The Chennai Super Kings reached an unprecedented sixth IPL final on Friday, as they edged out the Royal Challengers Bangalore by three wickets in Ranchi to set up a showdown with the Mumbai Indians.
RCB, hoping to reach a third final and go one step closer to a first ever IPL crown, were put into bat first and struggled to 139-8 as AB de Villiers only managed a solitary run, before veteran Michael Hussey rolled back the years. The Australian, who turns 40 next week, smashed 56.
RCB got off to a sluggish start as the usually explosive pair of skipper Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle struggled to lift the run-rate above six an over. The pressure eventually told as Kohli departed the tournament for 12. De Villiers fell five balls later.
De Villier’s partner in crime in the previous match Mandeep Singh also couldn’t match his exploits to walk back for just four. Dinesh Karthik and Gayle then manufactured 44, but Gayle, despite clearing the rope on three occasions, scored 41 off 43 before hitting one back to Suresh Raina.
A strong finish saved RCB thanks to cameos from Sarfaraz Khan and David Wiese, leaving CSK with 140 to chase down.
Dwayne Smith provided a one-man show at first as the Super Kings got off to a brisk start. He would be the first to go for 17, however, before Faf du Plessis and Hussey put together 40. Du Plessis struggled to gather any momentum, and he would eventually perish for 21 off 22 balls. Raina fell two balls later as RCB got themselves right back into the contest.
Doha however, as he has done countless times in his career, got his side to the finish line. With one run to win he edged one behind with two balls remaining, but Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed the winning single.