Chennai: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) tamed Gujarat Titans (GT) by 15 runs on a sticky surface to enter their 10th IPL final here on Tuesday and extend their remarkable consistency in the tournament.
CSK did well to reach 172/7 on a slow pitch in Qualifier 1 after Hardik Pandya opted to bowl.
Considering the conditions, it turned out to be much more than a competitive total as GT had a rare off day to be 157 all out in 20 overs.
Rashid Khan made the CSK fans nervous with a 16-ball 30 towards the end but it was not enough for GT.
This was CSK's first win over GT in four attempts.
However, the defending champions will got another shot to make a second successive final in Qualifier 2 on Friday.
CSK's master tactician M S Dhoni made the best use of home advantage to take the four-time champions to a 10th final in 14 editions. CSK did not take part in 2016 and 2017 editions.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (4-0-18-2) did the star turn for CSK with a brilliant spell during which he strangled the opposition batters to avenge the defeat suffered in the tournament opener. Matheesha Pathirana, Maheesh Theekshana and Deepal Chahar also finished with two wickets each.
GT lost Wriddhiman Saha (12) in the third over.
Pandya (8) could not make much impact at No. 3, miscuing a cut off Theekshana for Jadeja to pouch a catch at point.
Sri Lanka's whie-ball captain Dasun Shanaka (17) could not get going as well and his reverse sweep off Jadeja landed in the hands of Theekshana.
Jadeja made things tougher for GT by castling the dangerous David Miller (4) to leave them reeling at 88/4 in the 13th over. GT slipped further when Rahul Tewatia was bowled by Theekshana for three.
For the home team, Ruturaj Gaikwad was the best batter, scoring a superb 60 off 44.
Pacer Mohammed Shami (2 for 28 in 4 overs) was the best bowler while Mohit Sharma (2/31) also picked up two wickets. Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmed scalped a wicket each and put pressure on the batters in the middle overs.
Gaikwad had a stroke of luck when he was caught by Gill off Darshan Nalkande off a no-ball on two. He capitalised on the let-off and played some superb shots. He smacked a six off the free hit and hit a four from the next delivery.
The in-form Gaikwad did not get bogged down against the spin of Rashid and Noor, the key bowlers for GT. He scored freely against all the bowlers and got CSK off to a brisk start with 49 being scored in the powerplay.
Gaikwad appeared to slow down after having outscored his opening partner Devon Conway with whom he shared yet another half-century stand. He fell trying to force the pace, to a catch by Miller off Mohit.
Ajinkya Rahane (17 off 10) hit one six before being Nalkande's only scalp as the scoring slowed down.
Conway was not his usual fluent self and struggled with his timing all though his innings.
Ambati Rayudu (17 off 9) crossed the 6,000 IPL-run mark during the course of his cameo.
The home team did well to collect 35 runs off the last three overs.