IPL 2021: Gaikwad and Uthappa power Chennai to final
Ruturaj Gaikwad of Chennai Super Kings smashing a six during Qualifier 1 against Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League in Dubai on October 10, 2021BCCI/IPL

IPL 2021: Gaikwad and Uthappa power Chennai to final

Dubai, October 10, 2021

Ruturaj Gaikwad (70 off 50 balls) and Robin Uthappa (63 off 44 balls) played important knocks to power Chennai Super Kings to a four-wicket win over Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1 at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

With this win, the three-time champions enter their ninth final in the tournament. It was also Chennai's first win against Delhi after four losses in a row in the IPL.

Chasing 173 for a win, Chennai were given an early jolt as Anrich Nortje bowled Faf du Plessis through the gate on the fourth ball of the innings.

Uthappa, promoted surprisingly, got off the mark with a drive through covers before welcoming Avesh Khan in the next over with a boundary.

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, inclusive of two fours over mid-wicket and mid-off apart from as many sixes over long-on.

Delhi pulled things back by drying the boundaries in four overs after power-play. But Gaikwad and Uthappa kept the scoreboard ticking with the latter reaching his half-century in 35 balls. Gaikwad hit Patel for a four and six over his head in the 11th over. 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 Shardu' Thakur's promotion to four ended in holing out to long-on. In the next over, Ambati Rayudu was run-out as Iyer fired in a throw from long-on which Rabada collected quickly to whip off the bails.

Despite the quick wickets, Gaikwad continued to march on with a boundary off Khan before taking two fours off Nortje in the next ove'. Gaikwad's knock ended at 70 as he swung hard, only for deep mid-wicket to take a brilliant diving catch in the 19th over. 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 over extra cover followed by an inner edge running through fine leg. Dhoni finished off the chase in style with a pull through mid-wicket, giving his team a spot in the final.

Earlier, Prithvi Shaw (60) gave a flying start before Shimron Hetmyer (37) and Rishabh Pant (51 not out) carried Delhi Capitals to 172/5 in their 20 overs.

Delhi were 80/4 in 10.2 overs before Hetmyer and Pant staged an excellent recovery, helping the team reach a competitive total against Chennai Super Kings.

Pushed into batting first, Delhi reached 51/2 in power-play, 43 of which came off Shaw's bat off just 19 balls. Shaw began with two top-edge boundaries off Josh Hazlewood in the second over. He 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 next ball, the Aussie pacer got Dhawan (7) to nick behind on a seaming-away delivery. But there was no stopping Shaw as he hit two sixes over mid-wicket and down the ground off Shardul Thakur. Thakur almost had Shaw out on 42 as 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, holing 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.

Hetmyer and Pant shared an 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 10-13. 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 beyond 170.

Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 172/5 in 20 overs (Prithvi Shaw 60, Rishabh Pant 51 not out, Josh Hazlewood 2/29, Ravindra Jadeja 1/23) lost to Chennai Super Kings 173/6 in 19.4 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 70, Robin Uthappa 63, Tom Curran 3/29, Anrich Nortje 1/31) by four wickets.

IANS

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