“Virat Kohli was struggling…” – Faf du Plessis after 7-wicket loss to KKR in IPL 2024

The Faf du Plessis-led Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) were at the receiving end of a 7-wicket defeat at the hands of the Shreyas Iyer-led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 10th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday, March 29.

While batting first, RCB posted a good total of 182/6 on the board, thanks to the heroics of the batting stalwart Virat Kohli. The modern-day batting great slammed 83 runs off 59 balls and emerged as the top performer for his team. His innings was studded with 4 fours and 4 sixes.

However, Virat Kohli’s performance went in vain as Royal Challengers Bengaluru became the first team to lose a home match in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. Sunil Narine and Venkatesh Iyer batted exceptionally well in the second innings and their innings powered KKR to a great 7-wicket win.

At the post-match presentation ceremony, RCB skipper Faf du Plessis said that the pitch was two-paced, and even a set batter like Virat Kohli was seen struggling on the surface despite spending a long time in the middle. Faf du Plessis elaborated:

“Strange one, first innings we thought that the wicket was very two-paced, you could see that when the guys bowled the cutters, back of a length, the guys really struggled. We thought it was a decent score knowing that it gets a little bit easier in the evening, there was a little bit of dew that came in.”

“Looking at the way we batted in the first innings, even if you have someone in there, Virat was struggling to hit the ball just because there was lack of pace and the two-paceness.”

They hit strong cricket shots and pretty much took the game away – Faf du Plessis in awe of Sunil Narine and Phil Salt

Speaking further, Faf du Plessis said that the KKR openers Sunil Narine and Phil Salt batted exceptionally and put tremendous pressure on his bowlers. Faf du Plessis said:

“(Could anything have done differently in the powerplay with the ball?) You can always know after the game, we can say perhaps try one or two things but the way the two of them (Narine and Slat) were striking the ball, some really good batting there, they put pressure on our bowlers. They hit strong cricket shots and pretty much took the game away.”

Faf du Plessis also admitted that they tried a lot of different things in the match, but it didn’t work for them. He said:

“With Narine there, you can’t really go to spin, you want to use pace upfront. That’s also a really good match-up for Salt and the way he plays. They were excellent, really broke the game in the first six overs. We’ve tried the spinning options with Maxi, the finger-spinners seem be be effective here, but at night there wasn’t too much spin, With left-hand, right-hand combination, it’s one of those things, you can bowl a spinner.”

Faf du Plessis further opined that RCB needed a bowler who could spin both ways, but they didn’t have an option like that available in the team. He stated:

“But as you saw when Venky was playing against the left-arm spinner, you feel like it’s an easy hit on a small boundary to hit with the spin. Ideally you want someone who can spin the ball both ways but with the set-up of our team tonight, we didn’t have that option.”

Faf du Plessis signed off by showering praise on the pacer Vijaykumar Vyshak, who bowled sensationally and gave away just 23 runs in his 4-over quota and picked up one wicket. He elaborated:

“(On Vyshak) Very good, he hasn’t had opportunities. We had a look in the first innings and we thought about bringing in Karn Sharma. But we felt someone who could bowl really good slower balls is probably the most difficult bowler to face on this pitch. Dre Russ probably bowled 80% of his balls cutters. We took some learnings from that and he was the best bowler of the evening.”

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