Nobody, not even Dhoni, would have expected him to bowl 14 dot balls and return figures of 4-0-13-1. By then, du Plessis had moved to 38 off 31 balls. At 62/6, with 79 needed off 45, it was Hyderabad's game to lose.
CSK may have pulled off heist after heist in this tournament - and in the years past - but what were the odds of them getting 43 off 18 balls, against the best bowling line-up of this IPL?
In retrospect, the answer to that question is a cursory "duh", but du Plessis' selection was another case of Super Kings backing an out-of-form experienced player over an out-of-form youngster in Sam Billings.
Thakur too remained unbeaten and chipped in 15 off 5 hitting 3 fours. He read the slower ball from Bhuvneshwar and nailed it over his head to lead CSK into their seventh IPL final with five balls and two wickets to spare.
Catch all the highlights from the game here. He was up against a tailender in Shardul Thakur, and few would have fancied him to concede 17 runs off that over. We will get hit some times, but we have to try and balance it out. Any batsmen in the world would have found it hard to negotiate with that kind of a ball first up. Chasing a modest target of 140, Chennai were down in dumps at 92 for 7 before Du Plessis (67 off 42 balls) engineered a stunning comeback and fittingly finished the match with a straight six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. It's very common for any batsman to lose concentration when wickets are falling at the other end. "If atmosphere is not great, it becomes hard to perform", he added. He approached the chase brilliantly and displayed nerves of steel. The CSK skipper's troubles versus leg-spin bowling was exposed once again on Tuesday as he was beaten all ends up by Rashid. And for his splendid 2/11, he is the bowler of the match. Chennai batsmen looked to play him out rather than trying to do anything fancy against him. "This is the best combination that we have got", skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the win. If we had lost this game, we would have still had another chance. I think Sunrisers bowled really well. There was a bit in the pitch for the pacers.
"We kept losing wickets, so we had to push ourselves". It all happens in the Knockout stages.More news: We condemn excessive use of forces by Israelis against defenseless Palestinians: Gargash
"I'm always happy when we win a game". We will get hit at some time.
The script was eerily similar for both the teams, but there could have been only one victor. That's where the experience comes in. He has been brilliant tonight. And you can't do that without the players and the support staff. We are enjoying the way we are. If atmosphere is not good, then players go in different directions. Chennai pegged back Hyderabad at 47 for 3 with both Williamson and opener Shikhar Dhawan (0) back in the dugout.
On such close games, the Chennai skipper said: "Good to win games like this". The bowlers were outstanding.
"Hopefully we can cross the line in Kolkata and come back here [for the final]". We certainly back our death bowlers.
Sunrisers' bowling this season have been extraordinary with Rashid and Shakib as well as the pace trio of Bhuvneshwar, Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma, combining well to defend paltry totals.
"Credit to the CSK lower order". It's important that we learn from this and move on.