Du Plessis blitz puts Chennai in IPL final

Gerardo Harmon
May 23, 2018

The CSK narrowly defeated SRH by two wickets.

While the likes of 37-year-old Harbhajan Singh and Shane Watson, a year his junior, had forgettable outings, du Plessis' blistering counter-attack more than made up for their failures.

Khan bowled Dhoni with his trademark googly for nine.

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In the end, Shardul Thakur enjoying the luck of streaky shots contributed his bit, but du Plessis, who saw teammates cave into pressure and some skilful bowling, showed the calmness and capacity to play a lone hand and lead his team to victory. "They will have to step up in the final", he added. A few balls here and there, in the death I think, when it's a low-scoring game, a couple of edges you know, it's such a fine line. Du Plessis sealed the deal with a straight six off Bhuvneshwar's first ball.

Earlier in the evening, the Sunrisers lost Shikhar Dhawan to the first ball of the match; the left-hander threw his bat at one angled across him, but only managed to drag the ball back onto his stumps. Bhuvneshwar had given away 71 runs in his combined eight overs, Sandeep totalled 106 in 10 overs for 2 wickets, Kaul had given away 110 in 11 overs, while Basil Thampi wrote himself into the record books after he was smacked for 70 in four overs against RCB.

Faf du Plessis' single-handedly steering Chennai Super Kings towards the win. Shardul Thakur came in for tap - he conceded 17 runs in the 18thover & 20 runs in the 20th over - and finished figures of 4-0-50-1.

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Chennai bowlers were on the prowl right from the word go and backed their captain's decision by taking wickets at regular intervals. However, the all-rounder had a good time in the field with the ball. For SRH, Carlos Brathwaite and Shakib al Hasan both proved costly, and through them CSK were able to mount their comeback. He walked out to bat in the 12th over when his team had lost five wickets with just 69 runs on the board, and took his time to settle down. SRH coach Tom Moody's extra efforts on the eve of the match to train Carlos Braithwaite (29-ball 43) harder for the slog overs bore fruits yesterday when the 2016 World T20 final hero resurrected Sunrisers Hyderabad from a hopeless situation. Ngidi was great, (Ravindra) Jadeja was good, but it was an okay performance. 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.

Siddharth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been outstanding performers for SRH in the final overs. Plus, they have a mystery bowler. He took the crucial wickets of Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo.

Du Plessis' 67 off 42 balls enabled CSK to chase down a tricky target of 140 in 19.1 overs after being down at 92 for 7.

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The Protea power: No man has made more of a difference in such an important match this campaign than Faf Du Plessis' effort against the ladder leaders.

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