You just cannot keep CSK away from IPL finals. They find a way to get there eventually. The second qualifier had been a rather tame affair in that sense as Chennai Super Kings comprehensively defeated Delhi Capitals by 6 wickets with an over to spare on the back superb bowling and Faf and Watson’s fifties.
Winning yet another toss, MS Dhoni did not repeat the mistake in the first qualifier and chose to Bowl first. Shardul Thakur, who bowled just 1 over in the match, went for 13 in the second over. Chahar came back in the third over to get Prithwi Shaw. Harbhajan removed Shikhar Dhawan in the last over of the powerplay. Chennai kept picking wickets regularly and never let the run-rate shoot. From 3 for 75 they reduced Delhi to 137 for 9. They seemed to have worked out a plan against Pant – slower and far outside off. Harbhajan leaked 16 runs in the last over which helped Delhi to get to 147. Still way below par.
Chasing 148, Faf and Watson looked uncomfortable at the start of their innings. They survived a horrible mix-up and took their time as there was no scoreboard pressure. Faf then started to accelerate from the 4th over. By the powerplay CSK for 48 for no loss. In the next 4 overs, CSK got another 33 runs and by the halfway stage they were going at more than 8 runs per over; more than the asking rate. When Du Plessis got out in the 11th over CSK needed just 67 from 58 deliveries. Watson then came into his own and scored a confidence-boosting half-century. CSK eventually got over the line on the last ball of the 19th over.
Four Chennai bowlers got 2 wickets each. Dwayne Bravo was the peak of the bowlers conceding just 19 four picking up two wickets. Chahar, Harbhajan, and Jadeja picked 2 wickets each. Both Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson scored exactly 50 at decent strike rate. Rayudu played a steady hand on 20 not-out off 20 deliveries to see CSK through for yet another IPL final.
After an absolutely stunning season, Delhi Capitals needed just one win to reach the finals. It was their bad luck that the match was against CSK who are used to getting to the finals. CSK played like the pros they are and Delhi got eliminated from the IPLs. So near yet so far. However, Delhi can take a deep breath and pat themselves for the way they performed this season.
Losing the toss and being asked to bat first, Delhi started well scoring 21 in the first two overs. However, as soon as Prithvi Shaw got out in the third over, Delhi lost the momentum against accurate CSK bowlers. At the halfway stage Delhi were 68 for 3. With Pant and Iyer, two of their best batsmen at the crease. Despite, Delhi could muster just 79 in the last 10 overs including 16 in the last over thanks to an unlikely 4 and 6 of the only two balls faced by Ishant Sharma.
Defending 147, Delhi were accurate at the start of the innings but once Du Plessis and Watson got going, Delhi could do little to stop them. From the 4th over onwards Delhi never looked like winning this one and eventually lost the match in the 19th over.
Rishabh Pant top-scored for Delhi with 38 off 25 deliveries at the strike rate of above 150. Colin Munro's 27 off 24 deliveries was the second-best effort with the bat. Iyer and Dhawan got starts but could not capitalize. Four Delhi bowlers got one wicket each but none could bowl a match impacting spell leading Delhi to end their season just before the finals.
Delhi Capitals played their last game of the season when they lost the second qualifier against Chennai Super Kings. They would not be too unhappy with this season and would be keen to build on this team to go for the glory in the next season.
Chennai will be gearing up for yet another IPL final against Mumbai Indians on 12th May 2019. Chennai is yet to win a game against Mumbai Indians this season but if there is any team that can ignore such stats is Chennai Super Kings. They know they are due to a better game against Mumbai. Chennai looked settled against Delhi Capitals and the comfort with which they have won the second qualifier must have boosted their confidence.
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