Super Kings reach final after Dhoni’s last-over heroics
Dubai, Oct 10: The ageless Mahendra Singh Dhoni produced a nostalgic little innings to take a band of old men from Chennai Super Kings into their ninth Indian Premier League final after beating Delhi Capitals by four wickets here on Sunday.
DC though will get another shot at making it to the final when they meet the winner of the eliminator between KKR and RCB scheduled Monday.
Needing 13 off the last over, Dhoni hit a square cut, got a bit of luck going his way and then pulled DC’s best bowler Tom Curran for the most celebrated T20 boundary of recent times.
Before that, he had just slapped Avesh Khan for a six over mid-wicket. Curran and Avesh weren’t bad but it was one of those days, the cricketing Gods wanted the 40-year-old to finish it in style.
It was 18 not out in six balls that helped CSK reach 173 for 6 in 19.4 overs. It was all about turning the clock back for the former India captain who has struggled to finish for years but ‘Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man’ as he did once more for his favourite cricket team.
Robin Uthappa (63 off 44 balls) turned the clock back to his halcyon days being the pace setter in company of the irresistible Ruturaj Gaikwad (70 off 50 balls).
After Faf du Plessis was bowled by Kagiso Rabada, Uthappa decided to counter attack with such ferocity that it caught the Delhi Capitals completely unaware. Uthappa and in-form Gaikwad (70 off 50 balls) added 110 runs as DC looked down and out after the first 10 overs.
Uthappa hit seven fours and two sixes before a brilliant piece of fielding by Shreyas Iyer at long-on boundary off Tom Curran. Iyer almost collided with Axar Patel but kept his balance to throw the ball in and catch it on second attempt.
He then took a catch to dismiss pinch-hitter Shardul Thakur while Ambati Rayudu was run-out due to a brilliant combination from Iyer and Rabada.
Gaikwad still played his shots despite a mini-collapse before a nice catch by Axar in deep off Avesh Khan made it 25 off 11 balls before Dhoni came in.
Earlier, Rishabh Pant showed no signs of his self-confessed “nervousness” as his unbeaten 51 off 35 balls propelled Delhi Capitals to a competitive score of 172/5.
Pant got support from Shimron Hetmyer (37) as the duo added 83 runs for the fifth wicket with some breathtaking shots towards the end of the innings.
Delhi Capitals capitalised on a blazing start provided by opener Prithvi Shaw (60 off 34 balls). (PTI)