South African skipper Faf du Plessis pulled off a 'Houdini Act' to guide Chennai Super Kings to their seventh Indian Premier League final with a two-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in what has been a fairy tale comeback in the cash-rich league.
Effective seam bowling in Powerplay overs swung the game towards two-time champions early on in the innings and they never let it slacken except towards the end when Carlos Brathwaite (43 off 29 balls) laid into Shardul Thakur.
At 34 for two Sunrisers, who came into the play-off game after suffering three straight losses, were in trouble and it worsened when they lost their skipper Williamson. The New Zealand captain feathered a catch down leg-side ball off Shardul Thakur to rival captain Dhoni to leave Hyderabad reeling at 36 for 3 in the fifth over.
Shakib Al Hasan also fell to a leg-side catch by Dhoni off Dwayne Bravo (2/25) and it left Sunrisers at a spot at 50 for 4. After 10 overs, the score was a modest 64 for 4.
A late flurry from West Indian Brathwaite, who slammed Thakur for four huge sixes and a four in death overs, boosted the total significantly.
With 43 needing off last three overs, Du Plessis, who opened the batting, launched into Carlos Brathwaite's 18th over smashing him for 20 runs which included two sixes and two fours. Having done precious little in the tournament so far, the stylish right-hander put his hand up when it mattered most.
Siddarth Kaul bowling the 19th over paid for his inexperience in crunch game as 17 runs came off that over as no 10 Shardul Thakur (15 off 5 balls) got three boundaries including a streaky one. Then it was Du Plessis, who finished the match having hit five fours and four maximums.