West Indies T20 vice-captain Nicholas Pooran has heaped praises on under pressure batsman Chris Gayle, insisting the veteran remains a valuable part of the team ahead of its attempted World Cup title defence.

The 42-year-old Gayle has found himself in the crosshairs of critics in recent months, with many insisting the player should have been overlooked in favour of younger talent.  The batsman'ss recent form will not have helped matters.  In the last year, Gayle has played a total of 16 matches, scored a total of 227 runs with an average of 17.46 and strike rate of 117.61, well down from his career average of 139.18.

Criticism of the batsman recently came to a head when he took exception to comments made by former fast bowler Curtly Ambrose who suggested that Gayle was not the same player he used to be.  Pooran is, however, certain of the value the player brings to the team.

“As much as everyone has questioned it, 14,000 runs doesn’t come about just like that.  Not many people know how to win T20 matches and T20 leagues and that sort of experience is invaluable,” Pooran told members of the media on Wednesday.

“The experience batting out in the middle, talking about intent, talking about taking on players when to go when not to go, you just don’t get experience like that,” he added.

“We are very happy to have him, even off the pitch he is someone who supports you 100 percent, someone who backs you 100 percent.  You talk about positivity, he is one of the most positive guys we have on the team, in the Caribbean.

“He’s a special human being.  Only when you play cricket with him or against him you’d know what it feels like to have him around.”

 

Marlon Samuels was an instrumental player in the West Indies ICC T20 World Cup triumphs in 2012 and 2016. In 2012, Samuels scored a 56-ball 78 that proved to be the foundation for the West Indies 137 for 6 that was good enough to defeat Sri Lanka by 36 runs.

Then in 2016, the outspoken Jamaican scored an unbeaten 85 from 66 balls to help the West Indies pull off a remarkable victory chasing down England’s 155 for 9.

Carlos Brathwaite stole the show at the end with his unbeaten 34 from just 10 balls and which included four consecutive sixes in the final over bowled by Ben Stokes, but it was Samuels who kept the West Indies in the game after they had stumbled to 107-6 and needing 49 from just 27 balls.

Samuels has since retired, but the West Indies might already have a replacement in their camp in the form of Roston Chase.

The lanky Barbadian believes he is the man to take over that very important role as the West Indies go in search of a third consecutive title.

“I see myself playing a similar role,” Chase said while speaking with the media from the West Indies training base in Dubai on Thursday.

“I played for the St Lucia franchise for the past two years where I come in mostly after the Powerplay and knock it around and pick up the ones and twos and the occasional boundary when the ball is in my area to score so it’s an easy role for me.

“I like that role and with the power-hitting guys that we have, my role is just to give them the strike and let them do their thing but if the ball is in my area I will put it away.”

Chase demonstrated as much during the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League in the summer when, after a slow start to the season, he was among the league's leading run-scorers with 446 runs. Those runs came at a remarkable average of 49.55 and strike rate of 144.33.

That success, he revealed, came as the result of an adjustment he made to the way he was playing.

“Early on in this year’s CPL, the pitches were a bit difficult. They had a lot of grass but the grass was kind of spongy. It wasn’t like even grass for the ball to slide on. The ball was bouncing a bit; that was a bit hard so I just thought that after the first couple of matches I was trying to go at the ball a bit too hard. It was a wicket that you needed time to get in first and then it became easier,” he explained.

“So that is what I told myself after the first couple of games, just give myself a bit of time at the crease and then let my stroke play take over from there.”

He might have to make another adjustment for the pitch in Dubai where the West Indies will open the defence of their title on October 23 against England.

“We’ve had three training sessions so far and basically, the pitches have been coming on pretty good. The only issue I see with the pitches is that they’re keeping low, so you probably have to stay low when you’re executing your shots and that should work but the pitches are coming on a lot nicer than the ones we usually get in the CPL, so it should be a bit easier to get some runs,” he said.

 

 

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran insists the team has looked to address well-noted concerns regarding the rotation of the strike but believes it is important to stick to its strengths, with the World Cup on the horizon.

Known internationally for their flamboyant, swashbuckling style, the Caribbean team will head into next week's tournament as defending champions.  However, despite having captured the global title on two occasions, questions have been raised in recent times regarding the team’s batting approach.

