Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis admired the power-hitting of the Punjab Kings’ batters as they shot down a 206-run target with an overstock in Match 3 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 on Sunday.
Faf du Plessis hit a stunning 88 from just 57 balls, but RCB ended up on the losing side in his first game as captain. PBKS rode some stunning power hitting from Shikhar Dhawan (43 out of 29), Bhanuka Rajapaksha (43 out of 22), Liam Livingstone (19 out of 10), Odean Smith (25 out of 8 balls) and Shahrukh Khan (24 out of 20 ).
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At no point after Captain Mayank Agarwal and Dhawan nabbed a 71 point tie in just 7.1 overs, PBKS appeared to be under pressure in what appeared to be a steep-sided chase. Mohammed Siraj conceded 59 runs in 4 overs, while expensive Sri Lankan spinner Wanindu Hasaranga scored 40 runs in his 4-over quota when RCB was taken to the cleaners.
Remembering the pivotal moments in the game, Faf du Plessis emphasized Odean Smith’s dropped catch when the West Indian major hit 1 in the 17th over. RCB also dropped Shikhar Dhawan once when Dinesh Karthik missed a difficult chance after failing to take advantage of an easy chance to stop the PBKS opener earlier in the match.
“The catches towards the end of Odean Smith 25 from 8 balls. I think we probably dropped him at 10. Then we watch some tailenders come in. The cliché of catches wins watches,” said Faf du Plessis.
“There was a bit of dew out there, a rough night for the bowlers but I thought they were pretty good with the wet ball. Small margins but they drove it away really well. They had some really good power play.
“In the second inning the ball slipped a bit more and then we pulled it back beautifully.
“We’ve done a lot of good things in the middle. But you know what Odean Smith can do to you. So you have to hold on to those opportunities.
“Even the other guy, Shahrukh Khan, didn’t really do well until the last few balls tonight. So a very different game if you hold those chances,” he added.
Expressing his delight at his knock of 88, du Plessis added: “I’m tired! Those first innings run, ohh (laughs) hard to start with the bat today. The first four overs swung the ball, I was 1 at 10 I think. I was holding the bat a little hard, but it’s fun to get through.”
Du Plessis looked like he struggled with timing after Mayank won the toss and chose to bowl, but the South African batter shifted gears effortlessly. The RCB captain didn’t panic as he faced spot balls at the start as he batted into a six to make up for all those pitches towards the end of the innings.
However, Faf du Plessis broke the shackles in the 13th, bowled by West Indian pacer Odean Smith when the RCB skipper tonted the fast bowler for 2 sixes and a limit. From then on, there was nothing to worry about as the South African star hit 7 sixes and 3 limits and ran hard between the wickets in his 118-run stand with Virat Kohli.