Du Plessis blitz puts Chennai in IPL final

Du Plessis blitz puts Chennai in IPL final

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, captain MS Dhoni and West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo all fell cheaply for Chennai but number 10 Shardul Thakur hit three fours in a five-ball 15 not out to help Du Plessis secure victory.

Table-toppers Hyderabad had made it a habit of defending low totals in the group stage and once again their bowlers blew away the top half of Chennai's batting order quickly to give them an upper hand.

If Chennai Super Kings' consistency over the past six weeks of the Vivo-IPL-11 is anything to go by, the six-time finalist and two-time victor should start favourite to win Qualifier-1 against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The yellow brigade have been on a roll since making their comeback to the IPL fold after serving a two-year-ban, and have rarely lost the momentum this season with the old guards and new sensations firing in unison.

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As Du Plessis and his team-mates prepare for the final, Hyderabad will now play in the second qualifier against either Kolkata Knight Riders or Rajasthan Royals.

Interestingly, it was the CSK who halted Sunrisers' six-game winning streak with a comprehensive eight-wicket drubbing on May 13 in Pune. Only he and Shikhar Dhawan (437 runs), who took some time to get going, have shown consistency with the bat in contrast to their bowling attack which, barring the last few games, has been the talking point of the season. In bowling they have depended mostly on seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sidharth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma as well as on overseas spinners Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan.

Bravo then took an exceptional caught-and-bowled chance, whilst tumbling forward during his follow through to get rid of the unsafe Yusuf Pathan and leave Kane Williamson's side in danger of failing to bat out their overs. After 10 overs, the score was a modest 64 for 4.

M. S. Dhoni (c, wk), Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi. Ahead of the clash, a women's exhibition game will take place at 2 p.m. with top Indian and foreign players taking part in the contest at the Wankhede.

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