MUMBAI: Faf du Plessis argubly played his most memorable innings in the yellow of the Chennai Super Kings, as the MS Dhoni-led outfit stormed in IPL 11 summit clash.
With 43 needing off last three overs, Du Plessis, who opened the batting, launched into Carlos Brathwaite’s 18th over smashing him for 20 runs which included two sixes and two fours. Having done precious little in the tournament so far, the stylish right-hander put his hand up when it mattered most.
Chennai kept losing wickets at regular intervals, starting with Shane Watson who was dismissed for 0.
Raina counter-attacked, hitting 4 boundaries in his innings of 22 before Sidharth Kaul removed him and Ambati Rayudu (0) off successive deliveries.
Then, Rashid Khan came into his own as he dismissed MS Dhoni (7) off a wrong’un and then removed Bravo as well for just 3.
Du Plessis saw all this from the other end, but he kept on fighting and finally it was left to Shardul Thakur to play the supporting role, as he also compensated for his poor day with the ball by hitting three boundaries right at the death, to steal victory for Chennai. Six runs were required off the final over and du Plessis deposited the first ball right over Bhuvneshwar’s head and into the boundary as the crowd erupted to celebrate Chennai victory.
“It’s nice to contribute since I haven’t played much,” du Plessis said at the post-match presentation. “Yesterday, I was just reflecting on my past games, and took some confidence from that mentally.
“Sometimes the game seems out of reach, but you keep sticking in. But Shardul (Thakur) came in and hit some boundaries, and everything went our way. Rashid was a real handful, so just happy to cross the line. Rashid was tough to pick, so hard to take him on. So try to get through him as much as you can.”
Du Plessis said he waited to target Brathwaite specifically, since his changes of pace weren’t too stark compared to some of Sunrisers’ other bowlers. With Shardul Thakur contributing an unbeaten 15 off 5 as well, CSK got home with five balls to spare.
“Me, personally, in that situation, I felt that I needed to take all the risk against Carlos,” du Plessis said. “His slower ball is not that much different than his [normal] pace. So even if he does [bowl a slower one], you can trust your [bat-] swing, so that’s what I was hoping for. And that’s the over we both targeted. And Shardul came in there and just smoked a few towards the end.”
A SENIOR SIDE
- Chennai’s progression to Sunday’s final in Mumbai is even more impressive considering they were suspended for two seasons following an illegal betting controversy before returning for the 11th edition of the tournament.
- The franchise, which looked keen to retain the core of their previous squads in auction, fielded seven players over 30 against Hyderabad. While the likes of 37-year-old Harbhajan Singh and Shane Watson have been regular contributors.