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Du Plessis: 'I dedicate the Man of the Match to Yash Dayal'

RCB's captain also said the Chinnaswamy pitch "felt like a day-five Test match in Ranchi" after the rain interruption early in their innings

Two balls remaining, 10 runs to get. This was Chennai Super Kings' equation, on Saturday night at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, to get into the IPL 2024 playoffs by keeping their net run rate above that of Royal Challengers Bengaluru.
Ten off two had been CSK's equation during last year's final too, and Ravindra Jadeja had pulled it off to lead them to their fifth IPL title. Jadeja was on strike again on Saturday. Could history repeat itself?
It didn't on this occasion. It was RCB who qualified, completing one of the greatest comebacks in T20 league history with their sixth win on the bounce, and it was Yash Dayal who denied Jadeja, producing back-to-back swings and misses with a pair of nerveless slower balls.
RCB captain Faf du Plessis was adjudged Player of the Match for scoring 54 and taking a breathtaking one-handed catch at mid-off to send back Mitchell Santner at a crucial moment in the chase. Du Plessis, however, felt the award should have gone to Dayal for his execution with a wet ball in the climactic moments of the match.
"Obviously it got a bit close there... at one stage with MS [Dhoni] there, it felt like 'oh dear, no! Don't let it go his way.' He's done it so many times. I thought the way we bowled with the wet ball... we tried to get the ball changed a few times, but it was tough for the bowlers. For me, I dedicate the Man of the Match to Yash Dayal. The way he bowled tonight was unbelievable. That pressure at the back end for a guy who is pretty new to the role, he deserves the MoM."
Du Plessis said he had asked Dayal to have faith in his slower ball during the final over, since he felt bowlers had struggled for control while attempting the yorker on the night. CSK's fast bowlers sent down 13 full-tosses and their RCB counterparts six.
"I said pace off on this wicket is the best option," du Plessis said. "Trust your skills, you've been really good, and enjoy this. This is supposed to be what you train for. So he tried to bowl the first one as a yorker, but the whole night the yorker wasn't working, so told him to go back to his pace-off and he did that unbelievably well."
'It felt like a day-five Test match in Ranchi'
A spell of rain three overs into RCB's innings made conditions tricky in various ways through the night. First, it left a layer of moisture on the pitch, helping CSK's spinners turn the ball alarmingly for around half an hour after the match resumed. Du Plessis batted through this period alongside Virat Kohli, who scored a crucial 49 off 27 balls, and he later felt the conditions during that phase were among the toughest he had batted in.
"I thought that was the hardest pitch I've ever played on after that rain," he said. "Myself and Virat were talking about a score of 140-150, that's how hard it felt.
"Look, at that stage, the communication to the umpires was that there was a lot of rain falling on the pitch and you don't want that moisture. So from their [CSK's] side, they probably wanted to push the game as well, which makes sense, but when we came back, my goodness, it felt like a day-five Test match in Ranchi. I've never played in something like that. For me and Virat to just get through it and find a way somehow.... and then in the back end to get a 200-score was unbelievable."
Conditions eventually eased out, and RCB finished 218 for 5 with their middle-order quartet of Rajat Patidar, Cameron Green, Dinesh Karthik and Glenn Maxwell contributing 109 off 51 balls between them. Du Plessis felt the middle order had been a key part of RCB's revival through the back half of their league campaign.
"That's been our last six games, hasn't it? Contributions from many batters with good intensity and good strike-rates," du Plessis said. "Really proud of [the batters]. At the beginning of the season, we felt like we were a little slow and we wanted a bit more intent in our batting innings. And to have done that again is awesome."
'Even when we weren't winning, we had the fans here'
Du Plessis had a word of thanks for RCB's fervent home support too, noting that the fans had kept thronging the Chinnaswamy and kept chanting the team's name even when they were bottom of the table with just one win in their first eight games.
"It was crazy," du Plessis said. "Even when we weren't winning, we had the fans here. So we felt in the changing room that it was something that was important for us to get right. Coming in here today, and seeing [the support], obviously it was set up perfectly, wasn't it? CSK vs RCB, in a match where you go through to the knockout stages. Unbelievable atmosphere but incredibly grateful for the support we've had all season. As a team, we'll do a lap of honour just to thank everyone for their support."