Virat Kohli specially helps hosts RCB win over Punjab Kings with four wickets to spare in IPL 2024 | Cricket

In their second match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 on Monday, Royal Challengers Bengaluru conceded exactly the same number of runs as in their first match: 176. While Chennai Super Kings had managed a run chase against them, this time it was RCB who crossed the line against Punjab Kings thanks to a Virat Kohli special.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru batter Virat Kohli turns fifty (PTI)

As PBKS won their first match of the season against Delhi Capitals, the spotlight was on the hosts to bounce back at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Electing to bowl first, Mohammed Siraj (2/26) and Yash Dayal (1/23) delivered remarkable spells as PBKS finished with 176/6. Kohli took over to hit a 49-ball 77 before a final push from Dinesh Karthik and Mahipal Lomror took RCB to 178/6 in 19.2 overs. This is the sixth victory in as many matches for the home team this season.

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It could have been a different story for Punjab if they had grabbed an early opportunity. Sam Curran managed to get Kohli’s outside edge in the second over of the innings, but the ball passed into the hands of Jonny Bairstow at second slip. Kohli, who made 21 off 20 against CSK after taking a two-month break from competitive cricket, was close to his best thereafter.

The former India and RCB skipper put on a masterclass in cover driving in the first half of his innings. What stood out was how he continued to come out against the point guards to hit the ball early with momentum. Kagiso Rabada bowled a good first spell and got the wickets of RCB skipper Fat du Plessis and Cameron Green, before Kohli got another reprieve as Rahul Chahar couldn’t hold on to a tough chance at midwicket. But the 35-year-old kept trying to attack and took RCB to 85/2 midway through his innings.

Needing 92 to win 10 overs with eight wickets in hand, the hosts had the upper hand. However, that was when Harpreet Brar came back on the attack and delivered an inspired spell to bring Punjab back into the competition. The left-arm spinner removed Rajat Patidar and Glenn Maxwell (for the fourth time) to finish with figures of 2/13.

Kohli became the third player after Chris Gayle and David Warner to register 100 half-centuries in T20 cricket, but he and Anuj Rawat fell in quick succession and RCB needed 47 off 22 balls. Even though Punjab would have imagined his chances, Karthik (28* out of 10) and Lomror (17* out of 8) remained calm to seal the victory with four balls to spare.

Dayal impresses

Bengaluru has always been a high-scoring venue, with the average first innings total last season at the Chinnaswamy being 196. This time the pitch looked slightly different as there were patches of grass everywhere, with Yash Dayal doing good. use of the deferral offer. The left-arm pacer conceded just 10 runs in his three overs with the new ball to help restrict PBKS to 40/1 at the end of the powerplay.

Siraj got the first breakthrough for RCB as Bairstow registered another single-digit score. The England right-hander attempted a half-hearted shot and got an edge over Virat Kohli, who overtook Suresh Raina for the most catches (173) by an Indian in T20 cricket.

Prabhsimran Singh then joined skipper Shikhar Dhawan at the crease and it was the former who helped PBKS up the ante. The duo added 53 runs before the visitors lost their next three wickets for 26 runs. Prabhsimran perished as a Glenn Maxwell delivery fluttered before Liam Livingstone edged one from Alzarri Joseph.

But perhaps the most disappointing dismissal for the Kings was that of Dhawan (45 off 37). The southpaw never really seemed fluent and became Maxwell’s second victim just when he would have hoped to start accelerating.

Curran, who scored a match-winning half-century in the previous match, and keeper-batsman Jitesh Sharma also fell into their twenties as RCB’s bowlers did well to keep chipping away. It was a late effort from Shashank Singh to set up a difficult goal for the hosts. The right-hander hit Joseph for two sixes and a four as PBKS added 20 runs in the final over of the innings.

However, Curran admitted shortly afterwards that the total was probably slightly below average. His assessment ultimately proved correct.

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