Mumbai (Maharashtra), May 23: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) booked their place in the Indian Premier League (IPL) final for the seventh time on Tuesday as they narrowly defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by two wickets. Chasing 140 to win, the two-time champion lost wickets at regular intervals.
With Faf du Plessis coming to form in the Qualifier, the right-hander will mostly spend the final on the bench and will not have much to complain against. He was part of Chennai's scheme of things till 2015 when the side faced a two-year suspension. In the 15 matches he has played so far, he has scored 455 runs at an average of 75.83. Notably, du Plessis had opened for CSK in their win over Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, May 20. A few balls here and there, and at the death I think, when it's a low scoring game, a couple of edges - you know. And you can't do that without the players and the support staff. While the South African batsman brushed it away and was one of the first players to tweet out his regret over the shifting of the home venue due to security threats, there were scores of CSK fans who tweeted out apologies to the man who was a mainstay in the Chennai team since 2012.
Banned for two seasons on charges of corruption, the most successful franchise in the history of T20 cricket played like a team possessed with their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again at the forefront with calm demeanour.
Hyderabad bowlers started well with dismantling the in-form Chennai batting.
Du Plessis batted through the entire innings, looking on as his side lost 8 wickets and looked unlikely to get over the line. Importantly, it was at the Wankhede when he smashed 133 as South Africa amassed 438 for four and beat India by 214 runs to wrap up the ODI series 3-2 back in October 2015.
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Both du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo were very tentative while facing Rashid's second over and at the end of ten overs, CSK were at 50/4. After returning to dots and singles for a brief while, he once exploded in the fourteenth when he collected a four and a six off consecutive deliveries off Shakib al Hasan.
Du Plessis not only exhibited his power-hitting skills, but also portrayed his well-learnt knack of playing with the tail.
Put in to bat, Hyderabad started the proceeding on a poor note, losing opener Shikhar Dhawan (0) on the first ball.
"It was unbelievable - Faf du Plessis finding his inner MS Dhoni there at the backend, batting all the way through, taking it right to the end". He played 29 balls and one boundary and slammed four sixes.
Faf du Plessis was retained by Chennai Super Kings using the RTM at IPL 2018 Auctions but he was not given too many matches this season. It's not easy when you don't play a lot of games but I always say you need to train your mind as well. You visualise what your role is, how you can contribute and Faf has been brilliant, ' Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.