MS Dhoni’s side will come up against familiar foes in Mumbai Indians in the showpiece event on Sunday after fifties from opening pair Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson helped chase down a target of 148 in Visakhapatnam.
Having elected to bowl, Dwayne Bravo led the way with figures of 2-19 in his four overs while the likes of Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja also picked up two wickets each.
Only Rishabh Pant looked likely to deliver for Delhi and top-scored with 38 off 25 deliveries.
After a slow start to Chennai’s innings, Du Plessis, who made 50 off 39 balls, went on the front foot and Watson soon followed.
The duo’s efforts at the top of the order made for a comfortable victory with Ambati Rayudu’s unbeaten 20 steering the side home with an over and six wickets to spare.
DHAWAN DONE BY SPIN AGAIN
Despite finding some form in the second half of the season, Dhawan has been troubled by spin throughout the tournament and Friday was no different. The opener has struggled to pick the spinners and has been dismissed by one eight times in IPL 2019.
Dhawan is in particular discomfort when the turn is away from him and so when Harbhajan Singh was introduced into the attack as early as the fourth over, the only question was – why didn’t he bowl the second?
The veteran off-spinner has always been comfortable with the new ball and had dismissed Dhawan just nine days earlier in the penultimate round of the league phase. Once again, the left-handed batsman was unable to read the turn and was caught behind trying to cut the wrong ‘un.
It was only the second ball he faced against Harbhajan.
The scorecard makes good reading for Watson. Having scored 50 off just 32 balls, it would appear he even overshadowed his opening partner Du Plessis. In reality though, this was another in a long line of streaky knocks from the Australian this season. Even his 96 earlier in the season was littered by a few lucky breaks.
It was only his second half-century of the campaign at the 16th time of asking with his average of 19.87 speaking volumes. Early on, while Du Plessis was racing to his 50, Watson was struggling to reach double figures.
Eventually, he had to accelerate and when batting on 17 in the ninth over, his slog against Amit Mishra went straight up only to fortuitously fall in no-man’s land.
Yes, he did manage to connect well with a few attempts, against Kheemo Paul in particular, but those shots only served to paper over the cracks.
Watson remains a batsman desperately out of form and those expecting a repeat of his 2018 final heroics, when he scored an unbeaten 117 off 57 balls, in this edition are likely to be left disappointed.
CSK’s victory sets up another mouth-watering clash against the two titans of the Indian Premier League. The final in Hyderabad will be the fourth time Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians face-off in the showpiece event.
At this point, clashes between the two sides have become iconic. Mumbai have beaten Chennai twice in the finals if 2013 and 2015 after Dhoni’s side had drawn first blood in 2010. Both have three titles to their names and will battle on Sunday for the right to be recognised as the most successful side in IPL history.
The fact that Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai side have beaten CSK three times already this season – both league matches and Qualifier 1 – only makes this encounter all the more enticing.
It’s the battle between youth and experience as defending champions Chennai Super Kings take on a revamped Delhi Capitals in the second IPL 2019 Qualifier in Vizag on Friday.
The winner of this clash will battle Mumbai Indians in the final on Sunday. Needless to say, the stakes are high for both teams with the ageing Chennai side fighting to preserve their unique T20 style and the exciting group of Delhi youngsters aiming to topple the veterans.
Who will come out on top? Catch the updates below.
A first ever Indian Premier League (IPL) final appearance is in sight for young Delhi Capitals but they must first navigate past defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the second Qualifier set to take place in Vizag on Friday.
Three-time champions Chennai will get a second bite at the cherry following their loss to Mumbai Indians in the first Qualifier while Delhi come into the game on a high following a nerve-wracking win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator.
MOMENTUM FIRMLY WITH DELHI
Although Chennai have had the upper hand over Shreyas Iyer’s men in the league stage with two victories in as many games, it is Delhi who arrive at the second Qualifier with the momentum firmly on their side.
Despite being the first team to qualify for the 2019 IPL play-offs, Chennai have lost their aura of invincibility with three defeats in four matches. Their sole victory in that period came in an 80-run win over Delhi but MS Dhoni and his men have ended up on the losing side twice against Mumbai Indians and once against Kings XI Punjab.
Delhi, on the other hand, are flying despite their late hiccup in the Eliminator triumph over Sunrisers Hyderabad. Iyer’s men have now won five of their last six outings with the loss to CSK being the only blip in their fine run.
PRESSURE RISING ON CSK’S VETERANS AS DELHI SHOW FRAILTIES OF YOUTH
It will be a clash of experience versus youth as Chennai’s veteran campaigners take on a Delhi side brimming with youngsters.
Delhi’s young squad has showed the vulnerability of youth with the way they have struggled to close off matches with the bat. It was once again evident in the Eliminator on Wednesday where Delhi nearly botched up a straightforward chase before winning the match off the penultimate ball.
Crumbling under pressure while chasing is a bad habit that has plagued Delhi’s youngsters throughout the tournament and it is one that could prove costly in a knock-out clash.
Be that as it may, Chennai’s veteran campaigners haven’t really covered themselves in glory with skipper MS Dhoni making his frustrations clear with the top-order batsmen following his side’s defeat to Mumbai in the first Qualifier.
One of the men under pressure is opener Shane Watson who is averaging a meagre 17 in the tournament and was guilty of throwing his wicket away to a rash shot in the first Qualifier.
Delhi and Chennai’s bowling units have been more than formidable over the course of the IPL but there are clearly issues in the batting department for both sides which could be exploited.
CSK’s STELLAR PLAY-OFF RECORD
While Delhi are chasing their maiden IPL final appearance, their opponents have been there and done that plenty of times over the course of the tournament’s history.
The loss to Mumbai in Qualifier 1 was a rarity for Dhoni’s men who have developed a penchant of always going deep into the competition. In their previous nine editions of the IPL, Chennai have qualified for the play-offs on each occasion.
In those nine editions, only twice has the franchise failed to reach the final which is a staggering achievement in its own right. Dhoni’s men have made a record seven final appearances previously and the experience of playing in those should hold them in good stead.
Chennai Super Kings: Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c and wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir.
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Colin Munro, Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma.