Faf du Plessis-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) produced a complete performance to stun Gujarat Titans (GT) in IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.
Chasing 169 runs, Virat Kohli and Du Plessis added 115 runs for the first wicket to set up the chase. Glenn Maxwell's late blitz then secured the eight-wicket win to keep them in the hunt for a top-four finish.
However, RCB will only qualify for the IPL playoffs if Delhi Capitals lose against Mumbai Indians on May 21.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Faf du Plessis backed the five-time IPL champions to finish off their campaign with a win. The former Proteas captain said:
"Tonight was really important for obvious reasons. You want to finish the competition strong and show that you are a group of people that has character within the dressing room. I think the worst thing for us that could have happened tonight was putting in a soft performance. That was really important for me to see from us as a group today and control what's in our hands."
"Probably one or two inconsistent performances put us in the position we are today but it was really important for us tonight. We have a couple of blue hats in our dressing room for the next couple of days and I'm banking on Rohit to go big."
A win for Delhi in their final group game on Saturday will see Rishabh Pant and Co progress through to the playoffs. Both IPL teams will end up on 16 points if DC win but they have a much superior Net Run Rate.
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"He's got so much emotion it builds with you" - Faf du Plessis on Virat Kohli
The former RCB captain announced his return to form with a breathtaking knock of 73 runs off 54 deliveries, including eight boundaries and two sixes. Faf du Plessis was in awe of the swashbuckling innings and stated that Kohli's energy is infectious.
"I'm very happy for Virat. He's been working hard in the nets, trying to get through a tough patch and great to see him strike it like the Virat we know. I understand that it's the fired-up personality and character that gets him going, so I play the role with him."
"It's really fun to bat out there when he's going like that because he's got so much emotion it builds with you. It feels like you're ready to go and play a rugby match with all the energy going through you. It was really fun."
Kohli scored 73 off 54 balls, including eight boundaries and three sixes, while Du Plessis chipped in with 44 runs. Maxwell gave a late flourish, scoring an unbeaten 40 off 18 balls to chase down the total with eight balls to spare.