The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) total wasn’t really an intimidating one, but their bowlers stood up to the challenge to earn the team its third win of the season.
In spite of Virat Kohli (59 off 47 balls) and Faf du Plessis (84 off 56 balls) authoring a 137-run opening stand against Punjab Kings, RCB could only put up 174/4 after being asked to bat at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Thursday. But the RCB bowlers, led by Mohammed Siraj (4/21), did their job well to take their side to a 24-run win. Punjab Kings — once again without regular captain Shikhar Dhawan — folded for 150 with 10 balls still left in the innings.
Kohli, who led RCB in this game as regular skipper Du Plessis (playing with a rib injury) was replaced by Impact Player Vijaykumar Vyshak at the halfway stage, also did a decent job with his bowling changes after a not-so-impressive strike rate (125.53) with the bat. Compared to Kohli, Du Plessis struck at 150, hitting five fours and as many sixes. The finish to their innings, though, was far from ideal.
But Siraj’s bowling made up for that. His first strike came in the second ball of Punjab’s run chase. Bowling a fuller line, he got the ball to shape in just a little and that trapped Atharva Taide lbw.
Then, in the fourth over, his stump-to-stump line got the better of an advancing Liam Livingstone (replacing Sikandar Raza). That was before Siraj hurt Punjab Kings further with a direct hit to run Harpreet Singh out.
Impact Player Prabhsimran Singh (46), who replaced leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, and keeper-batter Jitesh Sharma (41) fought hard to keep Punjab Kings’ prospects alive. Jitesh was still going strong after Wayne Parnell castled Prabhsimran, but he ran out of partners as Siraj cleaned up Harpreet Brar and Nathan Ellis in his final over.
RCB then needed just one more wicket, and Jitesh eventually fell to Harshal Patel. Credit also goes to Sri Lankan spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (2/39) for removing M. Shahrukh Khan at a critical phase.
Punjab were also let down by stand-in captain Sam Curran’s casual effort which led to his run-out dismissal.
Too early to worry about points: Virat
Calcutta: The Royal Challengers Bangalore picked up their first away win of the season as they defeated Punjab Kings by 24 runs, but Virat Kohli, who led the side on Thursday, thinks it is not the time to focus too much on the points table.
“This (win) does not make us an invincible team, or our position before today (Thursday) did not make us a bad team. The table cannot define you when you have just played five or six games. We have to maintain our processes and stay in the moment,” Kohli said.
Kohli (59) and Faf du Plessis (84) gave their team a flying start, but RCB could not end with a flourish, managing 174/4 in the end. Kohli felt it was a good score.
“We felt 175 was a good score on this pitch. I told them that was more than enough. All we had to do was be confident and hold the ball in hand looking to get wickets. The way you win games in T20 cricket is by taking wickets... Our fielding was brilliant.”