IPL 2024: Bowlers, Kohli and Karthik help RCB overpower PBKS by four wickets (ld)

Talismanic batter Virat Kohli produced a vintage batting performance through a magnificent 77 while Dinesh Karthik blitzed an unbeaten 10-ball 28

Bengaluru, March 26 (IANS) Talismanic batter Virat Kohli produced a vintage batting performance through a magnificent 77 while Dinesh Karthik blitzed an unbeaten 10-ball 28 to guide Royal Challengers Bengaluru to their first win of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 after beating Punjab Kings by four wickets at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Monday.

After the bowlers, led by brilliant spells from Mohammed Siraj (2/26), Yash Dayal (1/23) and Glenn Maxwell (2/29) kept Punjab Kings to 176/6, Kohli entertained the capacity crowd with a stunning 49-ball 77, laced with two sixes and 11 fours. He was fortunate to dish out another masterclass in chasing in T20s, after being dropped by Jonny Bairstow for nought at the start of the chase. But when Harshal Patel took him out in the 16th over, RCB looked in a spot of bother.

They needed 47 runs off 22 balls, with PBKS powered in their defence by spells of 2-13 from Harpreet Brar and Kagiso Rabada’s double strike in Power-play. But Karthik walked in and smashed an unbeaten 28 off 10 balls, laced with three fours and two sixes, to script yet another finishing act for RCB. The veteran wicketkeeper-batter shared an unbroken 48-run standoff 18 balls with Mahipal Lomror (17 not out) to help RCB get over the line with four balls to spare and maintain the trend of hosts winning matches so far in the competition.

Chasing 177, Kohli began by edging without any footwork against Curran and Bairstow couldn’t catch the ball to concede a boundary. He would go on to drive Curran through covers twice and clip past short fine leg to take 16 runs off the opening over. Even as Kohli got the RCB innings off to a flier with three authoritative boundaries off Arshdeep Singh, wickets fell from the other end as captain Faf du Plessis mistimed the loft off Kagiso Rabada to mid-on and Cameron Green nicked behind off the fast bowler.

PBKS effected a slowdown via Curran, and Harshal Patel varying their pace and variations while Harpreet Brar bowled mostly in the length area and maintained a stump-to-stump line. But it didn’t have much effect on Kohli as he smoked Rahul Chahar over extra cover for six, before reaching his fifty in 31 balls.

Brar’s efforts paid off when he castled an impatient Rajat Patidar and had Glenn Maxwell chop onto his stumps. Kohli put RCB in control by pulling and glancing at Harshal Patel for six and four respectively. He then hit the pacer for back-to-back fours – swipe across the line and cream through extra cover – before slicing to deep backward point.

After Anuj Rawat was foxed by a slower ball from Curran, Lomror played the second fiddle with his flick and pull finding boundaries, while Karthik was calm in glancing, swiping, pulling and pre-mediating a scoop for a late flurry of boundaries, before finishing off the chase with a drive hammered down the ground to spark jubilant scenes for RCB and its supportive fans in the stadium.

Previously, a sizzling late cameo from Shashank Singh (21 not out) helped Punjab Kings reach 176/6 in an innings that never got going. On a pitch that had some help for the bowlers, RCB used the two-bouncer rule to good use by planning and executing the bumpers well to prise out the PBKS power-hitters, giving away only 48 runs in the last five overs.

Pushed into batting first, Shikhar Dhawan and Jonny Bairstow hit three boundaries collectively, before the latter top-edged a pull off Siraj to cover. While Dayal impressed with his frugal Power-play spells and not giving batters any room, Prabhsimran Singh got off the mark with an on-drive, presenting the full face of the bat for a boundary.

Dhawan stepped up by driving Alzarri Joseph twice for boundaries, before lofting and cutting off Mayank Dagar and Maxwell for six and four respectively. On the other hand, Prabhsimran sliced, whipped and heaved with ease to collect four and two sixes.

The 55-run stand for the second wicket ended when Prabhsimran’s top edge on the pull off Maxwell was safely pouched by Rawat. Liam Livingstone tried to shore up the scoring rate by hammering Maxwell for a six and four but ended up giving a top edge to Rawat off a short ball from Joseph.

On the very next ball, Dhawan danced down the pitch to loft off Maxwell but holed out to long-on. Jitesh Sharma began well by slamming Dagar for back-to-back sixes over the bowler’s head and deep square leg. From the other end, Curran was dealing with hitting fours off fuller deliveries, as he and Jitesh added 50 runs off 35 balls for the fifth wicket. But Dayal broke the partnership with a well-directed bouncer which Curran looked to pull but was cramped for room and gloved behind to Rawat, who jumped to stretch out his right arm and take the catch in thin air.

In the next over, Jitesh tried to slap a bouncer off Siraj on the off-side, but it went high in the air and Rawat took the catch. Shashank flicked and hammered Joseph for a brace of sixes in the final over, before slashing a four over short third man to take 20 runs off the final over and take Punjab past 170.

Brief scores:

Punjab Kings 176/6 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 45, Jitesh Sharma 27; Mohammed Siraj 2-26, Glenn Maxwell 2-29) lost to Royal Challengers Bengaluru 178/6 in 19.2 overs (Virat Kohli 77; Dinesh Karthik 28 not out; Harpreet Brar 2-13, Kagiso Rabada 2-23) by four wickets



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