The Qualifier 1 at Mumbai between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) produced one of the most thrilling encounters of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 in which Faf du Plessis’ heroics with the bat trumped yet another superb bowling effort by the Sunrisers.
Things went exactly as MS Dhoni would have expected after he won the toss and chose to field. Shikhar Dhawan went back to the dug out off the very first delivery of their innings as Deepak Chahar cleaned him up with a superb delivery. Some exquisite shots and a nice cameo followed from Kane Williamson but he was dismissed for 24 runs as well. Wickets kept tumbling one after another as Chennai kept striking at regular intervals. It was Carlos Brathwaite’s 29-ball knock of 43 runs that helped Sunrisers to a fighting total of 139/7.
Chennai’s innings also didn't get the desired start as Shane Watson, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu departed early. The Sunrisers kept striking at regular intervals and had reduced Chennai to 88/6 by the 15th over. However, it was du Plessis’ sensible knock that kept them going.
Ultimately a crucial 18th over from Brathwaite in which du Plessis took him to the cleaners, turned the momentum completely in Chennai’s favour. It was followed by a cameo from Shardul Thakur which helped ease the pressure off the South African, who finished the game with a six off the first ball of 20th over. Chennai thus won by two wickets and stormed into the grand finale for the eighth time in IPL history.
Let us now have a look at how the players from both sides performed and rate them on a scale of 1 to 10.
Faf du Plessis: 10/10
Du Plessis hadn't had the best of IPL seasons in the buildup to the playoffs. However, he stepped up when his team needed him the most. When all hopes seemed lost, he took the Super Kings over the line and through to the finals almost single-handedly. He started off slowly seeing off the new ball, and anchored the innings right till the very end, even though wickets kept tumbling in the Chennai innings.
He started accelerating in the later stages, towards the 18th over of the innings, and remained unbeaten on 67 runs off just 42 deliveries. He finished off the match with a six, and thus took Chennai into their eighth final in IPL history.
Rashid Khan: 10/10
Rashid Khan once again produced his absolute best in this match. Not only he kept the run scoring in check, he picked up the two most crucial wickets in the form of MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo. He registered bowling figures of 4-0-11-2 and was outstanding in the way he bamboozled batsmen. Unfortunately, he ended up on the losing side.
Dwayne Bravo: 9/10
Bravo bowled beautifully in this match, registering bowling figures of 4-0-25-2, and surprisingly didn't bowl at the death at all. His two victims include Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan, both of whom had troubled facing the West Indian. Bravo, however, failed to contribute meaningfully with the bat, scoring just 7 runs when his team needed more from him.
Carlos Brathwaite: 8/10
Brathwaite been part of the Sunrisers’ XI in the last couple of matches. He came good with the bat in this match remaining unbeaten on 43 runs off 29 deliveries. However, he leaked some crucial 31 runs bowling a total of three overs in the match.
Lungi Ngidi: 8/10
Ngidi once again showed his supreme pace bowling skills in this match. He registered economical bowling figures of 1/20 from his four overs. Ngidi bowled tight line and lengths and didn't even allow the batsmen to free their arms at any time.
Shardul Thakur: 8/10
Shardul went for 50 runs from his four overs. But the importance of his role in the match was in his other two exploits. He accounted for just one wicket but that was of Kane Williamson, who was looking dangerous at the crease. Moreover, he walked out to bat at No 10 and smashed 15 runs off just five deliveries to bring the game in Chennai’s grasps.
Ravindra Jadeja: 8/10
Although Jadeja couldn't contribute much with the bat, he bowled in a terrific manner in this match, conceding just 13 runs along while collecting a wicket. He kept all the batsmen at bay with his canny variations and kept them guessing. His spell helped Chennai in maintaining control in the middle overs.
