Chennai Super Kings in seventh IPL final

Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis

Chennai Super Kings are the first team through to the Indian Premier League final after beating Kane Williamson's Sunrisers Hyderabad in a thrilling two-wicket win in the preliminary final.

After opting to field, CSK did well to restrict the table-toppers SRH to 139-7.

Chasing 140 for victory, Chennai were in a shambles at 62-6 when Du Plessis stepped up with his 42-ball blitz that made the two-time champions achieve their target with five balls to spare in the first qualifier in Mumbai.

CSK lost opener Shane Watson before they could get a run on the board.

Short, short, short After Shikhar Dhawan played on the first ball of the match, Kane Williamson drove the fourth ball beautifully through cover for four. The in-form Ambati Rayudu was cleaned up by a flawless yorker the very next ball, and four overs later MS Dhoni was castled by a Rashid Khan googly. Du Plessis hit that over for four, six and four to give an excellent match its final momentum shift. "I just entered the changing room now, and asked the boys, 'how did we win this, guys?'" Du Plessis said at the post-match presentation. At the end of 13 overs, the South African was 21 from 24 balls, when he decided the moment had come for him to step on the accelerator; he then added 46 runs in 18 balls to guide his team to a win.

Rashid Khan (2/11) then took out CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni with a wrong'un that crashed into the timberto leave them tottering at 39/4 in the eighth over.

Harbhajan Singh could only manage two runs off nine balls before being run out.

The young gun - The 19-year-old Rashid Khan took two wickets for 11 runs in his four overs. But Shardul came in and hit some boundaries, and everything went our way.

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

Unperturbed by the fall of wickets, du Plessis kept on playing sensibly. It allows the 'keeper to reduce the time between catching the ball and taking it to the stumps.

Other batsmen Goswami (12), Manish Pandey (8) and Shakib Al Hasan (12) also failed to deliver when needed the most.

Sent in at Wankhede Stadium, Sunrisers were on the ropes at 88 for six in the 15th over before Brathwaite produced a sterling unbeaten 43 from 29 balls to lift the innings up to 139 for seven off their 20 overs.

The CSK narrowly defeated SRH by two wickets. He dealt in singles early on, and batted to the end. The big googly did Dhoni in. Their fifth and sixth bowlers however couldn't back up their good work, and it resulted in CSK's terrific heist. 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. After 10 overs, the score was a modest 64 for 4. In between, he hit Shakib for a four and a six in the 14th over to stay in touch with the game. A back-of-a-length delivery was swatted back at Ngidi and the bowler crouched low to pull off a wonderful catch.

The stage was set for MS Dhoni to finish yet another game for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

Speaking about the South African, Fleming said, "And Faf (du Plessis) is like a Ferrari vehicle, he needs a lot of attention".

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