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Momentum has taken the pressure off RCB ahead of 'Southern Derby', says du Plessis

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Mumbai, April 12 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Faf du Plessis is confident his players will not be under pressure when they clash against the Ravindra Jadeja-led Chennai Super Kings in the ‘Southern Derby later on Tuesday.

Over the years, the contest between RCB and CSK — the four-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions — has become one of the most-anticipated clashes of the tournament, and pressure and emotions are high both on and off the field.

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However, du Plessis, who took over the reins of the side from long-serving skipper Virat Kohli, allayed fears on Tuesday that his side would likely buckle under pressure. Speaking on RCB Bold Diaries, the former South African captain — who was also part of the CSK camp between 2018 and 2021 — said, “No, we’re obviously playing some nice cricket at the moment, so we’ve got a bit of form going into the match. But we also know that Chennai are a team that you can never write off.

“They’ve got some incredible cricketers there. So, it’s going to be a great game, and I’m looking forward to that. (Australian pace bowler Josh) Hazlewood has joined us, it’s nice for him as well; it’s his first game back, and he’s also playing against his old team.”

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RCB are coming into the contest having won three of their four games and are currently third on the IPL points table, while CSK are 10th and last after losing all their four matches so far in this edition.

Speaking of Hazlewood, who has joined the camp, du Plessis said that the Australian quick had been made aware of the dynamics and environment of the side, and what the team expects of him in IPL 2022.

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“We have conversations with every single player in the team, just to be clear on what we expect from them, from an overall point of view, from the team dynamics, from the environment, from the culture; just making everyone feel a part of the journey.

“And I think players enjoy that there’s communication always. I’m a big believer in over-communicating so people know exactly where they stand, what they need to do, what they’re doing well, what they need to improve on; communication for me is always really important,” added du Plessis.

Having been in the Chennai dressing room for a long time, does it make it is easy for du Plessis to captain against them, knowing the players at CSK inside out?

“In theory, yes because you know the players well. But the flip side is they also know me, they know my game very well as well. There’s that balance I suppose. But, yes, it helps to know a little bit more about player strengths, areas that you can hopefully try and see as a little bit of a weakness. It’s two strong teams competing, looking forward to it,” said du Plessis.

–IANS

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