Following a cracking first play-off match of the 11the edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) between two-time winners Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the attention will now switch to the Eliminator where resurgent Rajasthan Royals will come up against "home favourite" Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. Navigating a tricky wicket, du Plessis finally came into his own after an insipid tournament so far. But Brathwaite's effort was neutralised by du Plessis's classic knock. He was part of Chennai's scheme of things till 2015 when the side faced a two-year suspension.
The South African middle order batsman, who had scored just 85 runs from four innings before the Qualifier on Tuesday, said that he took strength from his previous performances in the IPL.
In the 2018 auctions, du Plessis, with a base price of Rs 1.5 crore was picked up by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 1.6 crore.
Hyderabad had the match in its grip until the 17th over with Chennai needing 43 runs and three wickets in hand.
The two-time champions CSK will play the final on May 27 at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Until du Plessis made a decision to take on Brathwaite towards the end. Du Plessis survived the storm, played out the most hard bowler in the opposition (Rashid Khan), and turned on the heat just at the right time.
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Watson, who took strike against Bhuvneshwar Kumar, edged the fifth ball to the keeper and new batsman Suresh Raina was off the mark straightaway on the sixth ball. The 26-year old player scorched a few boundaries in the dying phases of the contest and turned out to be a ideal foil for de Plessis. But the South African captain held his nerves and engineered a stunning victory. Rashid, who was called on to bowl the 8th, 10th, 12th and 16th over, castled Dhoni neck and crop with a googly and then had the wicket of Dwayne Bravo. He slammed three fours and one six to sway the match CSK's way, nearly like a bully rudely snatching away ice cream from the innocent kid that had done everything until then to keep it safe.
CSK were 93 for 7 and needed 47 from 24 balls when Rashid was through with his overs. Thakur hit four off the last ball to make it six off six balls.
Du Plessis not only exhibited his power-hitting skills, but also portrayed his well-learnt knack of playing with the tail.
"(Ngidi) has provided a spearhead for MS, and it has improved our first six overs. He got some great support from Thakur there under pressure. CSK also shared other videos of Bravo dancing in the dressing room.
Du Plessis took time to get going but, just like his captain, found the right time and the right bowlers to go after during the tense chase.
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It wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume that Chennai supporters were readying themselves for the second qualifier on Friday at Kolkata's Eden Gardens. In fact, when Brathwaite hit him over midwicket boundary off the first ball of the 18th over, it was the first six of the innings.
Faf du Plessis survived a leg before wicket decision, thanks to the Decision Review System, off the first ball of the 16th over from Rashid Khan.
SRH had one leg in the final at the point but Super Kings opener Faf du Plessis, it seems, had other ideas. It's not easy to not play a lot of games. "You visualise what your role is, how you can contribute and Faf has been brilliant", Dhoni said.
Hyderabad bowlers started well with dismantling the in-form Chennai batting.
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