With a batting line-up filled with heavy hitters, the problematic issue stems from the tendency to soak up too many dot balls.  Pooran admits that it has been a focus but in the grand scheme of things the team intends to stay true to its style as it has delivered success in the past.

“We have net sessions and we as a group have spoken about it, we have players to play certain roles, honestly.  As a batting group, we want to get better, we want to improve, and getting singles is a part of that game as well, but our focus is not so much on singles,” Pooran told members of the media on Tuesday.

“We won two World Cups with the same problems, to be honest, not getting singles.  I don’t think the emphasis is so much on it, but on intent and playing smart cricket.  There are times that we know that will have to put our egos aside and grind for the team and if that means pushing a dot ball and getting singles, we’ll do that.”

Eoin Morgan hailed the pressure-free environment Kolkata Knight Riders have created after his side sneaked past Delhi Capitals to reach the Indian Premier League final.

The Knight Riders limited Rishabh Pant's side to 135-5 and seemed certain for victory after a 96-opening run stand from Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer.

However, a flurry of late wickets left Kolkata requiring seven to win off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over to secure their final berth and maintain their perfect chasing record since the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Rahul Tripathi stood up to the task, blasting Ashwin's fourth ball for six after the off-spinner had removed Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with consecutive deliveries to leave the score at 130-7.

And Morgan cited Wednesday's qualifier clash as an example of the freedom of expression that the Knight Riders' culture has created.

"It should've been a lot easier after the start we got, Venky [Venkatesh Iyer] and [Shubman] Gill set us the platform," Morgan said at the post-match presentations.

"But we're in the final and we're delighted to get over the line. Six off two [in the final over], the odds were probably in favour of the bowling side, but Rahul Tripathi has done superbly well for us.

"It's a nice insight into our team culture. The young guys coming in are feeling free to express themselves. The backroom staff have created an environment for them to do this."

Iyer was bumped up the order after the coronavirus-enforced delay and the two-time IPL champions have since won seven out of nine matches – winning four games in a row for the first time since the 2018 edition of the tournament.

However, Morgan refused to take credit for the top-order alteration as Iyer continues to thrive, blasting 320 runs in the competition across nine matches at an average of 40.

"The Iyer idea [his elevation] came from the coach, he's a terrific player," England and KKR's captain continued. "He made the chase easy, it looked like he was batting on a different wicket.

"With the squad we have, there's expectation. We would like to keep going and we are playing against Chennai Super Kings – one of the best franchises in IPL history – but anything can happen."

Kolkata Knight Riders secured their place in the Indian Premier League final with a last-gasp three-wicket win over the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2.

Eoin Morgan's side limited the Capitals to 135-5 from their 20-over allocation as Varun Chakravarthy (2-26) was ably supported by Lockie Ferguson (1-26) and Shivam Mavi (1-27).

Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Shreyas Iyer (30 not out) were the pick of the batsmen but the Capitals were left facing an uphill battle, knowing Kolkata had won on all five occasions they have chased following the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer then got the Knight Riders off to a flyer, forming a 96-run opening partnership as the former raced to a 38-ball half-century before falling to Kagiso Rabada (2-23).

The Capitals, who are the only side to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, managed to remove Nitish Rana (13) and Gill through Anrich Nortje (2-31) and Avesh Khan (1-22) respectively to leave the score at 125 after 16.4 overs.

Rabada knocked over experienced campaigner Dinesh Karthik (0) to further hamper the chase and when Morgan (0) followed in the same manner to Nortje, seven runs were required off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over.

Ashwin (2-27) conceded just one off his first two balls, removing Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with his following two, before Rahul Tripathi (12 not out) smashed a maximum to collect the Knight Riders' seventh win in their last nine matches with just one ball to spare.

The win means Morgan's team will meet MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in Friday's final as the Capitals fell before the showpiece once more.

Classy Chakravarthy

Chakravarthy may have overstepped and offered Shimron Heytmer a lifeline on just two, however, the Kolkata bowler escaped without too much punishment as the West Indian mustered just 15 more runs.

The 30-year-old was the only Knight Riders bowler to not concede a single maximum, delivering seven dot balls in an economical spell through the middle overs.

Nervy Narine

Narine was the man of the hour against the Royal Challengers Bangalore as he took 4-21 and blasted a 15-ball 26, but he failed to back up that heroic performance.

