THE 39-year-old Michael Hussey produced a composed half-century and MS Dhoni demonstrated his superb finishing skills to power two-time Indian Premier League champions the Chennai Super Kings into the final.
They overcame a sluggish start to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by three wickets in qualifier two at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi last night.
The left-arm swing bowler Ashish Nehra nipped out 3-28 to limit Bangalore to 139 for eight.
Ravi Ashwin clipped Harshal Patel to square leg off the penultimate delivery of the match to steer Chennai to 140 for seven in reply.
Chennai will meet the Mumbai Indians in the IPL final in Kolkota on Sunday.
Hussey struck 56 off 46 balls with three fours and two sixes to take Chennai to within striking distance of the target.
Dhoni contributed a composed 26 off 29 balls before he was caught behind off Patel in the final over.
The left-hander Hussey kept his composure and led Chennai’s batting assault after a double-strike by the legspinner Yusvendra Chahal had left Chennai on 62 for three at the halfway-mark.
The Australian shared in a 47-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Dhoni.
The diminutive Pawan Negi’s hammered 14 in the 18th over off Patel to take Chennai to the brink.
There was some late drama in the penultimate over.
Negi was run out for 12 and Mitchell Starc bowled Dwayne Bravo for a duck to leave Chennai with five runs for victory in the 20th over.
Chennai lost two high-profile batsmen, Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina, in the 10th over.
Du Plessis was bowled around his legs after attempting a fine sweep, while Raina’s ambitious off-drive found David Wiese on the ropes off Chahal.
Hussey and MS Dhoni were circumspect in steering Chennai to 91 for three after 15 overs. Everything hinged on the final five overs.
Hussey launched into Chahal in the 16th over by muscling two sixes to power Chennai to 106 for three.
David Wiese struck in the 17th over by removing Hussey off a failed pull-shot for 56 off 46 balls as Chennai were reduced to 108 for four.
Bangalore created early opportunities for run-outs in the field. Sloppy throws as well as dropped chances by Chris Gayle and the wicketkeeper, Dinesh Karthik, denied them wickets.
The dew factor at the JSCA International Stadium Complex was a frustrating inconvenience for the RCB fielders.
Chahal took 2-28, while Starc finished with 1-27. Wiese captured 1-30.
In hindsight, Bangalore would have regretted their poor start which left them on 51 for three after 11 overs.
Nehra produced a double strike in the fifth over which removed the master batsmen Virat Kohli for 12 and AB de Villiers for one.
Ashwin impressed with his 1-13 in four overs. The seam bowler Mohit Sharma finished with 1-22 and hardly strayed.
Hussey pulled off a blinder to catch Mandeep Singh at backward square off Ashwin for four to limit Bangalore to 36 for three.
Good contributions in trying dry conditions from Gayle, Karthik and the 17-year-old Sarfaraz Khan helped Bangalore to break the shackles.
Gayle managed 41 off 43 balls before he attempted a third six in a Suresh Raina over and was caught by the bowler.
Karthik scored a measured 28 off 27 balls and Khan struck 31 off 21 balls with four boundaries as the final five overs yielded 49 runs.
The experienced Dhoni used four spinners to deny Bangalore pace on a slow pitch.