Kohli stars in RCB win, PBKS out of playoff race

Virat Kohli for RCB (Image: IPL)

Royal Challengers Bengaluru extended their winning streak to four matches as they defeated Punjab Kings by a massive margin of 60 runs. It kept them in the IPL 2024 playoff race, while bolstering their net run rate significantly to 0.22. Chasing RCB’s 241/7, PBKS were bowled out for 181 in 17 overs.

RCB, however, still need a few other results to go their way. PBKS, on the other hand, are now out of the top-four reckoning.

Virat Kohli dominated the show with the bat, with support from Rajat Patidar and Cameron Green. RCB, then, followed it up with a professional bowling performance.

Kohli’s dominance

Kohli’s batting brilliance was the cornerstone of RCB’s innings. His exceptional knock of 92 runs from 47 balls showcased his class and ability to dominate the opposition. Kohli’s aggressive stroke-play, including six towering sixes and seven fours, propelled RCB to an imposing total. He was dropped in the first over, but the innings underscored Kohli’s importance as a match-winner for RCB. Interestingly, it was only the second time in the IPL that Kohli was dismissed in the 90s. Nonetheless, the opener striking at 195.74 has to be a delightful sight for fans, especially with the T20 World Cup round the corner.

The batting great extended his lead in the Orange Cap race with 634 runs in 12 matches at an average of 70.44.

“(It) was important for me to keep up the strike-rate right through (laughs). I was just focused on taking the momentum forward. There was a tricky phase when Rajat got out, and there was a break for rain and hail. We had a bit of a stop of momentum. Had to rebuild for 8-10 balls. Once the base was set and Cam got a few boundaries away, I thought I had to go again,” Kohli told the host broadcaster during the innings break.

“(The) surface was pretty dry underneath and there was some grass cover as well. If you saw, Faf and I got done by lack of pace off the pitch. There was a two-paced feel with the new ball, which I think is a great opportunity for our bowlers to make early inroads and exploit that swing out there,” he added. “We thought anything over 230 would be a good total here. That was the only mindset. That was a hell of an over from Harshal (Patel) in the last over, otherwise we would have been 250-plus.”

Crucial partnerships

While Kohli’s innings was pivotal, the support from his teammates in building partnerships played a crucial role in RCB’s batting performance. A 76-run partnership with Patidar and the subsequent contributions from Green ensured that RCB’s innings maintained momentum. The partnerships not only stabilised the innings but also enabled RCB to accelerate towards a commanding total. The ability of the batters, especially Patidar (55 off 23) and Green (46 off 27), to complement each other and build partnerships showcased RCB’s depth in batting. And Dinesh Karthik’s seven-ball 18 completed a stellar batting show for the side.


PBKS leak runs

While RCB’s batting display was impressive, PBKS’ bowling unit struggled to contain the opposition. Some early opportunities, such as the dropped catch of Kohli in the first over and a few after that, were not taken. PBKS thus failed to put pressure on the RCB batters on a regular note. Sloppy misfields made matters worse. The RCB batters kept on smashing loose deliveries. Additionally, PBKS’ inability to break key partnerships, especially the pivotal stand between Kohli and Patidar, further highlighted their bowling woes. Sam Curran conceding 50 off his three overs, Arshdeep Singh leaking 41 off his three and Rahul Chahar going for 47 in three overs summed up the struggles of the PBKS bowling attack.

Rossouw’s push not enough

After the early wicket of opener Prabhsimran Singh, Rilee Rossouw, at No. 3, got going as he unleashed an array of strokes. He smashed 61 off 27 deliveries, powered by nine boundaries and three sixes, at a strike-rate of 225.93. However, Karn Sharma dismissed him in the ninth over to bring RCB back in the game, as the southpaw failed to clear the long-on boundary. While PBKS batters tried to maintain a healthy strike-rate, with Shashank Singh scoring 37 off 19 balls, wickets kept tumbling at one end. Eventually, PBKS fell short by 60 runs.