Punjab Kings buried Royal Challengers Bangalore under a deluge of runs as they kept their play-off hopes alive with a 54-run win in IPL 2022, riding outstanding half-centuries from Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone on Friday. Bairstow (66 from 29 balls) and Livingstone (70 from 42 balls) propelled Punjab Kings to 209 for 9 in a game to be won and the scoreboard would always be telling as RCB was limited to 155 for 9 in 20 overs.
While Punjab remains in the mix with 12 points from as many matches, the margin of victory significantly improved their net run rate to 0.210 and RCB is -0.323 despite 14 points from 13 matches.
RCB will have to win their last game and go to 16 points, but now also need to have some of the green with some favorable results coming their way.
It was another day and another failure for Virat Kohli (20), who got a faint tickle under the edge of his gloves before it hit his thigh and rose to short fine leg of a Kagiso Rabada (4-0-21-3 ) delivery.
Rabada was literally unplayable on the day as he worked a good tempo and reached the ideal full length for a greater part of his spell.
Rishi Dhawan (4-0-36-2), arguably the weakest link in Punjab’s attack, then made up for his lack of pace by hitting impeccable length as Faf du Plessis shoved one at Jitesh Sharma behind stumps and Mahipal Lomror’s raspy pull shot was taken by Shikhar Dhawan.
Rajat Patidar (26) and Glenn Maxwell (35) added 64 runs, but they never entered the game and both left in quick succession.
And when Dinesh Karthik (11) was knocked out by the brilliant Arshdeep Singh (4-0-27-1) with a wide yorker and a flyout by a short third man on the circle, RCB retired in no time.
Earlier, Bairstow’s opening blitzkrieg found its ideal match in the latest Livingstone massacre.
While Bairstow laid the foundation with a 29-ball-66, Livingstone was as good at his 42-ball-70 as the RCB bowlers had a day they would soon forget.
Rusty in the early stages of the tournament, Bairstow was back in his element with a whopping seven sixes and four limits during a knock that literally went to hell for leather.
His dominance was such that by the time six overs of Powerplay ended, Bairstow had hit seven towering sixes and Shikhar Dhawan (21 from 15 balls) was rubbing salt in the wound with another, making it a total of eight.
Punjab Kings, who had laid the groundwork for a flaming Powerplay start, got 83 in six overs with Glenn Maxwell (1/17 in 2 overs), Josh Hazlewood (0/64 in 4 overs) and Mohammed Siraj (0/36 in 2 overs) ) is treated with the utmost contempt.
Although Maxwell managed to get hold of Dhawan, both Hazlewood and Siraj were guilty of bowling short on a field that offered a real bounce. Bairstow pulled them effortlessly into the stands and by the time the supplies came they landed in the stands too. It only helped that the line was only 66 yards on one side, which is a power-hitter’s dream.
Siraj had a memorable first spell hitting for four sixes while Hazlewood had gone over 22 in his first. The Australian had his worst IPL numbers ever.
However, after Powerplay, when Wanindu Hasaranga (2/15 in 4 overs) and Shahbaz Ahmed (1/40 in 4 overs) started working, RCB stopped the flow of runs with some tight wicket-to-wicket bowling.
Bangladeshi left arm spinner Shahbaz was rewarded for his clean lines when Bairstow finally timed one wrong and Siraj did well to bag the skier.
After 83 in the first six, there was a drastic dip in scoring as 22 came between the 7th and 10th overs.
Both Hasaranga and Shahbaz bowled wide outside the off-stump, preventing Livingstone and Agarwal from storming the course.
Still, the Englishman managed to get a pair of sixes and a reverse boundary to continue his good form in the competition and then muscled into the stands towards the end of the match, even though Harshal Patel was (4/34 in 4 overs) exceptional at death.
His fifty came from 35 balls and by the time he was out he had four of those 14 sixes in the Punjab innings.
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