13 runs were needed off the last over and Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni was at the crease. Criticised during this IPL 2021 for his poor batting form, the former Indian skipper stepped up and smashed the winning runs to make CSK the first team to enter the final of IPL 2021.
Chasing Delhi's score of 172/5, Chennai reached 173/6 with two balls to spare but not without a little scare in the middle after the team lost three wickets in a matter of 7 deliveries. Robin Uthappa, Shardul Thakur and Ambati Rayudu fell in quick succession as the team went from 112/1 to 119/4 after 14.4 overs.
Ruturaj Gaikwad guided most of the chase but when he fell on 70 on the first ball of the 19th over, MS Dhoni walked out to bat with the team needing 23 runs from 11 balls. There were nerves in the end, but the match ended with a boundary of MSD's bat.
Despite the defeat, Delhi are not out of the running for a spot in the final as they next play the winner of the Eliminator on Monday night between RCB and KKR.
Two Fifties in CSK's Chase
Ruturaj Gaikwad (70 off 50 balls) and Robin Uthappa (63 off 44 balls) played important knocks before MS Dhoni (18 not out off six balls) helped Chennai Super Kings cross the finish line.
The target of 173 seemed tough as Anrich Nortje bowled Faf du Plessis through the gate on the fourth ball of the innings. Robin Uthappa, promoted to one-down ahead of Ambati Rauydu, got off the mark with a drive through covers before welcoming Avesh Khan in the next over with a boundary. Ruturaj Gaikwad welcomed Kagiso Rabada in the fourth over by charging down the pitch and slamming a straight six. Uthappa followed it up with a flick off Rabada before taking 20 runs off Khan in the final over of power-play.
Delhi pulled things back by drying up the boundaries in the four overs after power-play but Gaikwad and Uthappa kept the scoreboard ticking with the latter reaching his half-century in 35 balls. Gaikwad took Patel for a four and six over his head in the 11th over and Uthappa went after Ravichandran Ashwin in the next over, slamming him for back-to-back fours.
But Tom Curran broke the 110-run partnership in the 14th over, as Uthappa miscued the pull to be safely pouched by Shreyas Iyer at long-on after tossing the ball in the air. One brought two for Curran as Shardul Thakur's promotion to four ended in him holing out to long-on. In the next over, Rayudu was run-out as Iyer fired a throw from long-on which Rabada collected quickly to whip off the bails.
Gaikwad continued to march before finding deep mid-wicket in the 19th over off Khan. But Ali hit Khan for a four through backward point before Dhoni clobbered a six over deep mid-wicket to take 11 off the over.
With 13 needed off the final over, Ali mistimed a pull to deep square leg off Curran on the first ball. Dhoni then struck consecutive boundaries off Curran, slapping one over extra cover followed by an inner edge running through fine leg.
The CSK finished off the chase in style with a pull-through mid-wicket, giving his team a spot in the final.
Delhi Batted First, Posted 172
Earlier on Sunday, Dhoni had won the toss and elected to bowl first and Prithvi Shaw managed to give Delhi the most perfect of starts as they reached 51/2 after the powerplay, 43 runs of which came off Prithvi Shaw's bat, off just 19 balls.
Shaw began with two top-edge boundaries off Josh Hazlewood in the second over and then took the attack to Deepak Chahar in the next over, collecting four boundaries, with the most impressive of them a back-foot punch through the gap in point.
Shikhar Dhawan lifted Hazlewood for a boundary in his next over but on the very next ball, the Aussie pacer got Dhawan (7) to nick behind on a seaming-away delivery.
At the other end though, there was no stopping Shaw as he hit two sixes over mid-wicket and down the ground off Shardul Thakur in the fifth over. Thakur almost had Shaw out on 42 but MS Dhoni spilled a difficult one-handed catch to his right.
Hazlewood had his second wicket of the match as Shreyas Iyer (1) miscued a flick on the cross-seamer to cover point.
Shaw brought up his fifty in 27 balls with a cut through point followed by a sweep through the square on leg-side off Ravindra Jadeja.
Axar Patel's promotion at four didn't pay off as he holed out to long-on off Moeen Ali in the tenth over. In the next over, Jadeja ended Shaw's stay as the right-hander mistimed the loft to a diving long-off running to his left. The opener got out on 60 off 34 deliveries as Delhi's score read 79/3.
Hetmyer and Pant then shared a 83-run stand, off 50 balls, for the fifth wicket. The duo's partnership meant that Delhi regained rhythm which had slowed down in the overs 10 and 13. Dwayne Bravo separated the pair in 19th over as Hetmyer (37) mistimed pull to wide long-on.
Pant reached his fifty with a brace on the final ball as Delhi finished at 172/5