The KKR off-spinner went wicketless in his four-over allocation, conceding 27 runs before falling for a first-ball duck as he looked to launch his side to victory.

Nicholas Pooran said he is not worried about his form and expects to be back to scoring runs once the T20 World Cup begins later this month.

Apparently having had his fill of detractors questioning his selection to the West Indies 15-man squad for the ICC T20 World Cup later this month, Chris Gayle has reacted strongly and channelled his rage at Sir Curtly Ambrose, who has opined that he would not start the Universe Boss once the two-time champions begin their campaign for a third title.

Ever since the squad was named last month, West Indies selectors have come in for criticism for the selection of Gayle and other players like Darren Bravo, who was named among the reserves. Critics have also questioned why players like Sherfane Rutherford and Odean Smith were not selected given how well each performed during the 2021 Hero CPL tournament in St Kitts and Nevis.

However, amidst all of the criticism, Gayle has perhaps come in for the greatest criticism because of the absence of his explosive form that has made him arguably the most successful T20 batsman in the world.

Former West Indies fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose is among those questioning Gayle’s selection. However, with the Jamaican already in the squad, Ambrose did not believe Gayle should start for the West Indies when the tournament begins.

“No, he (Gayle) is not an automatic choice for me. The few home series (West Indies) just played, he had no scores of significance, and I have said before that if he did not do well in those home series, he should not go to the World Cup,” Ambrose reasoned while speaking on Mason and Guest talk show in Barbados last week.

“However, he will be at the World Cup, but for me, he is definitely not an automatic choice for starting… If he gets it going on the day, he can be destructive, but he has not done much in the last 18 months or so to really make me think he will set the World Cup alight.”

Responding to Ambrose’s criticisms, Gayle lashed out hard while speaking on The Island Tea Morning Show in St Kitts on Tuesday.

“I can tell you personally and you can let him know that Chris Gayle, the Universe Boss, have no respect for Curtly Ambrose whatsoever,” said Gayle, who accused the fast-bowling great of seeking attention.

“I am speaking about Curtly Ambrose. I am singling out Curtly Ambrose, one of your own. I highly respected him when I came into the West Indies team. When I just joined the team, I looked up to this man. But I am now speaking from my heart. I don’t know what, since he retired, what he had against Chris Gayle. Those negative things he has been saying within the press, I don’t know if he is looking for attention but he is getting the attention. So I am just giving back the attention which he requires and which he needs.”

Gayle continued: “We have won the tournament twice and we will be going for the third title. The team has seen what is happening. It is going to reflect on the team. If the past players continue being negative, I am Chris Gayle Universe Boss is going to be disrespectful, disrespectful verbally in their face. In the media as well. I am not going to take anything from any senior player. Curtly Ambrose pull your socks up, alright? Support for West Indies, ok? Support West Indies, that is the thing.”

The West Indies begin the defence of their title when they play England on October 23 in Dubai.

Josh Inglis says he would sacrifice any personal success if it meant Australia claim glory at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

The wicketkeeper has been called up to represent his country for the first time ahead of the first edition of this tournament for five years, with Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosting.

Uncapped, English-born Inglis has been tipped to play a key role for Australia and he was thrilled to get the call-up after a stunning run of form in domestic cricket.

"It was pure elation really," he said. "I was in the UK at the time, in The Hundred competition, so to get the call was amazing, gave me a huge boost, I'm just really proud.

"[A perfect tournament] looks like winning the World Cup. When you come to a tournament, your aim is to win, if you're thinking about personal success you're probably in the wrong game.

"I would be more than happy to score zero runs for the tournament and lift the trophy. Everyone wants success but the goal is to lift that trophy.

"There is probably not too much expectation on me so I don't think I can worry about that or the fact that I haven't got the international experience. 

"I've played against a lot of international players in the Blast and The Hundred, I can definitely lean on those. 

"Once you get into the heat of the battle, you just get into it and come back to what's natural to you. If given the opportunity, I'm really looking forward to that."

Inglis is yet to discuss his role with coach Justin Langer but believes he will bat in the middle order if given the chance to play.

He starred in the T20 Blast for Leicestershire this year, scoring the most runs (531) of any player in England's domestic T20 competition. 

