Chennai Super Kings automatically qualify for Friday’s IPL final after overcoming Delhi Capitals by four wickets; Delhi must now take on the winner of Monday’s Eliminator between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.50pm
By Ben Kosky
Last Updated: 10/10/21 7:29pm
Veteran Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni kept his nerve to steer his side into another IPL final as they beat Delhi Capitals by four wickets in their play-off clash in Dubai.
CSK – who automatically qualify for Friday’s final, the ninth time they have reached the tournament showpiece – needed 13 off the final over from Tom Curran to overtake the Capitals’ total of 172-5.
They lost Moeen Ali to the first ball of that over, but 40-year-old Dhoni drew on all his experience to hit Curran for three boundaries and seal the Super Kings’ victory with two deliveries to spare.
That means Delhi, who were runners-up in their maiden final last season, must defeat the winners of Monday’s Eliminator between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders to set up a rematch against CSK.
Capitals opener Prithvi Shaw (60 from 34 balls) set off in swashbuckling style after Dhoni put his side in to bat, thrashing Deepak Chahar for four boundaries in an over and pummelling Shardul Thakur’s first delivery over midwicket for six.
Thakur almost got his man on 42, tempting him to nibble at a slower one outside off stump, but the diving Dhoni was unable to hold on and Shaw advanced to his half-century from 27 balls.
However, clever bowling by Josh Hazlewood (2-29), who sent down three overs in the powerplay, accounted for Shikhar Dhawan (7) and Shreyas Iyer (1) and paved the way for spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen to apply the brakes.
Moeen (1-27) had Axar Patel – promoted up the order to four – caught at long on and, when Jadeja (1-23) persuaded Shaw to drive him into the hands of the tumbling Faf du Plessis on the boundary, the Capitals were stumbling at 80-4.
Shimron Hetmyer and Rishabh Pant set about the rebuilding job, with the Delhi captain beginning slowly before finding his familiar, more explosive form as he dispatched Thakur for a one-handed six back over his head.
The pair added 83 from 50 balls before Hetmyer (37 from 24) eventually holed out off Dwayne Bravo, but Pant (51 not out from 35) remained at the crease as Delhi plundered 57 from the last five overs.
Anrich Nortje gave the Capitals a perfect start by removing Du Plessis (1) as he castled his fellow South African with the fourth ball of the innings, but Robin Uthappa proved a more than capable replacement as he and Ruturaj Gaikwad shared a partnership of 110 from 77.
Initially opting for placement over power, Uthappa (63 from 44) kept the scoreboard moving before launching a brutal assault against Avesh Khan, bludgeoning two sixes and two fours from the seamer’s second over.
The in-form Gaikwad had to take a back seat as his partner raced to a half-century from 35 balls, but he then made amends by slamming Axar for six and four in successive deliveries and the Super Kings appeared to be cruising at 113-1.
Yet Curran (3-29) provided some control for the Capitals and when he struck twice in the space of four balls, with Iyer taking both catches before running out Ambati Rayudu with another superb piece of fielding, momentum seemed to have shifted.
Gaikwad (70 from 50) holed out in the penultimate over, followed by Moeen (16), but that set the stage for the CSK captain, who slammed an unbeaten 18 from just six balls to seal a dramatic victory.
Watch the IPL eliminator between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday from 2.50pm, live on Sky Sports Cricket.