In their play-off game against Sunrisers on Tuesday, played between the top two teams in the group stages and with the winner going straight to the final, Fanie Du Plessis hit a match-winning 66* as CSK just got home chasing 140.
CSK collapsed to 66-6 in their reply and then needing 43 off the final two and a bit overs produced incredible hitting when all seemed lost, and Sunrisers’ record of defending low totals in improbable victories came to an end.
This season alone CSK have come from nowhere four times to win scoring 47 off 2.5 overs v Mumbai, 41 off 2.5 vs KKR, 44 off 2.4 vs RCB and now 43 off 2.1 v Sunrisers. Back in the IPL after their year-long suspension and with the core of their team intact for many years CSK are a formidable outfit. Two time IPL Champions, this will be their seventh IPL final. Such is their record that one commentator described the IPL as ‘A tournament where seven teams play to meet CSK in the final’
CSK are probably only a year or two away from their long running core breaking up. Watson, Bravo, Dhoni amongst others are all near the end of their careers but their depth in experience (Raina and Jadeja amongst them) and match-winners batting right down the order means they will go off favourites in this match, as has been the case all season
On a better pitch than the Eliminator game against Rajastan earlier in the week Sunrisers struggled up to 174 in the semi-fnal with ony late Rashid Khan hitting getting them to a reasonable total when earlier 150 looked unlikey. KKR are a dangerous batting side if their top order comes off. Lynn and the pinch hitter Narine play to get quick starts in the powerplay (67 and 66 in their two games versus Sunrisers this season in Powerplayers where the highest conceded by Hyderabad in the competition) and it was only with the introduction of spin, and Rashid in particular that the game began to turn
Outright prices for the game are CSK 8/11 and Sunrisers 11/10 and I regard odds against Sunrisers as attractive, especially with Rashid Khan in match-winning form