All-round RCB keep playoff hopes alive with 60-run win vs Punjab Kings

NEW DELHI: Virat Kohli and Rajat Patidar delivered impressive fifties before the bowlers shone, helping Royal Challengers Bengaluru keep their playoff hopes alive with a dominant 60-run victory over Punjab Kings in the IPL on Thursday.
Kohli’s 47-ball 92 was the foundation of RCB’s innings, as he excelled in two partnerships: 72 runs off 32 balls with Patidar (55 off 23 balls) and 92 runs off 46 balls with Cameron Green (46 off 27 balls), propelling RCB to 241/7.
In response, Rilee Rossouw dazzled with a 27-ball 61, but Karn Sharma’s twin breakthroughs sparked a collapse as PBKS were bowled out for 181 in 17 overs.
This marked RCB’s fourth consecutive win, bringing them to 10 points, while PBKS were eliminated from the playoff race with 8 points, as they can only reach a maximum of 12 points from their remaining two games.
Swapnil Singh (2/28), Karn (2/36) and Lockie Ferguson (2/29) took two each, while Mohammed Siraj (3/43) claimed three wickets for RCB.
Chasing a stiff target, PBKS lost Prabhsimran Singh (6) early but Rossouw looked unstoppable as left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh was carted for two fours before Siraj was belted for three fours and a six.
Yash Dayal and Ferguson were then hit for 16 and 14 runs by Jonny Bairstow (27) and Rossouw as PBKS scored 75 runs in six overs.
Once Bairstow was removed by Ferguson, Rossouw turned his attention on Green, blasting two fours and a six on way to his fifty off 21 balls.
Jitesh Sharma was then cleaned up by Karn, while Swapnil got rid of Liam Livingstone (0) as Punjab slipped to 126 for 5 in 12th over.
They couldn’t recover from those blows and it was all over when Shashank Singh (37), Sam Curran (22) and Ashutosh Sharma (8) returned to the dugout.
Earlier, Kohli, who was dropped on 0 and 10, timed the ball nicely, used his feet and wrists to bring up his sixth IPL fifty this season. He reached his mark in 32 balls, before slamming another 40 in his next 15 balls. He cracked seven fours and six maximums.
Patidar, who was also given two lives, provided the early momentum as he slammed six maximums and three fours during his 23-ball 55.
After Patidar’s dismissal, Kohli and Green continued the onslaught to take RCB past the 200-mark. Green hit five fours and a six before being caught in the final ball as RCB scored 77 in last five overs.
Pacer Vidhwath Kaverappa (2/36) picked up two wickets in the powerplay on his IPL debut but his figures could have been much better had the fielders not dropped three catches off his bowling.
Kohli was dropped in the third ball but Kaverappa dismissed Faf du Plessis (9) and removed Will Jacks (12) but PBKS couldn’t create pressure as Sam Curran (1/50) and Harshal Patel (3/38) leaked runs.
Patel, who had dropped Patidar, conceded three boundaries in his first over as RCB scored 56 in the powerplay.
It started raining sixes thereafter as Kohli and Patidar slammed a maximum each to spoil Kaverappa’s bowling figures.
Patidar then creamed spinner Rahul Chahar for three mighty maximums before depositing Arshdeep and Sam Curran for two more sixes, the last one bringing up his fifty in 21 balls.
With Patidar on fire, RCB crossed 100 in the ninth over. Curran, however, got rid of Patidar in the 10th over, when rain halted play for a brief while.
After resumption, Kohli completed his fifty and hit Livingstone for two fours.
Green brought up the 150 with a four off Patel. Kohli then went berserk as he slog swept Livingstone for a six, while Curran was deposited over mid-wicket for a 94-metre maximum. He sent one over long-on for another maximum.
Dinesh Karthik (18) played a cameo before Patel claimed three wickets in last over.
(With inputs from PTI)

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