Shane Watson and Faf Du Plessis scored brilliant half centuries, as Chennai Super Kings defeated Delhi Capitals by six wickets to book their spot in the IPL final for the second season running. CSK had beaten the Capitals in both round robin clashes and this playoff, like the previous two, went the way of the men in yellow on a sluggish Vizag surface.
Delhi went in with an unchanged line up, while Chennai included Shardul Thakur in place of Murali Vijay.
After being sent into bat by CSK skipper MS Dhoni, Delhi started decently with Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan adding 21 runs in 2.3 overs before the former was dismissed leg before wicket to Deepak Chahar.
Dhawan looked good in his short stay until he was caught by Dhoni off Harbhajan Singh for 18.
After the power play, Ravindra Jadeja got into the act by claiming the dangerous Colin Munro who was caught at deep square leg by Bravo for 27.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel failed to make substantial contributions, as Delhi slumped to 80/5 in 13 overs.
Only a quickfire 38 from Rishabh Pant prevented the Delhi innings from fizzling out altogether, and some breezy late hits from tail enders Trent Boult and Ishant Sharma, took Ricky Ponting’s men to 147/9 in their 20 overs- the same they had scored when the two sides had met at the Feroz Shah Kotla earlier this season. As it had been on that day, the total here was simply not enough for their bowlers to defend.
Chasing a modest 148, the pair of Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson gave CSK a flying start, and added 81 runs for the opening wicket before the former was caught at deep square leg by Keemo Paul off Boult for a brilliant 50.
Watson and Suresh Raina put on 28 runs for the second wicket stand, before the former fell to Amit Mishra. While the leggie and Boult bowled well, there was never any real scoreboard pressure on Chennai, who comfortably reached their target with an over to spare.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni fell cheaply for 9, but Ambati Rayudu remained unbeaten on a run-a-ball 20 as Stephen Fleming’s side won by six wickets. With this victory, Chennai have now reached their eight IPL final, and will be playing the Mumbai Indians-a team that has beaten them thrice already this season, at Hyderabad on 12 May (Sunday)
Faf Du Plessis’ decisive half century saw him named the Man of the Match.