Faf powers Chennai into 7th IPL final

Faf du Plessis  (AP)
Faf du Plessis (AP)

Mumbai - South Africa's Faf du Plessis smashed an unbeaten 67 to lead Chennai Super Kings into their record seventh Indian Premier League final with a thrilling two-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday.

Chasing 140 for victory, Chennai were in a shambles at 62-6 when Du Plessis stepped up with his 42-ball blitz that made the two-time champions achieve their target with five balls to spare in the first qualifier in Mumbai.

Du Plessis hit five fours and four sixes to propel Chennai, who returned this season after a two-year corruption ban along with Rajasthan Royals, into the final.

Three-time trophy holders Mumbai Indians, who bowed out in the league stage, have been involved in four title clashes since the popular league started in 2008.

Du Plessis, who opened the batting with Shane Watson (0), put on a crucial 27-run unbeaten stand with tailender Shardul Thakur, who made 15 off five balls.

Paceman Dwayne Bravo set up the win with impressive bowling figures of 2 for 25 to restrict Hyderabad to 139-7.

Fast bowler Siddarth Kaul and Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan then picked up two wickets each to dent Chennai's chase but Du Plessis absorbed the pressure and finished the game with a six.

Medium-pace bowler Sandeep Sharma also got two wickets.

Earlier, 2016 winners Hyderabad - who topped the league table in this edition - faltered after being put into bat first despite a 29-ball unbeaten 43 from Carlos Brathwaite.

After losing their openers quickly, skipper Kane Williamson made a 15-ball 24 to lead this season's IPL batting chart with 685 runs before walking back to the dugout.

The 34-year-old Bravo got two important wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan, who was spectacularly caught and bowled by the West Indian allrounder.

Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Royals in the eliminator on Wednesday in Kolkata.

The IPL final is on May 27 at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium with $4 million going to the winner.

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