Faf du Plessis put on a show on Tuesday (May 22) night to pull off a heist against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first qualifier of IPL 2018. Du Plessis played a blistering knock of 67* runs in just 42 balls to clinch a thrilling two-wicket victory for CSK.
Thanks to Du Plessis’ herculean effort with the willow, CSK also become the first team to secure their spot in the final of this year’s IPL.
Elated to contribute in CSK’s success, Faf while speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, said: “It’s nice to contribute since I haven’t played much. Yesterday, I was just reflecting on my past games, and took some confidence from that mentally. I just entered the changing room now, and asked the boys, ‘how did we win this, guys?’”.
“Sometimes the game seems out of reach, but you keep sticking in. But Shardul (Thakur) came in and hit some boundaries, and everything went our way. Rashid was a real handful, so just happy to cross the line. Rashid was tough to pick, so hard to take him on. So try to get through him as much as you can,” he added.
Du Plessis was running out of adjectives to describe Rashid. He tagged him as the best leg spinner in the world and also warned his rivals of his potential to single-handedly win matches.
“Rashid’s the best legspinner in the world. He’s going to pose a lot of challenges when he comes to Test cricket. He will win you games on his own, and that’s why you have to respect his bowling. We watch a lot of footage, but he’s still so hard to pick,” Faf said while speaking to Star Sports after the match.
Defending a sub-par total of 139, Hyderabad bowlers made life difficult for CSK with Siddarth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar reducing them to 24/3 in 3.4 overs. Rashid dented the Chennai batting line-up even further by removing Dhoni and Bravo in quick succession.
When everything seemed down and out for CSK at 92/7, but Faf du Plessis turned things around by smashing Carlos Brathwaite for 20 runs in the 18th over. Shardul Thakur, who had a terrible outing with the ball, hit Kaul for 17 runs in the penultimate over to almost seal the deal for CSK.
Du Plessis fittingly hit the winning six off Bhuvi's bowling to secure the match with 5 balls to spare. He remained not out on 67 runs off 42 balls (5 fours and 4 sixes) while Thakur played a great hand of 15* runs in just 5 balls.
“Me, personally, in that situation, I felt that I needed to take all the risk against Carlos. His slower ball is not that much different than his (normal) pace. So even if he does (bowl a slower one), you can trust your (bat-) swing, so that’s what I was hoping for. And that’s the over we both targeted. And Shardul came in there and just smoked a few towards the end,” Du Plessis asserted.
He also acknowledged CSK skipper MS Dhoni’s desire to win the IPL this season. Faf is sharing the dressing room with Dhoni since 2012, including two years at Rising Pune Supergiant.
“Haven’t spoken to MSD yet, but what I can tell you, is having joined back at CSK and played with him for Rising Pune Supergiant last time, you can really say he wants it this time. He’s really proud of this team, and he’s like the big brother of the team, so it’s nice that most of us are back here. Great to have that camaraderie in the ground,” Faf concluded.