Following the loss to Gujarat Titans (GT), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Faf Du Plessis said that lack of runs from the middle order, wickets in middle overs, inability to finish the games well and the lack of good hitters down the order contributed to team’s league stage exit. Shubman Gill’s century outshined Virat Kohli’s classic knock of 101 runs to help GT beat RCB by 6 wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match here at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.
“Very disappointed. We played a really strong team tonight, an amazing hundred from Shubman. It was really wet in the second innings. It was wet in the first innings as well, but there was not a lot of grip in the second innings and also we had to change the ball quite a few times during the second innings. Virat played an unbelievable knock to give us a chance and thought that was a good score, but Shubman played incredibly well to take the game away from us,” said Du Plessis in a post-match presentation. “From a batting perspective, the top 4 contributed really well. We missed a few runs from the middle order consistently throughout the season, especially in the back end of the innings, and also in the middle overs perhaps didn’t get as many wickets as we would have liked. He (Kohli) played really good cricket throughout the season and as a partnership probably not a single game where we had anything under 40 as an opening combination. We need to improve well on finishing games, especially in the back end. Last year DK (Dinesh Karthik) had a purple patch and was finishing games left, right and centre, but this season it was not to be. And if you see the teams that succeed they have some good hitters at five at six probably six and seven,” he added.
Du Plessis also finished a memorable IPL 2023 with the bat. In 14 matches, he scored 730 runs at an average of 56.15 and 153.68. He also scored eight half-centuries this season, with the best of 84. Put to bat first by GT, RCB posted 197/5 in their 20 overs. Opening the batting, Virat Kohli had a 67-run opening stand with skipper Faf Du Plessis (28 in 19 balls). Useful cameos came from Michael Bracewell (26 in 16 balls) and Anuj Rawat (23* in 15 balls) as well. But it was Virat who stood tall with his second straight century of the season, his seventh overall. He scored 101* in just 61 balls, consisting of 13 fours and a six.
Noor Ahmed (2/39) was the pick of the bowlers for GT. Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami and Yash Dayal took a wicket each. In the chase of 198, GT lost Wriddhiman Saha early, but a 123-run stand for the second wicket between Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar (53 in 35 balls, seven fours and two sixes) brought them back into the game. RCB attempted to make a comeback with some wickets towards the end, but Gill’s hit the match-winning runs to bring up his second successive IPL ton as well. He scored 104* in just 52 balls with five fours and eight sixes. GT chased down the target with five balls to go.
RCB end their campaign in sixth position with seven wins, seven losses and a total of 14 points. GT will be playing CSK in the first qualifier on Tuesday. Gill clinched the ‘Player of the Match’ for his knock.