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Punjab Kings made a superb strong comeback in the death overs to keep Royal Challengers Bangalore to 174/4 in their 20 overs in 27th Match of the IPL 2023 at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium, here on Thursday.
On a hot afternoon, Faf du Plessis and stand-in skipper Virat Kohli took Bangalore to 91/0 in ten overs and looked in sight for a score above 180. Du Plessis, despite a bruised rib, was the star of Bangalore's batting with his 56-ball 84, hitting five fours and as many sixes.
Kohli, on the other hand, made a 47-ball 59, but suffered a slowdown in the middle overs. It resulted in Bangalore losing wickets in a cluster and didn't get the desired finishing kick as they lost all four wickets in the death overs, with Punjab bowlers using cutters well and not bowling much fuller deliveries to keep Bangalore below 180.
Pushed into batting first, Bangalore were off to a flier as Kohli hit three fours on short balls from Arshdeep Singh and Harpreet Brar in the first three overs. Du Plessis then tore into Brar, the left-arm spinner, in the fourth over by smashing sixes down the ground and over deep mid-wicket fence.
Kohli then pulled Nathan Ellis for four while du Plessis sliced him through backward point and then swivelled against Sam Curran over mid-wicket to collect a brace of boundaries as Bangalore reached 50/0 at power-play.
Post power-play, Ellis and spinners Rahul Chahar, Liam Livingstone tried to keep du Plessis quiet by attacking stumps constantly. But du Plessis varied between being still and backing away to hit boundaries and reach his fifty in 31 balls.
On the other hand, Kohli slowed down, but got his fifty in 40 balls with his trademark cover drive through long-off for four and followed it up with a lofted drive over wide long-off for six off Ellis.
Punjab finally had a breakthrough in the start of the 17th over when Kohli shuffled across to paddle sweep against Brar, but got the edge off the toe-end of the bat and was caught by keeper Jitesh Sharma, who dropped du Plessis catch in the previous over.
On the very next ball, Glenn Maxwell went for a big slog, but sliced to point to depart for a golden duck. Du Plessis continued to get runs by smacking Brar for a six down the ground, followed by dispatching Ellis over long-on for the same result.
But on the third ball of the 18th over, the fast bowler had the last laugh as du Plessis holed out to long-off. Mahipal Lomror and Dinesh Karthik hit a four each off Arshdeep in the 19th over, before the latter holed out to deep square leg as Punjab gave away only 44 runs in the last five overs.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 174/4 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 84, Virat Kohli 59; Harpreet Brar 3/31, Arshdeep Singh 1/34) against Punjab Kings