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IPL 2018: Qualifier 1, SRH vs CSK- Who Said What

Chennai move to the final; Sunrisers await the winner of the Eliminator.

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis of Chennai Super Kings in action. (Photo by IANS)

The odds were somewhat stacked against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on the eve of their contest versus the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Qualifier 1 of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL). The match turned out to be a humdinger and went right down to the last over. In the end, it was CSK who romped home by two wickets and qualified for the final of the mega event.

Sunrisers scramble

MS Dhoni won the toss and elected bowl first on what seemed like a slow surface. Chennai had a dream start as Deepak Chahar rattled Shikhar Dhawan’s timber in his very first ball. Shreevats Goswami spanked a couple of boundaries, but couldn’t counter the pace and bounce of Lungi Ngidi. Kane Williamson looked good for his brief knock of 24 runs but was dismissed by Shardul Thakur.

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Manish Pandey had a torrid time in the middle and his vigil was ended by Ravindra Jadeja. Dwayne Bravo also had an excellent day as he picked up a couple of wickets and took a stunning catch of his own bowling to get rid of Yusuf Pathan. SRH found themselves in utter shambles having scored 88 runs in 15 overs. It eventually required Carlos Brathwaite’s 43 runs to get the Sunrisers to 139 runs after 20 overs.

Chennai hold nerves

Chennai got off to a horrendous start as Shane Watson was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first over. Suresh Raina played some gorgeous strokes but fell prey to Siddarth Kaul. The pacer delivered a body blow as Ambati Rayudu played around a full-length ball only to see his stumps shattered. MS Dhoni looked hapless and was foxed by Rashid Khan’s wrong’un that ripped past his bat and pad to cannon into the stumps. Dwayne Bravo became Rashid’s second victim.

Ravindra Jadeja and Deepak Chahar couldn’t survive the venom spewed by the bowlers and they were nipped out by Sandeep Sharma. Harbhajan Singh played seven dot balls and that wasn’t helping CSK’s cause to trace down the target. At the other end, Faf du Plessis looked calm and brought up his maiden half-century of the event. However, it required a blitz from Shardul Thakur to get Chennai home.

MS Dhoni, the skipper of the Chennai Super Kings, said

I’m always happy whenever we win a game. Process is more important. Being in top two gives more liberty of having one more game. If we would’ve lost this game, still you give yourself a second chance. They bowled very well. There was a bit for the fast bowlers initially. Bhuvi bowled really well and he was backed up well by Rashid.

We kept losing wickets, for that reason also we had to keep pushing ourselves to get the number of runs needed. We lost three-four in the middle and that put pressure. Obviously they have a mystery bowler. Good to win games like this. But what’s important is to learn out of this game.

It’s about constantly improving. This is the best combination that we have got. And right from the first game we’ve used different bowlers in different ways to find out who is the best bowler at the end. You have to keep shuffling them to see who can see a good job for me. They will get hit at some point of time. These are the bowlers, and our bowlers, who were playing this game. They will have to step up in the final.

That’s where experience counts (talking about du Plessis). It’s not easy not to get games during the IPL. I’ve always felt you need to train the mind more than the body. Injuries can happen anytime. That’s where experience counts. He’s been brilliant. He batted really well. Hopefully he can continue this in the final also.

We’ve been a very good team and it reflects when it comes to the IPL. It reflects the dressing room atmosphere we’ve been able to create. It’s not possible without that. Credit goes to management, support staff and players.

Even if one of them is lacking you can’t have a good dressing room atmosphere. If atmosphere is not great, it becomes difficult to perform. Somehow we’ve been able to push the players into thinking about what’s good for the team.

Player of the Match, Faf du Plessis, said

It’s nice to make a contribution tonight. Haven’t played much. Last night when I was preparing, I reflected on the games I’ve played here in Mumbai. It’s a stadium I’ve enjoyed playing. Took confidence from that.

I just got in the change room now and said, how did we win that game. It felt just a little out of reach. It was great that guys came in and hit a few boundaries at the end. Everything went our way towards the end on a wicket which wasn’t easy to bat on.

Rashid Khan was a handful on that wicket. He was really really tough to play on that wicket. It stopped a bit on that wicket and he bowls quickly. It’s hard to take him on. Our plan was to get through him. And see which bowler to take down on the night. Towards the end I was just trying to place a few.

Kane Williamson, the skipper of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, said

Trip to Kolkata now should be interesting. It was a good game of cricket, but if we are honest with ourselves, we were a few runs short with the bat. It was definitely not a 140 wicket. It was a decent wicket and we would have liked 20 more.

Saying that, the game swung back our way, the bowlers were outstanding only didn’t execute (in the death) as we have in the past. Now we have to do some hard work in Kolkata to come back here. We certainly back our death bowlers in that position.

Most times we would defend that total, but credit to the CSK lower order. They bat a long way down and they kept us under pressure. It is rough being on the other side of close ones, but we have been on the right side a number of times this year.

It is important that we learn from this experience. Yeah they do (bat deep). The odd nick and the odd this and that in a low scoring game those count for a lot. At the same time Faf played a beautiful knock for them. We are getting closer (to beating CSK). It would be great to be back here, but one game at a time.

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