IPL 2021 PBKS vs RCB: We were preparing Harpreet Brar - Punjab skipper Rahul

IPL 2021 PBKS vs RCB: Harpreet Brar took a three-wicket haul as Punjab Kings came up with a dominating performance to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 34 runs.

Harpreet Brar celebrates with Punjab captain KL Rahul after dismissing RCB skipper Virat Kohli.   -  IPL

Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul heaped praise on young spinner Harpreet Brar who starred with both bat and ball as PBKS beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 34 runs in match 26 of IPL 2021 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

In what was a must-win tie for Punjab to keep its chances alive in the tournament, Brar took a three-wicket haul (4-1-19-3) that included the prized scalps of Virat Kohli, Ab de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell to tame the famed Bangalore batting line-up.

IPL 2021: Rahul, Brar shine as Punjab beats Bangalore by 34 runs  

"We were preparing Brar. On a pitch like this, we felt like we needed a finger spinner who could hit hard lengths. He did exactly that and batted really well in the end as well. I am young myself, but I have been trying to speak to the boys and pass on whatever experience I have of IPL and international cricket. 

"They are blessed with enormous talent and we have to prepare them for the situations and the pressures they'd face in the middle as the captain and the support staff. Really makes me and the support staff very happy. There is nothing in particular against RCB, but all matches against them have been must-win games for us because of when they come in the tournament," Rahul said.

The skipper himself led from the front with a brilliant 57-ball 91 to grab the Orange Cap from Shikhar Dhawan.

PBKS vs RCB IPL 2021 Highlights: Punjab beats Bangalore by 34 runs; Harpreet, Rahul star  

" It was important for me to lead from the front and that's what I try to do every game. When I have the opportunity to put pressure on bowlers and set targets, I try to do it to the best of my ability. It came off well today," the Punjab skipper said.

Batting first, Punjab started slowly but gained momentum as Chris Gayle smashed a crucial 24-ball 46 and laid the platform for a late flourish.

"There is a lot written about Gayle, about his age and whether he should be playing. But I know as a captain, just his impact he has when he walks out is huge. I have played with him for 7-8 years and he keeps getting better and better. He is batting at three, something he hasn't done ever in his career, but he'll do that for the team. That's the kind of man Chris is. He takes the pressure off me at the top," Rahul said.

Player of the match for his brilliant performance, Brar said he will cherish the wicket of Kohli.

"I hail from Moga district. I am sure the people back home would be proud and happy. I wasn't overwhelmed when Kohli hit me because a bowler always gets a second chance to come back. My first IPL wicket was Kohli Paaji's wicket and that was very special. It came out in a flow after that, your body opens up, you get confident and things fall in place," Brar said.

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With the bat too, Brar made a significant contribution as he scored an unbeaten 25 off 17 balls and helped his side post a competitive total.

"When I came out to bat, I had the time to wait for a couple of overs. Rahul bhai was also talking to me about the conditions and about the shots I could play," he said. 

-Kohli reflects on loss-

Losing skipper Virat Kohli said that his side gave away extra runs towards the end after having Punjab on the ropes.

Bangalore stage a comeback by reducing Punjab to 116/5 but Rahul and Harpreet Brar came up with some late fireworks.

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"They got off to a good start but we pulled things back somewhat after five down. Should have been chasing 160, but we gave away 25-odd runs in the end. Focused too much on what the batters were doing. We got away from our plans. We gave too many bad balls for boundaries," Kohli said.

In reply, Bangalore failed to get off to a flying start and the lack of impetus in the top put pressure on the middle-order. 

"As batsmen, we could have tried different things early on. It was tough to hit through the line. It was all about trying to get a partnership and have a strike rate of more than 110. We were not able to do that as a batting unit. Just a few little tweaks we need to address going forward.

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"There are areas we need to improve. The composition of our team is such that we give him (Patidar) the freedom to play at number 3. It's (batting order) situational, this is a good balance for our batting line up. Rajat is a quality player, just that tonight wasn't his night," the Bangalore skipper added.