IPL 2021: Rahul, Brar star as Punjab Kings beat RCB by 34 runs

Dubai - Left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar wipes off the big three — Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers after KL Rahul's 91

Harpreet Brar (left) of Punjab Kings celebrates after dismissing Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli in Ahmedabad on Friday night. — BCCI/IPL
Harpreet Brar (left) of Punjab Kings celebrates after dismissing Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli in Ahmedabad on Friday night. — BCCI/IPL

By James Jose

Published: Fri 30 Apr 2021, 9:42 PM

Captain KL Rahul conjured his fourth half-century of the season and young left-arm spinner Harpreet broke the back of the famed Royal Challengers Bangalore batting line-up as the Punjab Kings strode to a convincing victory on Friday night.

After opener Rahul cracked an unbeaten 91 from 57 deliveries with seven boundaries and five sixes, his 25th IPL fifty, to take them to 179-5, the 25-year-old Brar, playing his first match of the season, wiped off the big three — RCB skipper Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers — to script a 34-run win in Ahmedabad.

Brar spun a web over RCB with two wickets off successive deliveries — foxing Kohli (35) and having the Indian captain castled and then cleaned up Maxwell. Brar then had de Villiers caught by Rahul at extra cover to finish with enviable figures of 3-19 from his four overs.

Leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi ended up with two for 17.

Rahul has now racked up 284 runs in his last three visits against RCB, with him batting through the innings on all three occasions.

The 29-year-old has so far accumulated 331 runs from seven matches and that saw the Bangalorean wrest the Orange Cap from Shikhar Dhawan of the Delhi Capitals.

West Indian Chris Gayle made a 24-ball 46 with six fours and two sixes.

The Punjab Kings tasted their third victory to move one spot from sixth to fifth on the table, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered only their second defeat to remain third.

Earlier, Rahul got things rolling with a pulled six off medium pacer Mohammed Siraj in the second over. Rahul’s new opening partner Prabhsimran Singh then lofted a straight drive past Daniel Sams for a boundary in the third over. The youngster’s attempt to accelerate came undone as he was gobbled up by RCB skipper Virat Kohli at extra cover off Kyle Jamieson.

Chris Gayle, playing against former employers, got cracking with the ‘Universe Boss’ carting Jamieson for five boundaries as 20 runs came off that sixth over and the Punjab Kings reached 49 for one from the powerplay.

KL Rahul and Gayle forged together an 80-run partnership for the second wicket but the latter fell in sight of his first half century of the season and 31st in the IPL. The towering Jamaican edged a bouncer from Sams into the safe gloves of wicketkeeper AB de Villiers after making 46 from just 24 balls, studded with six boundaries and two sixes off Yuzvendra Chahal.

But it was not before the Punjab Kings had reached 90 for one in the first 10 overs. Gayle’s compatriot Nicholas Pooran’s poor run of form continued with the left-hander snapped up by Shahbaz Ahmed at backward point off Jamieson for a nought. It was his fourth duck of the tournament with him hitting double figures only once, against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous game, when he made 19.

Rahul and Harpreet Brar then added 61 runs from just 32 balls for the unbroken sixth wicket. Brar remained not out on 25 from 17 balls with two sixes and a boundary.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore made just one change with Shahbaz Ahmed replacing Washington Sundar.

The Punjab Kings, meanwhile, had three changes, one forced with opener Mayank Agarwal ruled out due to a niggle. Moises Henriques and Arshdeep Singh joined him on the sidelines, with Prabhsimran Singh, Riley Meredith and Harpreet Brar coming in.

The Punjab Kings take on the Delhi Capitals on Sunday, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore square off against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday.


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