IPL 2022: Still back him to turn it around, Faf du Plessis backs struggling Virat Kohli
- RR defeated RCB by 29 runs on Tuesday
- Virat Kohli got out for 9 after opening the innings
- RCB now have lost 2 straight games
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Faf du Plessis has backed struggling Virat Kohli to "turn it around" in the upcoming games in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.
In nine games in IPL 2022, Kohli has scored only 128 runs at an average of 16 and a strike rate of 119.63. In the nine innings he has batted this season, he has reached the double digits on just two occasions. Despite opening the innings in RCB's game against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Tuesday, Kohli failed to get going. RR pacer Prasidh Krishna dismissed Kohli for a 10-ball nine.
Chasing RR's target of 145, RCB fell short by 29 runs at MCA Stadium, Pune. It was RCB's second straight loss in the ongoing tournament, while it was RR's third consecutive victory.
In a post-match interview, RCB skipper du Plessis said that his side needs to fix their top-order batting and hence they would try to change their batting order further.
"It's pretty similar to the previous game we played, there is a little bit of inconsistent bounce. We gave 20 runs too many and the dropped catch cost us 25. 140 was a par score on that pitch. That's the thing we need to fix [the top-order batting]. The basics of the game doesn't change. You needed someone in the top four to bat through and we have not done it. We have to try to change the batting order and see if that works.
We have to try and play positively. That's what we discussed after the last game, trying to get the best out of him [on Kohli]. Great players go through these things. Great players go through phases like this. We wanted him to get in straight away so that he doesn't sit on the sidelines and think about the game. He is a great player and we still back him to turn it around and hopefully, it's around the corner. It's a game of confidence," added du Plessis after RCB's defeat in Pune.
IPL 2022: Riyan Parag justified RR's trust in him, says Sanju Samson
Even RR struggled with the bat in the first innings on Tuesday before they bounced back with great bowling and fielding performances. RCB's trio of Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood, and Wanindu Hasaranga derailed RR's batting line-up as Sanju Samson and Co lost two wickets inside the powerplay overs. After the dismissals of Devdutt Padikkal and Ravichandran Ashwin, RCB removed in-form Jos Buttler too in the fifth over.
Later in their innings, young Riyan Parag played a vital knock as he recorded a game-changing half-century. For scoring an unbeaten 56 off 31 balls, Parag was eventually named the Player of the Match.
Even RR skipper Samson heaped praise on Parag, saying the young batsman justified the belief the team has shown in him over the years.
"It is a really great win. After the start in the first 15 overs, we had real belief and trust in someone called Riyan Parag. We have been backing him for the last three-four years and he just showed it to the world today. I thought we were 10-15 runs short with no dew in the second innings. The pitch was turning and was two-paced, so 150-160 would have been a good total. It was something we were waiting for, for the back end of our batting to win us matches.
Almost everyone has put up a match-winning performance so far. The chat we had just before the second innings, was that when you are chasing 200 there is only one gear. But for such totals like 150, it was only a matter of putting pressure as the batsmen had to change gears. The dressing room atmosphere is really important. We make a couple of changes according to the wicket and the opponent, but communication is very important. Karun, for example, was left out just because we needed that one over from Daryl Mitchell, and he understands that, and he can come back in later," added Samson.
RR's next game is against Mumbai Indians (MI) on Saturday at DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai. Even RCB are scheduled to play on the same day as they face off against table-toppers Gujarat Titans at Brabourne Stadium.