Faf du Plessis aggregated just 85 runs in four innings in the league stage. Sam Billings’ tapering form led to the South African captain being called back in to the side for the crucial Qualifier 1 clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
At the post match presentation, MS Dhoni was awarded the ‘Nahi Soch’ award for bringing Faf into the side. And the move led Chennai Super Kings to their seventh IPL final with a thrilling two-wicket win on Tuesday. The 33-year-old led the comeback from 92/7 with an unbeaten 67 under pressure, sealing the victory with a six in the final over.
“Faf’s innings, is where experience counts,” Dhoni said hailing Faf’s performance at the post-match presentation. “It’s not easy when you don’t play a lot of games but I always say you need to train your mind as well. That’s where the experience comes in. You visualise what your role is, how you can contribute and Faf has been brilliant.”
Dhoni said that one good thing was that they would have had a second chance even if they would have lost.
“I am always happy when we win. Being in the top two gives us that liberty to have one more game,” Dhoni says.
“If we would have lost, you still give yourself a second chance. They bowled very well, and there was a bit in it for the fast bowlers. Bhuvi bowled well, backed up well by Rashid. We kept losing wickets, and so we had to push ourselves. Losing three-four wickets in the middle always puts you on pressure. Plus, they have a mystery bowler (Rashid),” he added.
Super Kings now await the winner of Qualifier 2, which is to be played on Friday (May 25). Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals will battle it out on Wednesday (May 23) to determine who will play Sunrisers Hyderabad for a place in the final on Sunday (May 27).