Siddhart Kaul: 8/10
Kaul produced one of the finest new-ball spells of the tournament as he sent back both Raina and Rayudu back to the dug out off back-to-back deliveries. However, he failed to produce effective results in the remaining spell. Although his bowling figures read a decent 4-0-32-2, he turned out to be very expensive in the penultimate over that cost Sunrisers the match to some extent.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: 7/10
Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled three overs up front and took one wicket conceding just six runs off it. He set up Shane Watson beautifully bowling in-swingers at him and suddenly bowling one that goes away. Watson edged it and Goswami was there to grab it behind the wickets. However, he was greeted with a first-ball six of the final over to bring curtains to the match. He also scored seven runs with the bat earlier in their innings but probably took a large number of deliveries — 11 of them — to score those runs.
Sandeep Sharma: 7/10
Sandeep Sharma turned out to be expensive, conceding 30 runs in three overs. However, he struck twice at the death, picking up the wickets of Jadeja and Chahar. He registered decent bowling figures of 3-0-30-2 and that is mostly because of the way he bowled towards the death.
Deepak Chahar: 7/10
Chahar once again brought his all round skills to the fore in this match. First he registered bowling figures of 4-0-31-1 in a beautiful exhibition of swing bowling and then scored 10 runs off six deliveries with the bat towards the end. He was given out in a controversial decision as it was not clear whether Brathwaite took the catch cleanly at long on.
Suresh Raina: 6/10
Raina looked to be in sublime touch with the bat as he raced on to 22 runs off just 12 deliveries. He was taking Kaul on in the fourth over of the innings but was cleaned up down the leg side as he shuffled and tried to flick the delivery to the leg side.
Yusuf Pathan: 5/10
Pathan walked out to bat after Shakib departed and tried his best to take Sunrisers towards a decent total. He stitched two small partnerships of 19 each with Manish Pandey and Brathwaite and scored 24 runs individually. Although he took 29 deliveries to score those runs, the reason could be understood from the context of the match.
Kane Williamson: 4/10
Williamson looked ominous as he started off his innings with a flurry of boundaries. He raced to a score of 24 runs off just 14 deliveries in such tough batting conditions. However, Thakur got the better of him in the fourth over of their innings as the Kiwi skipper edged one to Dhoni behind the wickets.
Shakib Al Hasan: 3/10
Shakib walked out to bat with a positive intent and fetched a couple of boundaries right at the start. However, Bravo accounted for him as Shakib edged one to Dhoni behind the wickets. He bowled two overs later in the match and went for 20 runs. He was expensive especially in his second over.
Shreevats Goswami: 3/10
Goswami looked pretty good when he struck two boundaries in quick time early in the innings. However, he failed to counter the pace and bounce of Ngidi as he was out caught and bowled by him for just 12 runs.
MS Dhoni: 2/10
Dhoni tried his best to see off the bowling threats from the Sunrisers bowling unit. However, he was found out by Rashid, who unleashed a terrific googly to beat the Chennai skipper’s defense. The ball crashed straight on to the stumps and Dhoni was out after a 18-ball vigil of 9 runs.
Harbhajan Singh: 2/10
Harbhajan Singh didn't do his main job, which is bowling, as Dhoni didn't summon him to bowl at all. However, he had to bat and it required a valuable contribution from him to see his team through. Although he scored just a couple of runs after facing nine deliveries, the most important part was that he successfully negated Rashid Khan’s threat seeing off most of his deliveries.
Shikhar Dhawan: 1/10
Dhawan was in pretty good form coming into this match. However, the swinging and seaming conditions at Wankhede got the better of him as Chahar cleaned him up for a golden duck off the very first delivery of the innings.
Manish Pandey: 1/10
Pandey's torrid time this season continued. He succumbed for just 8 runs in this match and that too after facing 16 deliveries. He struggled to read the pace off the pitch throughout his stay at the crease and was ultimately out caught and bowled to Jadeja.
Shane Watson: 1/10
Shane Watson didn't bowl at all in this match. Moreover, he was dismissed for a duck by Bhuvneshwar right in the first over after the bowler set him up beautifully with a continuous mix of in and out swingers.
Ambati Rayudu: 1/10
Rayudu had been in sensational form with the bat in this tournament. However, he failed to trouble the scorers on Tuesday as he got dismissed for a golden duck by a beautiful yorker from Kaul.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor