Virat Kohli returned as Royal Challengers Bangalore captain, for the first time since October 2021, and forged a 137-run opening stand with Faf du Plessis (84, 56b, 5x4, 5x6) to pave the way for his team’s 24-run win against Punjab Kings in a crucial Indian Premier League (IPL) fixture at the IS Bindra Stadium on Thursday.
With regular skipper du Plessis, who is recovering from a rib injury, turning up only as an Impact Player, Kohli was given the responsibility of leading RCB, and he brought up his fourth half-century of the season (59, 47b, 5x4, 1x6) to guide the team to 174 for four.
Put in to bat, RCB got off to a flier, with Kohli and du Plessis taking the team at almost 10 runs an over in the PowerPlay as PBKS’ frontline bowlers failed to find breakthroughs. Arshdeep Singh and Sam Curran employed the short-ball tactic, but that did not prove effective as the visiting team raced to 91 for no loss in 10 overs.
With both Kohli and du Plessis hitting boundaries at will, the team looked on course for a 185-plus total, but RCB slowed down drastically and could manage only 83 runs in the last 10 overs.
As the game progressed, Kohli got stuck for a while and Harpreet Brar, bowling the 17th over, claimed the wickets of the RCB stand-in captain and Glenn Maxwell off consecutive deliveries to turn the tide.
The visiting team struggled thereafter. Though the seasoned du Plessis hit a couple of boundaries before being dismissed by Nathan Ellis, neither Dinesh Karthik, nor Mahipal Lomror could slog.
But as Punjab Kings came out to chase a tricky total, Mohammed Siraj (four for 21) breathed fire to restrict the home team to 150.
With Shikhar Dhawan missing due to a shoulder injury, Punjab Kings pinned its hopes on Liam Livingstone. But the England power-hitter failed to get going as he was trapped leg-before by Siraj.
As Siraj and spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (two for 39) tightened the noose, Punjab Kings was reeling at 43 for four inside the PowerPlay. Though Impact sub Prabhsimran Singh chipped in with a 30-ball-46, he threw his wicket away in the 12th over in an attempt to shift gears.
Jitesh Sharma made a last-ditch effort, with a 27-ball-41, and gave Punjab a ray of hope. But Siraj, in his fourth and final spell, claimed the wickets of Brar and Ellis in quick succession to dash Punjab’s hopes.
- Faith Kipyegon becomes first woman to complete 1500m, 5000m double at World Athletics Championships
- World Athletics Championships 2023: USA beats Jamaica to clinch women’s 4x100m relay gold
- World Athletics Championships 2023: Lyles emulates Bolt, completes sprint treble as USA wins men’s 4x100m relay gold
- World Athletics Championships 2023: Duplantis wins second straight gold in pole vault
- World Athletics Championships 2023: USA women disqualified from 4x400m relay after baton fail