Leading from the front, skipper Faf du Plessis played a terrific knock (96 off 64) and steered Royal Challengers Bangalore to 181-6 against Lucknow Super Giants in an IPL 2022 match at the D.Y Patil Stadium, here on Tuesday.
Invited to bat first, RCB were off to a terrible start as they lost three wickets — Anuj Rawat (4), Virat Kohli (0) and Glenn Maxwell (23) inside the powerplay.
At 44/3 after 5.2 overs, RCB were in a spot of bother but Faf du Plessis took on the mantle of batting through the innings. He anchored the innings to perfection by stitching a crucial 70-run stand for the fifth wicket with Shahbaz Ahmed (26) and a 49-run partnership with Dinesh Karthik (13 not out off 8) for the sixth wicket, helping RCB post a competitive total before getting on the penultimate ball of the final over.
In the fifth ball of the very first over of the innings, Dushmantha Chameera gave Lucknow their first breakthrough by removing Anuj Rawat (4), who wanted to clear mid-off but didn’t connect well as K.L Rahul took a good low catch. Virat Kohli, who came to bat next, went for a first-ball duck in the next delivery of the same over. It was a back-of-a-length outside off delivery and Kohli just pushed that for a simple catch for the fielder at point.
With 7-2 after the end of the first over, RCB were in deep trouble but skipper Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell decided to counter-attack. Both batters were finding the boundaries in almost every over and also rotated the strike well to bring RCB back on track.
But, Krunal Pandya struck in the last over of the powerplay to end the promising innings of Maxwell (23 off 11), who got out while attempting a reverse sweep as Jason Holder plucked a stunner inside the 30-yard-circle. The next batter Suyash Prabhudessai (10) didn’t last long either as Holder dismissed him to reduce RCB to 62-4 after 7.2 overs.
From there on, Du Plessis needed support from the other end and Shahbaz Ahmed did that perfectly. The duo mixed caution with aggression and hit timely boundaries along with their strike rotation to lead RCB’s recovery. Du Plessis, in particular, was very aggressive against Ravi Bishnoi and dealt in fours and sixes against the leg-spinner to bring his half-century in 40 balls in the 14th over.
With both Du Plessis and Shahbaz set at the crease, RCB were looking for a strong finish. But an excellent fielding effort by K.L Rahul ended Shahbaz’s stay in the middle as he was run out on 26.
After Shahbaz’s wicket, the veteran Proteas batter switched gears in the slog overs and along with the in-form Dinesh Karthik (13 not out), took RCB to 181-6 in the stipulated 20 overs. Du Plessis came close to scoring his maiden IPL century but was dismissed by Holder with one ball left in the innings — the second time he has got out for 96 in the IPL.
Jason Holder (2/25) and Dushmantha Chameera (2/31) picked two wickets each while Krunal Pandya (1/29) got one wicket for Lucknow.
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 181/6 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 96, Shahbaz Ahmed 26; Jason Holder 2/25) vs Lucknow Super Giants.