngidi (1/20, 4 overs) and Shardul Thakur (1/50, 4 overs) also managed to pluck one wicket each.
CSK scored 54 runs in the final five overs to fix a place in the final of IPL 2018.
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad: 139/7 in 20 overs (Carlos Brathwaite 43 not out; Dwayne Bravo 2/25) against Chennai Super Kings: 140/8 in 19.1 overs (Du Plessis 67; Rashid Khan 2/12)