Faf du Plessis played a captain’s knock as the Royal Challengers Bangalore beat the Lucknow Super Giants by 18 runs on Tuesday.
Du Plessis equalled his highest IPL score of 96 before being caught on the boundary off the second-last ball of RCB’s innings. He faced 64 balls, and hit 11 fours and two sixes.
The South African helped his team fight back after they lost two wickets, including Virat Kohli for a golden duck, in the opening over in Mumbai.
RCB posted 181-6, a total their bowlers – led by Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood – defended by restricting Lucknow to 163-8.
Bangalore, who are searching for their maiden IPL title, moved to second on the log behind leaders the Gujarat Titans. Lucknow slipped to fourth.
Hazlewood returned figures of 4-25, including the key wickets of opener Quinton de Kock for three and Marcus Stoinis, who made a 15-ball 24 before being bowled by his international teammate in the penultimate over.
Du Plessis put on a 70-run fifth-wicket stand with Shahbaz Ahmed, who made 26, and then a brisk 49 with the in-form Dinesh Karthik.
But the former Proteas skipper missed out on a hundred after holing out off Jason Holder.
“My elusive IPL hundred … I feel it is around the corner,” said Du Plessis. “I wanted to make a big impact because the last few games had been quiet for me. I went through my own processes and blueprint for scoring runs so I had a clear mental image going into this match and I am glad that it paid off.”
Australia big-hitter Glenn Maxwell contributed an 11-ball 23.
The KL Rahul-led Lucknow, who are one of two new franchises along with Gujarat, lost regular wickets in their chase, with Hazlewood striking twice in his first two overs.
Rahul made 30 and Krunal Pandya hit 42 off 28 balls but it was Stoinis’ late blitz that raised Lucknow’s hopes.
Wednesday’s match between the Delhi Capitals and the Punjab Kings has been shifted to Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium from Pune due a Covid-19 outbreak in the Delhi team.
Australia’s Mitchell Marsh was admitted to hospital after testing positive for Covid on Monday. Delhi have five positive coronavirus cases, including four support staff members.
© Agence France-Presse