Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Faf du Plessis felt Virat Kohli was handling his poor form “really well,” adding that at this critical juncture, all a player can do is keep working hard, maintain good intensity, and maintain a positive attitude.
Kohli scored just 20 runs in RCB’s 54-run loss to Punjab Kings at the Brabourne Stadium, smashing two boundaries and a six in his brief 14-ball stay at the crease.
While the need of the hour was to play a long and responsible innings, given that RCB were chasing a mammoth 209, the loss of Kohli and skipper du Plessis (10 runs) put too much pressure on the batters coming through the order, and the team lost the plot.
It was a huge setback for RCB, who are still in playoff contention (they are currently fourth with 14 points on the points table), but with only one game remaining, they now face an uphill qualification scenario.
Defending Kohli, in spite of another mediocre performance, du Plessis said, “It (209 set by Punjab Kings) was a good score. Obviously Jonny (Bairstow) the way he started the innings there put our bowlers under some real pressure. I thought we pulled it back and 200 was probably a par score on that wicket.
“It was probably the best one we’ve had and played on in this campaign. When you’re chasing big scores like that, the key thing is not to lose wickets in clusters and that’s where we got it a little bit wrong. There was that bang-bang with me and Virat and the same thing a few overs later.
Speaking about Virat’s flickering campaign this season, the South African said, “He’s seeing the lighter side of it. Obviously when you… every single way that you think you can possibly get out, that’s just how the game works. Sometimes when you’re a little bit of under pressure, the game finds ways to keep you under pressure. All you can really do is make sure you keep working hard, keep a good intensity, a good attitude; keep staying positive knowing that it’s (a good score) around the corner.
“He (Virat) played some really good shots and obviously you’d like him to kick on. But I think he’s handling it really well. Tough patches are difficult for all of us, but he’s in good spirits and he believes it’s around the corner,” added du Plessis.
The RCB captain admitted that his team’s performance on Friday night was not up to par, claiming that all three departments of the game — batting, bowling, and fielding — were subpar.
“There’s one or two areas where we weren’t great tonight and it showed in the batting, bowling and even fielding. So, all around, not a great outing for us. So for me, it’s take a day off, forget about the performance and then come back and see how you can switch the guys on for what will be a must-win game for us (last league match) and then make sure we put all our energy in the game that’s ahead of us and not the game behind us. There’s not one more net session that will make you a better player now.
“We’ve had a lot of nets, a lot of games; it’s been a long IPL. For me, it’s just making sure you’re nice and strong in the mind, keep believing in yourself and us as a team. If we play to our full potential, we’re a very good team but tonight we didn’t do that,” he added.
(Inputs from IANS)