IPL 2021, RCB vs PBKS | Rahul, Gayle, Harpreet put a spoke in the RCB juggernaut’s wheel

Captain’s 91 n.o., West Indian’s 24-ball 46 and left-hander’s game-breaking impact (cameo with bat and scalps of Kohli, Maxwell, de Villiers) earn PBKS a 34-run win

It was a night to remember for Harpreet Brar. Playing his first match of the tournament, he returned a terrific all-round performance to guide Punjab Kings to a 34-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Ahmedabad on Friday.

After making an unbeaten 25, Harpreet picked up the crucial wickets of Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers to stifle the RCB chase.

Chasing 180, RCB lost Kohli (35, 34b) in the 11th over. The skipper rushed down the track, but played all over a short, skiddy delivery from Harpreet.

The left-arm spinner struck the very next ball, clipping Maxwell’s off-stump with a beauty. Harpreet then accounted for de Villiers (3, 9b), who punched straight to K.L. Rahul at cover.

Harpreet’s triple strike, executed in the space of two overs, shut RCB out of the contest.

Harpreet, featuring in only his fourth match in three IPL seasons, finished with figures of three for 19.

PBKS, which recorded a third win in seven outings, scuttled RCB’s chance to take the sole lead in the points table.

Earlier, captain Rahul carried PBKS to a good score. Rahul became the highest run-scorer of the tournament during the course of his unbeaten 57-ball 91.

On the rampage

Chris Gayle, who blasted a quick 46, provided some support. The West Indian let loose in the sixth over, smashing Kyle Jamieson for five fours. Gayle’s assault gave PBKS — stuck at 29 for one in five overs — a much-needed boost.

After Gayle departed, wickets began to tumble, leaving PBKS at a precarious 118 for five. Nicholas Pooran’s woes continued, when he was dismissed by Jamieson for a fourth duck this season.

Rahul, who started slowly, dragged the side back into the contest along with Harpreet (25 n.o., 17b, 1×4, 2×6). The duo’s unbroken 61-run sixth-wicket stand turned out to be a key factor in PBKS’ success.

Rahul was severe on pacer Harshal Patel, who leaked 40 runs in the 18th and 20th overs. Rahul extended his golden run against RCB, to go with scores of 61 n.o. and 132 n.o. in the previous two meetings between the sides.

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