Johannesburg - Proteas white-ball coach Rob Walter may have been involved in robust discussions at Cricket SA’s annual coaches conference on Monday, but he no doubt would have been keeping one eye on Bangalore.
At the conclusion of the international season Walter proclaimed that he will be spending the off-season "mostly watching the IPL."
And if he did indeed tune into last night’s action, Walter would have noticed that his burgeoning all-rounder Sisanda Magala was not able to take the field due to a hand injury and that Wayne Parnell (1/48) faced a baptism of fire on a batting paradise at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
However, he would have also received yet another strong message from former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis that he is by no means a spent force.
.@ChennaiIPL come out on top in the mid-table clash as they beat #RCB by 8 runs in highly entertaining and run-filled #TATAIPL match. 👏 👏— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 17, 2023
Scorecard ▶️ https://t.co/QZwZlNk1Tt#RCBvCSK pic.twitter.com/jlEz6KmM0V
In fact, Du Plessis is globally among the leading T20I batters as he once again illustrated on Monday evening with a blistering 62 off 33 balls (5x4, 4x6) that propelled him to the top of the IPL run-scoring charts.
Du Plessis has amassed 259 runs at an average of 64.75 and strike-rate of 172.67 to move past Kolkata Knight Riders’ Venkatesh Iyer, who has 234 runs.
Since being appointed earlier this year, Walter has been transparent from the outset that he rates Du Plessis highly, particularly in T20 cricket.
The duo have already met behind closed doors to discuss Du Plessis’ reintegration into the Proteas T20I set-up, although nothing has yet been finalised.
Du Plessis, 38, last tasted international cricket in the third and final T20I in the Covid-19 interrupted series against England on December 1 2020.
Although Du Plessis would be 40 years old when the next T20 World Cup is held in the West Indies and the United States of America in 2024, he showed that he remains in peak physical condition too as he fought through the pain of an injured rib while compiling a high-quality innings.
“Early on while fielding, I thought I just winded my rib but as the innings went on I felt discomfort,” he said after receiving treatment on the field.
“I tried to avoid taking my shirt off but had to do it in the end, sorry boys.”
Du Plessis’ 126-run partnership with Glenn Maxwell (76 off 36 balls, 3x4, 8x6) was electrifying and had everyone within the Chinnaswamy Stadium on their feet, but unfortunately it was not enough as RCB fell short by eight runs to the Chennai Super Kings.
“I thought we batted perfectly. The last five overs were set up well, I thought DK (Dinesh Karthik) would clinch it but those lost four overs we let it slip. At the toss, I said 200 was par, it was 10-15 too many,” Du Plessis said.
“We couldn't manage to finish it off, but we got to move on. I lost a little bit of power towards the end, was disappointed as I got stiff. Needed to keep going harder against the spinners in the middle overs.”