Mahendra Singh Dhoni hailed Faf du Plessis's experience after the South Africa captain, who had played just four matches in IPL XI going into Tuesday's Qualifier I at the Wankhede, hit an unbeaten 67 that took Chennai Super Kings to the final.
"Right from the first game we've used different bowlers in different ways to find out who is the best bowler at the end..." At the end of 13 overs, the South African was 21 from 24 balls, when he decided the moment had come for him to step on the accelerator; he then added 46 runs in 18 balls to guide his team to a win. Both the sides have been phenomenal with an all-round performance in this season and have won nine games each. "Sometimes it's also dumb luck", he added. Shardul Thakur came in for tap - he conceded 17 runs in the 18thover & 20 runs in the 20th over - and finished figures of 4-0-50-1.
The New Zealand captain feathered a catch down leg-side ball off Shardul Thakur to rival captain Dhoni to leave Hyderabad reeling at 36 for 3 in the fifth over.
The way Hyderabad fought back was symbolic of the character they have shown through the season, having built a reputation of successfully defending low totals. Fleming said that while the pitch did offer turn, Rashid was a handful in any conditions. The in-form Ambati Rayudu was cleaned up by a flawless yorker the very next ball, and four overs later MS Dhoni was castled by a Rashid Khan googly.
Given Ambati Rayudu's form at the top and the need of the hour - be it a power hitter in the middle or an extra bowler for the death overs - the Chennai think tank opted for Sam Billings or David Willey in most matches forcing du Plessis to sit in the dugout. He walked out to bat in the 12th over when his team had lost five wickets with just 69 runs on the board, and took his time to settle down.
After maneuvering past a Carlos Brathwaite over, Rashid Khan came into the attack and bowled one of the best deliveries in this edition of the IPL to send the CSK skipper back to the pavilion. Williamson said in the post-match press conference. "Credit to the way Faf batted". After that, the bowlers bowled either short or back of the length to deny Hyderabad any easy scoring opportunities. So, the two of them have provided opportunities to take wickets.
With Deepak Chahar proving his innings against Punjab was no fluke, the equations started to get slightly skewed in Chennai's favour but a hugely-disputed catch from Brathwaite off Sharma's bowling saw Chennai tottering at 92/7 after 15 overs.
"They (Sunrisers) bowled very well, and there was a bit for the fast bowlers on the pitch".
"If the atmosphere is not good, it becomes hard to perform and players go to different directions".