Incredible Faf carries CSK to their 7th IPL final
A game which had so many ups and downs looked like a lost cause for a moment for the Super Kings before CSK who like their previous game in Wankhede found a hero, this time in Faf Du Plessis to bail them out.
Bhuvneswar Kumar opened the proceedings for SRH against Shane Watson and gave the veteran Australian all rounder a tough time in the middle with a display of good seam bowling and removed him for a duck. Suresh Raina who has a solid playoff record with an average of 59 played with good intent before he was bowled down the leg by Siddarth Kaul. Ambati Rayudu who was forced down the order due to the arrival of Faf Du Plessis was dispelled for a first ball duck and Kaul was breathing fire. Dhoni looked to stabilize things but was dismissed by a Rashid Khan googly leaving the Super Kings in a deep hole. CSK’s hero the last time they played in Wankhede Bravo fell prey to the dangerous Rashid Khan chasing a wide ball for a meagre 7 runs. Kane Williamson brought Sandeep Sharma into the attack and he did his part by sending Jadeja who didn’t read the slower ball back to the pavilion with a simple caught and bowled.
Faf Fu Plessis who was watching all these from the other end took the attack with a four and a six against Shaikb. Deepak Chahar hit a six but then fell in the same over owing to an athletic but controversial Carlos Brathwaite catch. Rashid Khan almost sealed the game when the umpire gave Faf out before the batsman reviewed and turned the decision. Siddarth Kaul then slipped in a tidy over and ensured more pressure on Faf and CSK. Faf Du Plessis gave hope to the CSK faithful scoring 4,6 and 4 in 3 balls and found himself in more trouble after Harbhajan couldn’t complete the second run in time. Shardul Thakur whose last over had a telling effect on the game so far made amends with 3 boundaries in Kaul’s penultimate over, with 2 coming off edges and one solid blow down the middle and edged CSK closer to a win. With 6 to win in the last over, Faf calmly nailed a six down to the sightscreen and carried his team from the start to a memorable victory.
Winning the toss on a decent surface, Dhoni opted to chase first on a decent deck. CSK replaced Sam Billings with Faf Du Plessis and Shane Watson who was rested the previous game was drafted in. Deepak Chahar backed up his captain’s call by striking in the very first ball after Shikhar Dhawan dragged the ball into his stumps – the first time a wicket fell in the first ball of an IPL playoff match. Kane Williamson looked in sublime touch, much like he has been in the whole tournament played some crisp shots before getting out to a poor Shardul Thakur delivery. Shreewats Goswami who has given a reprieve earlier by Dhoni who missed a run out opportunity gave a return catch to Ngidi and perished. The Sunrisers lost 3 wickets inside the powerplay and were staring down the fact that previously, only five of the 22 teams to have lost at least three wickets in the Powerplay in an IPL match at the Wankhede Stadium have gone onto win. Shakib Al Hasan, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan all made 12, 8 and 24 respectively contributing little to the SRH total. The innings never really kicked on till the last over where 20 runs were plundere Carlos Brathwaite who gave Shardul Thakur a proper Ben Stokes moment and powered his team to 139 and gave his bowlers something to work with.
CSK’s bowling has clicked quite well in their recent games and they would like to carry that into the finals although local boy Shardul Thakur’s form will be a worry. With Faf’s exploits today, CSK have another batsman to believe but Jadeja hasn’t had enough time and a proper innings with the bat. That might be a factor if he needs to bat in the finals. But all in all, CSK look good with all bases covered and will go into the finals with firm belief.
What next for CSK?
CSK do not travel and would base their camp in Mumbai for the big day this Sunday. They have proper time to rest, but not to be rusty and prepare and that would be vital with a few old legs in CSK’s dugout. They need to await 2 more games to find their opponent in the final.
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