posted on 2019-05-05 23:13:13
posted by Karthik Raj
Francois Du Plessis compiled a beautiful 96 off 55 balls against KXIP but KL Rahul's outstanding onslaught meant that the South African's knock went in vain. Du Plessis' knock helped CSK muster up 170 runs on the board. But on the other hand, KL Rahul more than matched up for Du Plessis' efforts by unleashing his 2018 IPL version on the CSK bowlers and helped his side chase down the target comfortably.
While it can be said that Du Plessis has had other decent efforts with the bat in his last 8 matches this season, this knock, in particular, would have made him a relieved man with the playoff matches coming up soon. Du Plessis is, in fact, CSK's 3rd highest run-getter this season but there was some rustiness attached to his batting until this knock against KXIP. His strike rate of 121.70 reflects as much. Also out of the 9 matches he has played so far, 5 knocks have come at a strike rate below 100. The nature of the pitches at Chepauk and also MS Dhoni's late onslaughts have meant that Du Plessis' relatively low strike hasn't been a problem so far. But these kinds of knocks wouldn't have been feasible in important games such as the playoffs.
Quite a few times, both Watson and Du Plessis have been really unable to get going in the Powerplay. The same happened on Sunday against KXIP at the I.S Bindra stadium with Watson struggling to get runs. Watson eventually got out for a frustrating knock of 7 runs from 11 balls. But on the other hand, Du Plessis kept on showcasing his delightful shot making ability that has made him such a fan favourite for CSK over the years. In particular, Du Plessis' feet movement against both the pacers and spinners was laudable. He targeted the likes of Andrew Tye, Sam Curran and Murugan Ashwin by stepping down repeatedly. Such foot movement helped Du Plessis get to the pitch of the ball and as a result, the straight boundaries were peppered. The best part of this innings was the fact that Du Plessis rarely looked to smash the ball and instead his focus was always on timing the ball.
It was clear that the extra pace provided by the Mohali wicket aided Du Plessis' free strokeplay when compared to his struggles to really get going so far in this season. Also, Raina's typical bulldozing nature against the spinners seemed to have returned and this acted as additional momentum for Du Plessis on the other hand. Their partnership would have made many a CSK fan nostalgic about the duo's alliances for the team prior to their 2-year absence from the IPL. Another interesting thing to remember was the fact that Du Plessis' first appearance of this season also came against KXIP at the M.A Chidambaram stadium. In that match too, Faf made a wonderful half-century batting first and helped CSK set up a decent total which was later on defended by the bowlers. In spite of the loss, Faf Du Plessis might be thanking the stars considering that KXIP have once again given him a major form boost.
While CSK still have problems in the form of Shane Watson, Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav, Du Plessis and Raina's return to their best form acts as a superb omen for CSK with the playoff games coming up soon. In spite of the defeat against KXIP, the return to form of key players means that CSK are well placed going into the qualifier game at their fortress in Chennai. Additionally, skipper MS Dhoni and the team's bowling unit as a whole have all been in great form. This makes CSK a tough team to beat at the Chepauk with conditions favouring the home team as usual. This shows how integral a player like Du Plessis is to CSK. CSK will be hoping that Du Plessis carries on this rich vein of form into the upcoming games.