The young Delhi brigade were no match to Chennai who first tied down their opponent's fiery batting unit before openers Faf du Plessis (39-ball 50) and Shane Watson (32-ball 50) made the chase look easy. The Men in Yellow will now feature in their eighth IPL final where they will face their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians for the fourth title in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Asked to bat, none of the Delhi batsmen could play their natural game as they found it tough to get going against Chennai's disciplined bowling unit. After restricting Delhi to 147 for 9, Watson returned to form when it mattered the most and along with du Plessis got the job done for Chennai. The three-time IPL winners chased down the total with one over to spare, beating Delhi for the third time this season.
Prithvi Shaw might have scored a sparkling fifty in the Eliminator but the right-hander has often struggled against Deepak Chahar. The medium-pacer once again got the better of the 19-year-old as he pinned him right in front of the stumps when he was on 5. Meanwhile, Shikhar Dhawan (18) started well by slamming Shardul Thakur for three consecutive boundaries before falling to Harbhajan Singh as Delhi were reduced to 41 for 2 at the end of six overs.
Coming in at No. 3, Colin Munro (24-ball 27) started swinging for the ball one and despite getting four boundaries, couldn't get the desired result. Both Harbhajan and Ravindra Jadeja bowled with great control and Munro couldn't cope up with the pressure as he hit one of Jadeja's deliveries straight into the hands of the deep square leg fielder.
Shreyas Iyer (18-ball 13) and Axar Patel (3) fell cheaply to Imran Tahir (1 for 28) and Dwayne Bravo (2 for 19) respectively and the entire burden of getting Delhi to a competitive total fell on the shoulders of Rishabh Pant. With wickets falling at the other end, the wicketkeeper-batsman couldn't play his natural game and that allowed Chennai bowlers to go about their business without much tinkering.
Delhi were 93 for 5 at the end of 15 overs and that's when Sherfane Rutherford lofted Harbhajan for a stunning six over extra cover. The veteran spinner however got his revenge in the same over as he had Rutherford caught for 10 to finish with the figures of 2 for 31.
Pant tried his best and batted according to the situation before finally perishing in the penultimate over, mistiming one to the long-on fielder after scoring 38 off 25 deliveries. However, Trent Boult, Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma managed to smash a couple of lusty blows in the last two overs to lead Delhi to a decent total.
Delhi bowlers then bowled really well in the first four overs and were able to keep du Plessis and Watson quiet. It was in the fifth over when the South African finally broke the shackles by slamming Axar for a four and a six. With Watson taking time at the other end, du Plessis took it upon himself to score major chunk of the runs and smacked Ishant for three back-to-back fours in the final over of the powerplay to bring some momentum in the innings.
Du Plessis kept the attack going and completed his 12th IPL half-century, studded with seven fours and a six. It was Boult who finally broke the 81-run stand by having du Plessis caught at deep square leg. However, Watson was set by then and commenced to pick things up once he smoked Axar out of the park.
The Australian batsman, who has failed to make any major impact this season barring two knocks, started flexing his muscles and blasted Keemo Paul for 25 runs, including three maximums, to bring up his fifty. He fell in the very next over but by then the job was already done.
Suresh Raina (11) tried to finish the match early and paid for it, but Ambati Rayudu (20*) and MS Dhoni (9) were more professional with their approach and got Chennai closer to the total.
However, Dhoni was caught while trying to finish the match with his customary six but Rayudu only left the field once the job was completed.
First Published: May 11, 2019, 7:00 AM IST