Per Stats Perform data, Inglis scored a boundary once every 3.5 balls faced, the third most frequent of any player (min. six innings) in the campaign (behind Alex Hales – 3.2 and Will Jacks – 3.4). 

In that time, he hit 63 fours, a tournament high and almost double the tally of his next best team-mate (Arron Lilley – 32).

Only Hales had a higher strike rate of the top-five run tournament scorers than his 175.8

Asked if his form in England had given him a boost, Inglis added: "Absolutely. It was one of the reasons I was keen to get over there, to play in different conditions and test my game in different conditions. 

"As you see sometimes in the UK, with lots of cricket, the wickets do get a bit tired. 

"So playing on slower wickets over there, I can really take that to the World Cup and playing on some of the slower pitches here."

Inglis has also been a leading performer in the Big Bash League.

In the 2020-21 BBL, Inglis logged an Opta batting dot-ball percentage of just 26.8 per cent. Among players to face at least 60 balls in the most recent edition only Jordan Silk (23.9) had a better rate.

Across the last two BBL campaigns Inglis has the third-highest strike rate (146.6) of the 25 players to score 500+ runs.

Inglis' strength against spin has been cited as a key reason for his selection for the T20 tournament, which gets under way on Sunday with the first round.

"I really enjoy batting against spin," he added. "I see it as a good challenge to score off every ball and try and manipulate the field to where you want to get it.

"It's really good fun, really enjoy it and easier on flatter wickets. We'll see what the conditions will be like here, it's going to be a challenge going up against some of the best spinners in the world."

Australia begin their campaign against South Africa on October 23 in what will be the first match of the Super 12 stage.

West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard remains unsure regarding the extent to which a recent hamstring injury could affect star all-rounder Andre Russell for the World Cup but remains optimistic.

The 33-year-old big-hitter has been out of action since sustaining a Grade 2 hamstring tear last month.  Depending on the severity of the injury, the typical recovery time is said to run anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.  The player’s India Premier League (IPL) team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is hopeful of Russell returning in time to face the Delhi Capitals in Wednesday’s eliminator, having already missed three games.

However, the extent to which the player will fully recover in time for that match, or the start of next week’s World Cup remains a source for conjecture, already sparking concerns regarding potential workload.

“I can’t make any assumptions about what he can or cannot do at this point, we will need to make an assessment as a team,” Pollard told members of the media on Tuesday.

“We have not had the opportunity to see him.  We’ve gotten reports as to what he has done, but I would not want to get into trying to say what he can or can’t do at this point in time,” he added.

“We’ll judge from the assessment but he is a critical person for our team and we would love to have him 100 percent fit.”

 

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he remains unperturbed by the indifferent form of some players heading into the ICC T20 World Cup as there is still enough time to get things right.

With the start of the tournament just a few days away, there has been some concern raised regarding the form of a few of the team’s potential match-winners based on their performances in lead-up tournaments this year, most recently the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL).

Falling into that category and of primary concern would be the form of high-impact pair Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, whose IPL form this season best illustrates the point.  The duo set the IPL alight for Punjab Kings XI last season and such form would have been welcome heading into next week.

In 2020, Pooran played 14 matches scoring 353 runs at an average of 35.30, by comparison, the player’s most recent campaign has ended with 85 runs at an average of 7.72, in 12 games.  For Gayle, 2020 saw him score 288 runs and average a healthy 41.14 in 7 games, however, this time around he could only manage 193 runs at an average of 21.44 in 10 games. 

Pollard, however, believes players who might not be in form still have plenty of time to kick into gear for the global showpiece, where they will start as defending champions.

“If we look too much into the past, then that is where sometimes we get ourselves into trouble,” Pollard told members of the media on Tuesday.

“Let’s deal with what we have in the present, the guys that have confidence, roll with them, the guys that don’t we try to get them into that zone with some practice sessions,” he added.

“We have a couple more games and then the big one, which is the World Cup, so from a perspective of being concerned, I know when it comes to the international stage it is about personal pride and individuals will want to show what they have to offer.”

 

      

 

Sunil Narine played an inspirational role with the ball and then provided a boost with the bat as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore with two balls remaining to move to within one match of their first Indian Premier League final since 2014.

