Faf du Plessis helps Chennai Super Kings enter IPL 2018 final with win v SRH
Faf Du Plessis didn’t have many opportunities this season to display his skills. On Tuesday, though, he got one and grabbed it with both hands as his well-timed half-century guided Chennai Super Kings to the IPL final with a two-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 1. (Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings, highlights)
Sent in to open with Shane Watson needing 140 to win, Du Plessis saw his partners depart one after another as Sunrisers bowlers applied the squeeze from the first over. But the South African skipper kept calm and with the target not steep enough had ample time to build his innings. (Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings, scorecard)
He finally opened his shoulders in the 18th over by Carlos Brathwaite, hitting him for a huge six and three fours to bring up a well-deserved fifty. He did survive a close leg-before call off Rashid Khan with DRS coming to his rescue.
Luck also favoured the Super Kings as Shardul Thakur managed to get two fours – one off an outside edge and the other off the inside – in the 19th over bowled by Siddharth Kaul to reduce the target which before those boundaries stood at 23 off 12 balls. Shardul hit another four off the last ball of Kaul’s over to bring it down to run a ball going into the final over.
Du Plessis finished off in style, hitting Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six over his head and help Super Kings enter their seventh IPL final. Du Plessis’ 42-ball 67 included five boundaries and four sixes.
Defending a low total, it was always a tough ask for Sunrisers bowlers and they did make a fight out of it and at one point reduced Super Kings for 62 for six. But couldn’t stop Du Plessis.
Earlier, Super Kings got off to a brilliant start as Shikhar Dhawan went back off the first ball chopping a Deepak Chahar delivery onto the stumps.
That pumped up CSK bowlers and they kept Sunrisers pinned to the mat for the rest of the innings.
Kane Williamson did dazzle briefly scoring a 15-ball 24 which included four classic boundaries. Shardul bowled a short one into Williamson’s body which the skipper tried to pull but could only manage to find a faint nick which was gobbled up by MS Dhoni.
With two of their best batsmen in the pavilion, Sunrisers never looked like mounting a comeback.
What worked in Super Kings’ favour was that their bowlers stuck to a plan which got them the wickets of Shakib al Hasan (12) and Manish Pandey (8).
Dwayne Bravo, who had Shakib caught behind, didn’t give him any room to free his arms. Manish Pandey’s mediocre tournament continued as he got out tamely, caught and bowled by Ravindra Jadeja. Bravo then took a brilliant return catch to send back Yusuf Pathan (24), who was beginning to open his shoulders, to reduce Sunrisers to 88 for six.
Carlos Brathwaite’s 29-ball 43 helped Sunrisers push towards the end. The West Indian all-rounder took special liking to Shardul Thakur, hitting him for four sixes and a boundary.