Mahendra Singh Dhoni hailed Faf du Plessis's experience after the South Africa captain, who had played just four matches in IPL XI going into Tuesday's Qualifier I at the Wankhede, hit an unbeaten 67 that took Chennai Super Kings to the final.
Catches win matches: Dwayne Bravo is a human highlight reel and the Mumbai crowd saw no different against Hyderabad. The opener kept on playing sensibly throughout even as no other batman clicked at the other end.
SRH will now face the winner of the Eliminator match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals in the Qualifier 2 match, the winner of which will face off with CSK to decide the winner of the 11th edition of the IPL. Du Plessis finished the match with a six down the ground on the first ball of the last over and led them to victory.
Bravo took an incredibly athletic catch to remove Yusuf Pathan after the Hyderabad batsman smashed a straight drive back at the Chennai allrounder. Suresh Raina played a few fluent strokes and raced to 22 from 12 balls before he was bowled behind his legs. It stopped a bit on that wicket and he bowls quickly. Rayudu's dismissal was largely due to poor shot selection as he misjudged a slow yorker only to see the ball crash into the base of middle and off-stump.
"The vision that the franchise had, of keeping experienced players, was something a lot of people questioned", du Plessis said.
But just when the duo started timing the ball well, leg-spinner Rashid Khand delivered one that turned the wrong way to dismiss Dhoni.More news: Assad Meets Putin in a Surprise Visit to Russian Federation
"Credit to the CSK lower order". But it failed as Dwayne Bravo (7), Ravindra Jadeja (3) and Deepak Chahar (10) went back to the pavilion in quick succession. With Chennai in deep trouble, Shardul Thakur gave some much needed impetus to the run rate with three boundaries off the five balls he faced.
Shardul Thakur, who took strike in the 19th over, atoned for his sins with the ball and shared the batting responsibilities with du Plessis to score a 5-ball 15 as Kumar was left to defend six runs off the final over with du Plessis on strike.
With Chennai needing six runs off the last over, du Plessis brought up the victory in style over the umpire's head off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's bowling.
Earlier New Zealand captain Williamson scored 24 runs for Hyderabad, who had the match in its grip until the 17th over with Chennai needing 43 runs and three wickets in hand. After returning to dots and singles for a brief while, he once exploded in the fourteenth when he collected a four and a six off consecutive deliveries off Shakib al Hasan.
For Du Plessis, reflecting on how he has played on the previous occasions in Mumbai helped him gain confidence as he went out to bat.