New Zealand’s Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad smashed half-centuries to fire Chennai Super Kings into the IPL play-offs with a thumping 77-run win over Delhi Capitals on Saturday.

CSK will take on Gujarat Titans in Qualifier in Chennai on 23 May.

In the second match, Lucknow Super Kings survived an unbeaten blitz of 67 by Rinku Singh to edge Kolkata Knight Riders by one run and qualify in the third spot. They will play the Eliminator in Chennai.

The winner will head straight to the final in Ahmedabad on May 28 and the loser playing the winner of the Eliminator between teams three and four in the second qualifier.

The left-handed Conway (87) and Gaikwad (79) put on a blazing opening stand of 141 to steer Chennai to a mammoth 223-3 after electing to bat first in Delhi.

Skipper David Warner hit a valiant 86 but Chennai kept down Delhi, who are coached by Ricky Ponting, to 146-9 and book their spot in the top four.

They join holders and table-toppers Gujarat Titans, who are assured of a top-two finish.

Four-time winners Chennai have finished the group stage with eight wins and can stay as the second-ranked team in the table, depending on the day’s second result between Kolkata Knight Riders and Lucknow Super Giants.

Delhi, who were the first team to get eliminated from the play-off race, bowed out with nine losses and five wins.

Batters set up victory for Chennai after Gaikwad and Conway, in his 52-ball blitz, got cracking on the opposition bowlers with fours and sixes.

Chetan Sakariya sent back Gaikwad, who hit seven sixes in his 50-ball knock, but Conway kept up the charge in another attacking partnership of 54 with Shivam Dube, who hit 22.

Dube’s wicket raised the noise as Dhoni walked in with thunderous applause and stood unbeaten with Ravindra Jadeja, who hit a seven-ball 20.

Delhi were never in the chase as Warner played a lone hand in his attempt to drive the teams’ reply in his 58-ball knock but got little support from the other end.

For CSK, Deepak Chahar picked up three wickets while the Sri Lankan pair of Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana got two wickets each.

LSG prevail

Nicholas Pooran’s 58 guided Lucknow to 176-8, a total that was threatened by Rinku, a left-hand batsman, who smashed four sixes in his 33-ball knock but Kolkata ended on 175-7.

Two-time champions Kolkata bowed out of the race for the top four, leaving five-time champions Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore – both the teams play their respective matches on Sunday – and Rajasthan Royals fighting for the remaining spot.

Kolkata began strongly to put Lucknow in trouble at 73-5 before the left-handed Pooran hit back in his 30-ball blitz to guide his team to 176-8 at Eden Gardens.

In reply, England’s Jason Roy, who hit 45, and Venkatesh Iyer gave Kolkata a brisk start in their stand of 61 in 5.5 overs before the Lucknow spinners hit back.

Kolkata lost track after Roy’s wicket but Rinku, who became an IPL sensation with his five sixes off five balls last month, made Kolkata dream again even when they needed 40 off the last two overs.

Here’s a look at CSK’s record in the IPL over the years:

Season League stage finish Playoff result
IPL 2008 3rd Lost in the final
IPL 2009 2nd Lost in the semi-final
IPL 2010 3rd Champions
IPL 2011 2nd out of 10 Champions
IPL 2012 4th out of 9 Lost in the final
IPL 2013 1st out of 9 Lost in the final
IPL 2014 3rd Won in Eliminator, Lost in Qualifier 2
IPL 2015 1st Runners-up
IPL 2016 Suspended
IPL 2017 Suspended
IPL 2018 2nd Champions
IPL 2019 2nd Lost in the final
IPL 2020 7th ––
IPL 2021 2nd Champions
IPL 2022 9th out of 10
IPL 2023 Qualified for playoffs TBD

CSK became the second team to qualify for the playoffs after GT, and five teams are mathematically in contention for the two remaining spots.

GT (Q) 13 9 4 0 0.835 18
CSK (Q) 14 8 5 1 0.652 17
LSG (Q) 14 8 5 1 0.284 17
RCB 13 7 6 0 0.180 14
RR 14 7 7 0 0.148 14
MI 13 7 6 0 -0.128 14
KKR (E) 14 6 8 0 -0.239 12
PBKS (E) 14 6 8 0 -0.304 12
DC (E) 14 5 9 0 -0.808 10
SRH (E) 13 4 9 0 -0.558 8

With inputs from AFP