Due to the brilliant performance of Kohli and Karthik, RCB defeated Punjab in spectacular style

Kohli and Karthik

Virat Kohli’s 100th T20 half-century set the stage as RCB registered a four-wicket win over Punjab Kings at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday night. After restricting PBKS to 176/8 in their 20 overs, Kohli took full advantage of the early respite as he chased down the target when he was yet to open his account, while Dinesh Karthik put the finishing touches on RCB in the death overs. Helped in scoring four runs. Extra balls.

RCB control the powerplay

Despite Dhawan playing some brilliant aerial drives, RCB managed to keep Punjab’s score in check throughout the powerplay. Yash Dayal swung the ball early in a tough spell of the new ball and Siraj took the wicket of Jonny Bairstow. After a few pitched-up deliveries sent over the on-side fence by the English opener, Siraj pulled back his length and Bairstow missed his pull to the cover region. A positive start from Prabhsimram Singh laid the foundation for a strong partnership for the second wicket, but RCB were the happier team with only 40/1 on the board at the end of the powerplay.

Maxwell’s mixed bag and Joseph’s return

Maxwell, after the time-out, was welcomed with a boundary by Dhawan and smashed for a six to deep backward square by Prabhsimran but the allrounder managed to cut short the latter’s entertaining knock on 25. It was the extra bounce that did him in as Prabhsimran looked to pull but instead top-edged. Maxwell was in for some more punishment with Liam Livingstone pulling a short ball for four and even managing to clear the ropes despite mistiming his slog-sweep.

However, Maxwell began his third over of the middle-overs spell with the key wicket of Dhawan, getting the ball to spin away as the batter gave the charge. This was one ball after Alzarri Joseph made a good comeback from a 10-run opening over to end the Livingstone threat on 17. As RCB continued to chip away, Punjab managed just 71 runs for 3 wickets in the middle-overs period.

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Jitesh, Shashank cameos propel Punjab

Jitesh Sharma drove the half-century partnership with Sam Curran, the highlight of which was the back-to-back sixes off Mayank Dagar in an expensive 17-run over. However, miserly 17h and 19th overs from Joseph and Siraj respectively managed to keep Punjab under the lid for most of the death overs as well. Their 170-plus total was only possible due to a Shashank Sngh blinder in the final over from Joseph that went for 20. The Punjab batter made an excellent first impression in his 8-ball 21, hammering a couple of maximums off a flick and a hook and following it up with a four more.

Kohli makes PBKS pay for early drop

It was the second ball of RCB’s chase and Kohli was yet to get off the mark when Bairstow failed to hold on to a regulation take at first slip. That drop cost RCB 77 runs starting with the four off the same delivery as the ball raced to the third region. Kohli dealt in boundaries – driving Curran through the covers twice more in the opening over, gave the charge to Rabada for a gorgeous lofted drive and picking three more in Arshdeep Singh’s second over.

In just the four overs, Kohli had eight of them to his name, giving RCB control even as Kagiso Rabada removed compatriot Faf du Plessis and Cameron Green for three each. The fifty – 100th in T20 cricket – came off just 31 balls, and Kohli kept bringing out the release shots every time as Punjab managed to pull things back a little.

The inside-out six off Chahar after a couple of miserly overs and the pull to welcome Harshal Patel back in the attack helped RCB move on after Harpreet Brar cleaned up Rajat Patidar and sent back Maxwell cheaply. He moved into the 70s with back-to-back fours off Harshal – a full toss down leg and a short one outside off – but the bowler had the last laugh as Punjab sensed an opening.

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Karthik and Lomror take RCB over the line

The seventh-wicket pair both began with boundaries off Curran to catch up with the asking rate. Lomror went after Arshdeep with a six down the ground and a short ball pulled to the fence next in a 13-run over, while Harshal came in the firing line next as Karthik did the same in the penultimate over that also went for 13. With 10 to get off the final over, the experienced finisher polished off the chase in just two balls – a premeditated scoop for a first-ball six followed by a four hammered down straight past the bowler to help RCB collect their first points.

What’s next for them?

Bangalore will host KKR next at home on Friday, whereas Punjab heads back north, to Lucknow, for their second away game on the trot.

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