Suryakumar Yadav smashed an unbeaten half century and lifted Mumbai Indians to its fifth Indian Premier League final with a convincing six-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1 on Tuesday.
Yadav hit an unbeaten 71 off 54 balls with 10 boundaries as Mumbai reached 132-4 in 18.3 overs after Chennai struggled against the spinners and were restricted to 131-4.
Chennai, led by MS Dhoni, had its moment but Murali Vijay couldn't hold on to a tough catch at mid on when Yadav was on 11 before Mumbai's No. 3 batsman controlled the run-chase by dominating both spin and seam.
"You need to know the pitch at home, whether it's tacky, that is something we didn't do well," Dhoni said. "The batting needs to do slightly better. The top order has been on and off. They're the best we've got. You have to bank on experience. They have to use that experience slightly more. Hopefully, we crack the code next game."
Together with Ishan Kishan (28), Yadav shared an 80-run match-winning third-wicket stand after Mumbai lost its captain Rohit Sharma in the first over. Quinton de Kock left Mumbai struggling at 21-2 in the fourth over when he scooped a simple catch at wide long off.
But Yadav and Kishan batted resolutely before leg spinner Imran Tahir (2-33) plucked two wickets in two balls by having Kishan clean and then Krunal Pandya offered a tame return catch.
Earlier, after winning the toss and electing to bat, Chennai batting was pinned down by Mumbai's spinners.
Leg spinner Rahul Chahar (2-14) and left arm spinner Krunal Pandya (1-21) bowled economically up front and Jayant Yadav had Suresh Raina caught and bowled cheaply to restrict Chennai to 65-4 in 12 overs.
Ambati Rayudu (42 not out) Dhoni (37 not out) added 66 runs off 47 balls but the total always looked below par against a strong Mumbai batting lineup.
"It was a great effort and it's a great feeling to know we will be in the final. Three good days to switch off, it's a much-need break for us," Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma said. "When you restrict a team like that to less than 140, plans have to fall in place. Suryakumar is one of our best batsmen against spin ... this was the perfect pitch for him."
Chennai will have another chance to qualify for Sunday's final when it meets the winner of Wednesday's Eliminator between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.
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