The script was eerily similar for both the teams, but there could have been only one victor.
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.
Chasing 140 to reach the final for the seventh time, Chennai were gasping at 62 for six when South African Du Plessis mounted a spectacular counter-attack to see them home with five balls to spare at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. Earlier, Chennai bowlers utilised the lively conditions to the fullest restricting Hyderabad to a modest 139 for 7 after being put into bat. There was a brief second-wicket partnership of 24 runs between Suresh Raina (22) and du Plessis, which was broken in the fourth over by Siddharth Kaul. They bowled very well, and there was a bit in it for the fast bowlers. "This is the best combination that we have got", skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the win. Khan, in fact, was the best bowler of the night, with figures of 2/11 in his four overs.
Du Plesis kept on playing sensibly throughout when no other batman clicked and went back cheaply.
Chennai, attempting to make it to their seventh final in nine seasons that they have been part of T20 2018, struck another blow just past the Powerplay period.
Apart from Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo chipped in with two wickets.
Bravo then chipped in with 2-25 that included a smart return tumbling catch to dismiss Yusuf Pathan before Brathwaite smashed 43 off 29 balls and Hyderabad scored 51 runs off the last five overs. Brathwaite was particularly harsh on Thakur, scoring 20 runs off him in the last over of their innings.
The victor tonight will directly qualify to play the season finale on May 27 at the same venue while the losing side will get another chance to prove their mettle in the eliminators on May 25 at Eden Gardens. 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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