First, Narine (4-21) was essential in ensuring Bangalore could only set a modest target of 138 runs as he took a match-high four wickets, and then his arrival at the crease provided KKR with direction at just the right time as they ultimately reached 139-6.

Delhi Capitals await in the next round as they prepare to tussle for the right to face Chennai Super Kings in the final, marking an incredible turnaround in KKR's fortunes after winning only two of their first seven matches prior to the season's suspension in May.

Bangalore had initially looked in good shape as Virat Kohli (39) and Devdutt Padikkal (21) helped them to 49-0 after five overs, before the latter went to Lockie Ferguson at the start of the sixth.

They did not lose another wicket until Narine's first over in the 10th as he tempted Srikar Bharat to pick out Venkatesh Iyer. The same man then accounted for captain Kohli, who misjudged a delivery when going for a slog sweep, AB de Villiers (11) and Glenn Maxwell (15) to put KKR in complete control.

Shubman Gill (29) started the chase well, but KKR hit something of a rut and were 79-3 through 11 overs when Narine came in to again turn the tide.

Three sixes from the first three legal deliveries he faced on his way to 26 set KKR on course, even if RCB forced an intriguing finish when Mohammed Siraj claimed Narine and then Dinesh Karthik (10) in the 18th over.

Seven from Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al Hasan off four balls in the final over got the job done.

 

Narine the double threat

This was a wonderful showing from Narine, further highlighting the surprising nature of his omission from the West Indies squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. His four wickets were twice as many as anyone else, while RCB only took 21 runs from his deliveries. He then gave KKR the kick up the backside that they needed with the bat, initially getting 23 runs from just nine balls.

Christian taken for a ride

The main difference between these sides on the day, and Kohli accepted as much afterwards, was the bowling. Dan Christian may have only bowled 1.4 overs, but that was an exceptionally expensive cameo, costing 29 runs, the joint-most of the RCB bowlers.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has revealed that Chris Gayle will be entrusted with specific roles for the West Indies once the ICC T20 World Cup begins later this month.

 Gayle, 42, was a controversial pick for the West Indies selectors with detractors citing his prolonged poor form and age as factors why he should not have been selected. However, Windies selector said Gayle’s experience and leadership were intrinsic factors that made him an asset for the Caribbean side looking to win their third T20 world title on the trot, having won in 2012 and 2016.

During a media session from the United Arab Emirates on Monday, Simmons indicated that more will be asked of the Universe Boss in his final World Cup campaign.

“We have specific roles we have put on Chris and we trust that he is going to be ready and in form and having had a short rest from the game and from the bubble he is going to come back fresh and ready to do what we ask him to do,” Simmons said of Gayle, who left the IPL bubble last month citing bubble fatigue and the need to refresh himself for the world cup.

"Over the last few months, I have been a part of the CWI bubble, CPL bubble followed by the IPL bubble, and I wish to mentally recharge and refresh myself," Gayle said in a statement last month. "I want to refocus on helping the West Indies in the T20 World Cup and would like to take a break in Dubai. My thanks to the Punjab Kings for giving me the time off. My wishes and hopes are with the squad always. All the very best for the games coming up."

Over the past weekend, Gayle posted pictures on Instagram of him enjoying his time off, refreshing himself before returning to action in the world cup.

Gayle had a lukewarm turnout for the Punjab Kings in the 2021 IPL. In 10 matches, the Jamaican star scored 193 runs at an average of 21.85 and strike rate of 125.32. His best score for the Kings was 46.

England's players are "desperate" to travel to Australia for the Ashes after the five-match series was conditionally approved by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), says all-rounder Chris Woakes.

The ECB confirmed on Friday that the tour – due to start at The Gabba on December 8 – would go ahead "subject to several critical conditions" being met regarding travel, quarantine and 'bubble' arrangements.

Captain Joe Root and deputy Jos Buttler are among the players that had previously stated they were not ready to commit to the series due to uncertainty over COVID-19 restrictions.

But while still holding some reservations concerning the logistical side of the tour, Woakes is looking forward to travelling to Australia after being named in England's 17-man group on Sunday.

"There is no player that does not want to be part of the Ashes," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Behind the scenes there are still things being ironed out between all sorts of levels. I think the players are relatively relaxed and the guys are desperate to go.

"But we want to be under the best sort of conditions possible so we can still live our lives outside of cricket."

