Mumbai, April 19: Leading from the front, captain Faf du Plessis played a tremendous strike (96 of 64) and led Royal Challengers Bangalore to 181-6 against Lucknow Super Giants in an IPL 2022 match at DY Patil Stadium, here on Tuesday.
Invited to bat first, RCB got off to a terrible start as they lost three wickets: Anuj Rawat (4), Virat Kohli (0) and Glenn Maxwell (23) inside the power play.
At 44/3 after 5.2 overs, RCB were in trouble, but Faf du Plessis took over the batting role during innings. He anchored the innings perfectly by joining a crucial 70-run position for the fifth wicket with Shahbaz Ahmed (26) and a 49-run partnership with Dinesh Karthik (13 not out of 8) for the sixth wicket, helping RCB to post a competitive total before getting on the penultimate ball of the final over.
On the fifth ball of the first over of the innings, Dushmantha Chameera gave Lucknow their first big break by taking out Anuj Rawat (4), who wanted to clear the middle but didn’t connect well when KL Rahul made a nice low catch. Virat Kohli, who was next to bat, went for a first-ball duck in the next installment of the same over. It was an outside back-of-a-length off the delivery and Kohli just shoved that in for a simple catch for the fielder at the point.
At 7-2 after the end of the first over, RCB was in deep trouble but skipper Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell decided to fight back. Both batsmen were finding the limits in almost every overs and also rotated the strike well to get RCB back on track.
But Krunal Pandya struck on the latter part of the power play to end promising innings from Maxwell (23 of 11), who came out while attempting a reverse sweep as Jason Holder ripped a stunner inside the 30-yard circle. The next batsman, Suyash Prabhudessai (10), didn’t last long either, as Holder sacked him to cut the RCB to 62-4 after 7.2 overs.
From there, Du Plessis needed support from the other end and Shahbaz Ahmed did it perfectly. The duo mixed caution with aggression and pushed the limits along with their attacking rotation to lead RCB’s comeback. Du Plessis, in particular, was very aggressive against Ravi Bishnoi, dishing out fours and sixes against the leg spinner to take his half-century in 40 balls in the 14th.
With Du Plessis and Shahbaz in the crease, RCB was looking for a strong finish. But an excellent fielding effort by KL Rahul ended Shahbaz’s tenure in the middle, as he ran out 26.
After Shahbaz’s wicket, the veteran Proteas batsman switched gears in the slog overs and together with the in-form Dinesh Karthik (13 not out), led RCB to 181-6 in the stipulated 20 overs. Du Plessis came close to scoring his first IPL century, but Holder fired him with one ball left in the innings, the second time he has gone out for 96 in the IPL.
Jason Holder (2/25) and Dushmantha Chameera (2/31) each picked two wickets, while Krunal Pandya (1/29) earned 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.