Punjab Kings pull off a shocker against Kohli's RCB
Kolkata: Harpreet Brar, a little known left-arm spinner, turned an unlikely hero for Punjab Kings against Royal Challengers Bangalore this evening. Playing his first match this season, he turned the match on it's head by picking up the prize wickets of Virat Kohli (35), Glenn Maxwell (0) and AB de Villiers (3) in a space of two overs to set up a 34-run win for his team.
Just when it looked a target of 180 should be within reach for the high octane batting line-up of RCB, Australian speedster Riley Meredith struck early to castle Devdutt Padikkal with only 19 runs on the board. The lively opening spells from Meredith and Mohammed Shami created some pressure on RCB batsmen, who managed just 35 runs in the powerplay.
Earlier, captain KL Rahul's late charge during a masterly innings of unbeaten 91 and a cameo from Brar (25 off 17 balls) took Punjab to a par score of 179 for five wickets - but not really a match-winning one.
However, the spin combination of Brar and leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/17) pulled off the riot act.
Relive the match as it happened ...
KL Rahul's late charge takes Punjab to 179/5
Kolkata: Captain KL Rahul's late charge during a masterly innings of unbeaten 91 and a cameo from Harpreet Brar (25 off 17 balls) took Punjab Kings to a fighting total of 179 for five wickets against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Ahmedabad today.
It was an opportunity wasted for Punjab to put at least a 190-plus total on board on this wicket as they were given a perfect launchpad by Rahul and Chris Gayle's blazing 80-run partnership for the second wicket. However, once the 'Universe Boss' fell for 46 off 24 balls, their innings went in disarray till a late blitz gave it a final push.
The total is not enough to defend against an in-form RCB batting line-up and Punjab bowlers need to strike early to nurse any hopes of an upset.
RCB pack a punch against Punjab Kings
Kolkata: It will take an extraordinary effort from KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings, placed sixth in the table, to put Royal Challengers Bangalore in a spot of bother when they face off at the gigantic Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad today.
The Ahmedabad surface is likely to see a batting fest with both sides loaded with enough firepower, but Punjab’s best chance lies in chasing here – should they be able to contain Virat Kohli’s men at a par score. Incidentally, Glenn Maxwell may have a point to prove against Rahul’s men as he was dropped by the franchise after a rather poor season with the bat in the UAE.
RCB, with 10 points from six matches, have a play-off spot within their grasp while Punjab still have a mountain to climb with just two wins from an equal number of matches. It’s time for Rahul’s men to show that they are just not there to make up the numbers.
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