 

Woakes, who has made 39 Test appearances for England, is one of five players to have been named in both the Ashes and T20 World Cup squads.

While the focus is largely on the showdown with Australia, Woakes will not let that influence his preparations for the World Cup, which begins later this week.
 
"It's exciting that there is an Ashes series around the corner, but there is a small thing of the World Cup first, so obviously I have my eyes firmly on that," he told reporters.

"We have a T20 World Cup to focus on and prep for and as soon as that is done and dusted our attention will shift. 

"We have no choice – you don't want to get to the end of a World Cup and think 'I wasn’t fully engaged'.

"We have to give this our full attention – what is going on with the Ashes is on the back burner and with the people who are making the decisions, kind of dealing with that on our behalf. You can't get too fixated on that.

"It is important we focus on the here and now. It is a great opportunity to win some silverware for your country. The Ashes stuff will have to be parked."

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons says he is not concerned about the form of his vice-captain Nicholas Pooran as the team prepares to begin the defence of their ICC World T20 title later this month.

The West Indies, the only team to win the T20 title twice – in 2012 and 2016 – has seen their vice-captain struggle for form in the Indian Premier League where he batted in the middle order for the Punjab Kings with little success.

Coming off a fair campaign for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2021 Hero CPL where in 10 innings he scored 263 runs at an average of 32.88 and strike rate of 163.35, Pooran who turned 26 on October 2, has experienced a precipitous dip in form in the IPL.

In 11 innings for the Punjab Kings, Pooran has only managed to score 85 runs at an anaemic average and strike rate of 7.72 and 111.84, respectively, numbers that have even him concerned.

“Definitely not the IPL season I wanted but the opportunity to be tested both mentally and physically was a great experience, one to learn from very fast,” the Trinidadian posted on Instagram this past weekend.

However, Simmons expressed faith in the player’s ability to return to form in time for the world cup in the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies will open their campaign against England on October 23.

“I am not too worried about Nicholas. I think Nicholas has been batting well,” said the head coach during a media session from the UAE on Monday. “In the CPL, he played well, there was a lot of pressure on him there and there is going to be more pressure here but I think he has been working hard enough. He is doing all that he has to do and sometimes it doesn’t come off, but it will come off so I am not worried about him.”

Since the start of the CPL in August, Pooran has had one score of over 50 runs in T20 matches, and that was an unbeaten 75 against the Jamaica Tallawahs on September 10.

 

 

MS Dhoni produced an inspired final over as Chennai Super Kings defeated Delhi Capitals by four wickets in Dubai to book their place in the 2021 Indian Premier League final.

With CSK chasing 13 from the last six balls to snatch victory, the skipper hit three successive boundaries to book his side's place in the showpiece for a ninth time.

The three-time IPL winners arrived in Qualifier 1 at the Dubai International Stadium having lost each of their previous four meetings with the Capitals.

Table-toppers during the league stage, Prithvi Shaw (60) and skipper Rishabh Pant (51) led the way as the Capitals set a target of 172-5.

CSK surrendered top spot in the table after losing each of their final three matches of the regular season.

But despite losing Faf du Plessis for just one run, Ruturaj Gaikwad hit an impressive 70 from 50 balls – surpassing 600 for the season – while Robin Uthappa made further strides with a knock of 63.

It came down to the final over, which began with Moeen Ali caught out by Kagiso Rabada as Tom Curran claimed his third wicket from five deliveries.

But with Dhoni on strike, CSK did not look back; the veteran hitting three consecutive fours to send his side through to Friday's final.

The Capitals' hopes of reaching the showpiece are not over just yet as they return in Qualifier 2 on Wednesday to face the winner of Monday's eliminator between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders.


Dhoni delivers

Following Gaikwad's dismissal, Dhoni entered the action in the 19th over with his side requiring 24 from their final 11 balls.

And the 40-year-old shone on the big stage once again. On strike after Moeen was caught out, he delivered a captain's performance with three successive boundaries sealing victory with two balls remaining. 


600 up for Gaikwad

Gaikwad became only the second player to surpass 600 runs in this season’s IPL after KL Rahul of Punjab Kings.

The 24-year-old’s knock of 70 also makes him just the third CSK player to achieve the feat during a single campaign.

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