A vintage MS Dhoni finish made its presence felt as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Delhi Capitals (DC) by six wickets in Qualifier 1 in Dubai and became the first team to reach the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 final.
Meanwhile, DC, will now take on the winners of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Eliminator for a place in the summit clash.
Needing 173 runs to win, CSK lost Faf du Plessis as Anrich Nortje disturbed the timber in the first over.
From thereon though, it was all Ruturaj Gaikwad and Robin Uthappa show. While Gaikwad welcomed Kagiso Rabada into the attack with a six in the fourth over, Uthappa turned the clock back and went 6, 4, 6, 4 against Avesh Khan as CSK zoomed to 59/1 after 6 overs.
The pair continued its good work and Uthappa brought up a superb fifty in the 10th over. The pair completed a hundred-run stand in the 13th over as CSK moved to 111/1.
However, just when it looked that CSK were dominating the proceedings, DC pulled things back. First, a double-wicket 13th over from Tom Curran helped DC see the back of Robin Uthappa and Shardul Thakur. Shreyas Iyer took both the catches and then, along with Rabada, pulled off a sensational run-out to dismiss Ambati Rayudu in the 15th over.
Ruturaj, who completed yet another fifty in the season, and Moeen Ali scored 28 runs in the next three overs as CSK moved to 149/4 after 18 overs.
However, Ruturaj, after scoring 70, got out on the first ball of the penultimate over. But Moeen, who hit a four, and captain Dhoni, who tonked a maximum on the second ball he faced kept CSK in the hunt.
While Tom Curran’s slower one did Moeen in, Dhoni hit three fours and scored an unbeaten 18 off 6 balls to power CSK to their ninth IPL final.
Earlier, unchanged CSK elected to bowl against DC, who brought in Tom Curran in place of Ripal Patel.
Prithvi Shaw played his shots as DC zoomed to 32/0 after three overs, with the right-hander scoring 29 of those runs. However, CSK struck in the fourth over as Josh Hazlewood dismissed Shikhar Dhawan. The right-arm pacer got his second of the match as he got Shreyas Iyer out in the final over of the powerplay.
Shaw continued his merry ways and brought up a 27-ball half-century in the ninth over. CSK though picked the three DC wickets as Moeen dismissed Axar Patel, who was caught in the deep by Hazlewood in the 10th over.
Shaw was the next man to get out as Ravindra Jadeja had Shaw caught in the deep after the right-hander had scored 60.
DC were looking for a solid partnership and captain Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer rose to the occasion. The duo, who joined forces in the 11th over, added 83 runs together.
The two kept the scorecard ticking and took DC past 100 in the 14th over as Hetmyer creamed a six off Moeen. The DC captain hit his first maximum – a one-handed six – of the night in the 16th over before the pair completed the 50-run stand in the next over. Rishabh and Hetmyer hit a four each in the 18th over as DC moved past 150.
While Hetmyer got out in the penultimate over, Rishabh went on to complete a fine last-ball half-century to guide DC to 172/5.
Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 173/6 (Ruturaj Gaikwad 70, Robin Uthappa 63; Tom Curran 3/29) beat Delhi Capitals 172/5 (Prithvi Shaw 60, Rishabh Pant 51*; Josh Hazlewood 2/29) by 4 wickets.