Recent Match Report – RCB vs PBKS 6th Match 2024

Royal Challengers Bengaluru 178 for 6 (Kohli 77, Karthik 28*, Brar 2-13, Rabada 2-23) beat Punjab Kings 176 for 6 (Dhawan 45, Jitesh 27, Siraj 2-26, Maxwell 2-29) by four wickets

A Virat Kohli masterclass in a tricky chase at a packed Chinnaswamy Stadium. A last-over thriller. An RCB win.

Everything that Royal Challengers Bengaluru fans would have wanted from their team’s first home game of the season, they got it. In spades. But, it didn’t come without a scare.

For the longest time, Kohli – the king of the chade – had things under control. Chasing 177, he had the crowd dancing to his tune as he smashed the Punjab Kings bowlers all around the park for a 49-ball 77.

Till he didn’t.

Harpreet Brar’s frugal spell of 2 for 13 after Kagiso Rabada’s two-wicket burst in the powerplay had RCB in a bind. The crowd was silenced. Were RCB going to become the first team this IPL to lose a home game?

His bio says he is 38. He is! But you wouldn’t believe that seeing him move around the crease, and up and down the pitch. With RCB requiring 47 off 22, Karthik walked in and smoked an unbeaten 28 off ten balls, with three fours and two sixes, to take RCB over the line with four balls to spare.

A Virat Kohli special for the Chinnaswamy to remember

But, it so nearly wasn’t.

Striding out to bat with a vociferous crowd behind him, Kohli took strike. Sam Curran got the ball to tail away from him first ball. It took a thick edge and went to short third. The next ball, Curran went closer, inviting a drive. Kohli took the bait and got a thick edge but the ball went too fast for Bairstow to react at first slip and burst through his hands. That was just the luck Kohli needed. He drove Curran through the covers next ball, then clipped him past short fine-leg, before creaming a half-volley through the covers to make it 16 runs off the first over.

Rabada then came on but Kohli was in no mood to show any respect, haring down the track and slamming him over cover. Kohli then took on Arshdeep Singh, thumping him for three fours in an over to race to 33 off 15 balls, the most runs he has scored in the first 15 balls ever in a T20 innings. Eight fours in his first 15 balls. Kohli was away, RCB were away.

RCB slow down, courtesy Brar and Rabada

Rabada got among the wickets first. He accounted for Faf du Plessis – the third time in three IPL innings – and then had Cameron Green edging behind with Jitesh Sharma taking a good low catch.

The real squeeze, though, was applied by Harpreet Brar and he did it with his length.

Four overs, 13 runs, two wickets and that’s while Kohli was on a rampage.

Sixteen of the 24 balls Brar bowled were on a length. From quite high up. He kept the speed on the quicker side, and more importantly, didn’t give the batters a chance to get under the ball. Both his wickets came off balls bowled at a length.

Rajat Patidar, frustrated at not getting anything away, went back to a flatter delivery looking for a hoick to the leg side, but missed and looked back to see his stumps in a mess. Glenn Maxwell then tried to open the off side up but was undone by an arm ball, and could only get an under-edge back on to his stumps. Brar did not concede a single boundary in his four-over spell. In fact, he only went for one double. The rest of it was all singles.

Yash Dayal puts the brakes on in the powerplay

Before Monday, Yash Dayal had played only one game at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in his T20 career. That was last season against RCB when he was with Gujarat Titans. He didn’t have the best of times finishing with 1 for 39 off his four overs.

But on the day, or night, Dayal was on the money.

He bowled three overs in the powerplay and went for just ten runs, conceding only one four.

Mohammed Siraj was picked up for a four first ball of the innings, and then conceded two more against Jonny Bairstow, but he had the last laugh. Bairstow took a swipe at a length ball, only to get a top-edge that ballooned straight up.

Dayal kept things tight at the other end, even if he didn’t get wickets.

It was that Test-match length that did the job for him. He kept the ball short of a good length 12 out of 18 times in the first six overs, and went for just four runs with those. There was not a lot of swing on offer, but he made sure to keep the ball as close to the batter, and found just a hint of movement, not giving room to the batters to swing. The Kings batters could only manage 40 for 1 in the first six overs.

More to follow…

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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