Du Plessis blitz puts Chennai in IPL final

Alfred Osborne
May 23, 2018

Sam Billings is out, Shane Watson is in for Chennai Super Kings. Having restricted SRH to a modest total of 139/7, thanks to some brilliant bowling led by Ravindra Jadeja (1/13 in four overs), CSK took a gamble by opening with Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis, instead of their usual and successful opener Ambati Rayudu-the fourth highest run scorer this season with 586 runs.

Hyderabad will now have to beat the victor of the eliminator between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals in order to progress through to the final.

A fighting unbeaten half-century under pressure from Faf du Plessis helped Chennai Super Kings edge past Sunrisers Hyderabad by two wickets in the first qualifier on Tuesday to enter the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here.

Chennai are into their seventh final but must wait to discover who they will face.

Earlier New Zealand captain Williamson scored 24 runs for Hyderabad, who had the match in its grip until the 17th over with Chennai needing 43 runs and three wickets in hand. He hung around for nine runs off 18 balls before being bamboozled by a Rashid Khan googly.

CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, too, didn't last long. That's where the experience comes in.

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While captain Dhoni had missed an earlier opportunity for a run out from point-blank range, Chennai were otherwise ruthless and Dwayne Bravo (2-25) provided the standout wicket. Medium-pace bowler Sandeep Sharma also got two wickets.

Shikhar Dhawan was clean bowled off the first ball of the game by Deepak Chahar, who finished with figures of one wicket for 31 runs.

While Super Kings stopped the aspirations of Kings XI Punjab by overcoming a hard start last night in their adopted home base of Pune, Sunrisers have been on a three-game losing run, having sealed their play-off spot with a victory on May 10 against Delhi Daredevils.

Captain Kane Williamson arrived at the crease and climbed to the top of the 2018 run standings with a knock of 24, but his progress was checked as he swiped behind to MS Dhoni. Brathwaite was particularly harsh on Thakur, scoring 20 runs off him in the last over of their innings.

"Saying that, the game swung back our way, the bowlers were outstanding only didn't execute (in the death) as we have in the past", he added of his bowlers who have been excellent in defending low totals throughout season 11.

"Hopefully we can cross the line in Kolkata and come back here [for the final]".

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