Murali Vijay smashed the ongoing season's fastest century as title holders Chennai Super Kings roared into their fourth IPL final on the back of a crushing 86-run win over Delhi Daredevils here tonight.
Having demolished Mumbai Indians in their previous encounter, Chennai were clear favourites coming into the game and they justified the tag with an all-round show that left the partisan crowd in esctasy and the Daredevils in despair.
Chennai will now look to clinch their third consecutive IPL title against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.
Vijay, who has had a mediocre IPL season, came into his own in this important game. The opener's belligerent innings saw Chennai score 222, this season's highest total.
Vijay, who was run out on the last ball of the innings after scoring 113, took a mere 58 balls to reach the magic landmark when he flicked Varun Aaron off his pads behind square at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.
Chasing 223 to win, Delhi needed its openers to fire, but David Warner (3) departed early and Virender Sehwag (1), who came one down, too couldn't last long.
Mahela Jayawardene, sent out to open, was the only person to offer any resistance, scoring 55 runs of 38 balls. Ultimately the entire team was dismissed for a mere 136 runs handing Chennai a comprehensive win.
R Ashwin (3-23), Shadab Jakati (2-40) and Ben Hilfenhaus (1-17) shared the spoils for CSK.
Earlier, Vijay bludgeoned 15 fours and four sixes during his innings after Sehwag had invited the hosts to bat.
CSK were off to a rousing start with Vijay finding the ropes with consummate ease. The local boy was well-supported by Michael Hussey who contributed with 20 off 22 balls before Aaron had the Aussie caught behind by Naman Ojha. But Vijay was his usual self as he continued his onslaught that left the Delhi attack -- sans spearhead Morne Morkel -- who was surprisingly benched, demoralised.
After kick-starting CSK's innings with a boundary off unheralded offspinner Sunny Gupta, a surprise choice playing his first-ever IPL match, Vijay did not look back, hammering the Daredevils bowlers with utter disdain. If Vijay had put on 68 runs for the first wicket with Hussey in just 8.1 overs, his second-wicket stand of 69 with Suresh Raina consumed a mere 33 deliveries.
After his frontline bowlers were taken to the task, Sehwag tried his hand at checking the flow of runs, but to no avail. Vijay, well set by then, smashed Sehwag for 21 runs with the help of two fours and a six over long-on.
After Raina got out to left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni continued the assault and it did not end even with his dismissal, as Dwayne Bravo produced another cameo. While Dhoni smashed 23 off 10 balls, Bravo remained unbeaten on 33 off 12 with the help of three fours and two sixes.
Chennai Super Kings:
M Vijay run out 113, M Hussey c Ojha b Aaron 20, SK Raina c & b Negi 27, MS Dhoni c Negi b Aaron 23, A Morkel c Ojha b Yadav 0, D Bravo not out 33.
Extras: (lb 1, w 5) 6
Total: (For 5 wickets in 20 overs) 222
Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-137, 3-173, 4-183, 5-222.
Bowling: Sunny Gupta 3-0-47-0, U Yadav 4-0-27-1, A Russell 4-0-30-0, V Aaron 4-0-63-2, P Negi 4-0-33-1, V Sehwag 1-0-21-0.
Delhi Daredevils (Target 223):
M Jayawardene b Ashwin 55, D Warner c Vijay b Hilfenhaus 3, V Sehwag c Hussey b Morkel 1, R Taylor c Raina b Bravo 24, A Russell c Bravo b Ashwin 16, N Ojha c Vijay b Jakati 7, V Rao run out (Bravo/Ashwin) 10, P Negi not out 8, Sunny Gupta st Dhoni b Jakati 0 , U Yadav b Ashwin 1, V Aaron run out (Dhoni) 0.
Extras: (b 1, lb 3, w 7) 11.
Total: (all out in 16.5 overs) 136
Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-22, 3-74, 4-106, 5-117, 6-127, 7-127, 8-135, 9-136, 10-136
Bowling: Hilfenhaus 3-0-17-1, Morkel 3-0-28-1, 4-0-40-2, R Ashwin 3.5-0-23-3, D Bravo 3-0-24-1