IPL

'It is not just Kohli contributing now' – Du Plessis relieved by RCB's IPL improvement

By Sports Desk April 26, 2024

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis is relieved by his side's recent Indian Premier League improvement after having an over-reliance on India great Virat Kohli in the early stages of the competition.

A comfortable 35-run away win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday has lifted spirits for RCB after they had fallen just one run short of reaching a big Kolkata Knight Riders total in their previous outing.

RCB remain bottom of the standings going into back-to-back matches against the Gujarat Titans, but they approach that double-header with new-found confidence after snapping a miserable six-match losing streak.

"In the last two games we have shown great signs of fight," Du Plessis said.

"The [first] SRH game we got to 260 [pursuing a big target], then the KKR game as well, just one run [short]. It was almost a record chase. 

"We have been close for a while, but you need to win matches to get confidence back in the group. 

"It is a massive relief. No matter where we are, when you are not winning it does affect you, it does affect you mentally, it does affect your confidence. 

"I will sleep a bit easier. For the first half of the tournament only it was only Virat contributing. It is important as a batting line-up to contribute together because we have seen the scores are so big, it's never going to be just one guy scoring the runs."

Kohli still impressed against SRH, with his 51 – along with a rapid 50 off 20 balls from Rajat Patidar – helping RCB to score 206-7 after opting to bat first.

There was also a strong outing from Australia all-rounder Cameron Green, who scored 37 not out before taking 2-12 from two overs with the ball and grabbing a huge catch to dismiss SRH dangerman Heinrich Klaasen for just seven.

Du Plessis added: "The last week and a half we have been working hard to make sure we get better at our own game. 

"You can see the last game; there is some confidence in our batting. We have got more guys scoring runs now. Rajat playing two really good innings back-to-back, Greeny getting runs. It is massive for him just to get that load off his shoulders. 

"You can't speak confidence into the group, you can't fake confidence into the group. The only thing that gives confidence is performance. 

"First half of the competition we certainly felt like we weren't near our full potential. And when you're playing at 50% or 60%, obviously, you try 100%, but you don't get the confidence in your group. 

"The competition is so strong, the teams are so strong that you'll get hurt [if you are not at 100%]."

Green thought Du Plessis had taken a risk by choosing to bat first, but it was a decision that paid off.

He said: "It was [a brave call]. I definitely wasn't in agreement with [batting first] so credit to the captain and coach. SRH have been batting beautifully when they bat first - that was the main reason.

"We always have to celebrate little wins and we feel pretty good now. Always nice to be back to winning ways."

Asked about his catch to dismiss Klaasen, he added: "I think the whole time I kept thinking 'Klaasen, Klaasen' in my head!

"It was up there for a while, happy I hung on to it."

RCB are away to the Titans on Sunday, before playing at home against Shubman Gill's side on May 4.

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