On this day in 2018: Faf du Plessis’ heroics propelled CSK into IPL final in their comeback season& |  Photo Credit: AP
- Faf du Plessis incredible solo effort powered CSK to victory over SRH in the first qualifier in IPL 2018
- Shardul Thakur’s cameo took CSK home in a nail-biting game
- CSK went onto win the final and seal their third title victory in their comeback after a two year suspension
Chennai Super Kings’ return to the Indian Premier League in 2018 was one of IPL’s most emotional moments. The MS Dhoni-led franchise has established itself as one of the tournament’s greatest teams with three titles to their name. Their supporters are arguably the most passionate fans of any team in the league. The sight of a packed Chepaul Stadium with fans dressed in yellow across the ground has become a sight that most cricket fans have fallen in love with.
For this reason, their suspension for the 2016 and 2017 seasons hurt many. With the team not featuring in action for two years and their players distributed across other teams, their fanbases across the globe were left heartbroken and devasted.
However, when they did return in 2018, it made for one big party. Their return to the field was an emotional sight for many and they made the perfect comeback as they snatched victory from jaws of defeat against Mumbai Indians in the opening encounter.
Veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo played an incredible knock of 68 off 30 balls to complete a one-wicket victory with one ball to spare. From that day, they never looked back as they dominated the league stage with nine wins in 14 games to finish second on the table
This set up an eye-watering first qualifier against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium on May 22, 2018. Dhoni’s men got a brilliant start with their pacers hurting Sunrisers Hyderabad’s top-order early in the innings.
Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur sent the in-form opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson back into the dressing room in the powerplay. Despite struggling for most of the innings, Carlos Braithwaite’s 29-ball 43 fired them to a respectable total of 139.
CSK’s chase began in a miserable fashion as they lost four wickets within the first eight overs. Despite Faf du Plessis’ best efforts, their batting unit crumbled with no one crossing the 20-mark except for Suresh Raina. However, du Plessis ensured he stays till the end on the crease and finished not-out for 67 in 42 balls.
It was arguably one of the most important innings in CSK’s IPL history as the South African did not let the pressure get the better of him in a massive game with the odds against him. He used his experience to take his side over the line. However, it was Shardul Thakur who made the difference as his cameo of 15 in just 5 balls ensured a two-wicket victory for MS Dhoni’s side.
These two teams met again in the final in Mumbai as a victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the second qualifier ensured a place in the final for Sunirsers Hyderabad. The Super Kings’ won the showpiece encounter by eight wickets with Shane Watson scoring a century to seal their third IPL title.