Mumbai: There were leg-side strangles, there were golden ducks, there was dead ball or no-ball confusion and there was plenty of drama as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) overcame a spirited Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) challenge to win the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 Qualifier 1 by two wickets, chasing 139, and sealed a place in the IPL final for the seventh time here on Tuesday.
After restricting SRH to a below-par 139, CSK’s hopes of sailing past SRH’s total dealt with a major blow as Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/14) dismissed Shane Watson (0 runs off 5 balls) in the first over before Siddarth Kaul’s (2/32) twin strike on consecutive deliveries sent Suresh Raina (22 runs off 13 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (0 runs off 1 ball) CSK’s leading run-getter, in the 4th over.
Then arrived the Rashid Khan (2/11) wrong’un which crashed the timber, sneaking through the gap of MS Dhoni’s (9 runs off 18 balls) bat and pad and left CSK tottering at 39 for 4 in the 8th over. At that stage, CSK would have hoped for a Dwayne Bravo (7 runs off 11 balls) special. But the Afghan sensation cut short those plans as he removed the West Indian in 12th over after Shikhar Dhawan took an easy catch in the slips. Ravindra Jadeja (3 runs off 5 balls) was the next man to get out off Sandeep Sharma’s (2/30) bowling in the 13th over.
Faf du Plessis (67* runs off 42 balls), who had opened the innings alongside Watson, started to swing his bat as he and Deepak Chahar (10 runs off 6 balls) added 30 runs off 15 balls before Carlos Brathwaite took a low catch to end Chahar’s stay in the middle on the final ball of the 15th over.
SRH would have sealed the game on the 91st ball of CSK’s chase but a review saved Faf and kept CSK alive. But CSK then lost Harbhajan Singh (2 runs off 9 balls) as Rashid’s brilliance in the outfield caught Bhajji short of his crease in the 18th over. But that over cost SRH 20 runs, with Faf hammering 19 off them, with three fours and a six.
CSK needed 23 runs off 12 balls and while all the eyes were on Faf. Shardul Thakur (15* runs off 6 balls), who had conceded 20 runs in the final over as SRH batted, made up for his poor last-over by smacking three fours in the 19th overs and reducing the winning target to 6 runs off the last over. Faf then made sure there was no last-over drama as he hit the first ball of the 20th over for six to book CSK’s spot in the final.
Earlier, Brathwaite’s quickfire 43* runs off 29 balls helped SRH put on 139 runs on board after Dhoni won the toss and chose to field. SRH did not enjoy brightest of starts as Chahar (1/31) dismissed Shikhar Dhawan for a golden duck after the left-hander dragged an away-going delivery onto the stumps. However, Kane Williamson, looked on song, as he hit three fours in the opening over. While wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami (12 runs off 9 balls) showed intent, his stay was cut short as Lungi Ngidi (1/20) took a fine catch on his bowling, after trapping the diminutive batsman for room.
SRH were then dealt with twin blows via the leg-side strangle. First Kane Williamson gloved a Shardul Thakur (1/50) delivery to get out on 24 and then Shakib-Al-Hasan (12 runs off 10 balls) emulated his skipper as diving MS Dhoni took a fine catch off Dwayne Bravo (2/25).
Manish Pandey (8 runs off 16 balls) and Yusuf Pathan (24 runs off 29 balls) then controlled the freefall of wickets for 27 balls before Ravindra Jadeja (1/13) dismissed Pandey for 8 runs to leave SRH reeling at 69 for 5. Yusuf was the next man to depart as Bravo pulled off an absolute stunner on his bowling and reduced SRH to 89 for 6, with 5 overs to spare.