Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) became the third team to qualify for the Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs following a six-run win over Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
After Glenn Maxwell (57, 33b, 3×4, 4×6) powered RCB to 164, PBKS fell short despite the best efforts of Mayank Agarwal (57, 42b, 6×4, 2×6) and KL Rahul (39, 35b, 1×4, 2×6), with Yuzvendra Chahal impressing for RCB yet again (4-0-29-3).
PBKS will now have to win its final match against Chennai Super Kings and wait for other results to go its way to sneak into the last four.
RCB vs PBKS – AS IT HAPPENED
For a while on Sunday, PBKS seemed like they were in with a chance. Agarwal and Rahul, mixing caution with aggression, collected 49 runs from the PowerPlay. In the tenth over, Agarwal appeared to take flight, hitting Chahal for two boundaries, one over cover and one straight, and sending Shahbaz Ahmed soaring over the boundary soon after.
But Shahbaz broke the 91-run partnership by forcing Rahul into a rash shot and having him caught at short third-man. The captain’s dismissal was followed by two quiet overs before the under pressure Nicholas Pooran tried to hoist Chahal and was snapped up at deep square-leg.
In the 16th over, Chahal decisively turned the match in RCB’s favour, having Agarwal caught at short third-man and then bowling Sarfaraz Khan for a golden duck. Harshal Patel and George Garton then bolted the door with a few tight overs.
Chahal celebrates the wicket of Punjab’s Sarfaraz. Photo: BCCI/Sportzpics – BCCI/Sportzpics
Earlier, after Virat Kohli elected to bat, RCB’s total owed much to the 73-run fourth-wicket partnership off just 40 balls between Maxwell and AB de Villiers (23, 18b, 1×4, 2×6).
On a tough pitch, Kohli (25, 24b) and Devdutt Padikkal (40, 38b, 4×4, 2×6) scored 55 runs in the PowerPlay. But they were helped by Rahul, who missed a Kohli stumping and dropped Padikkal in one Ravi Bishnoi over.
The leggie was also unlucky when the third umpire did not give Padikkal out caught behind despite a clear disturbance on the Ultra Edge when the ball passed the glove.
Moises Henriques’ introduction changed matters as he bowled four outstanding overs for just twelve runs and prised out Kohli, Padikkal and surprise No.3 Dan Christian.
However, the genius of Maxwell soon took over as he hit Brar and Bishnoi for four sixes in the arc between deep square-leg and long-on. The switch hit boundary off Bishnoi in front of square was indicative of his swashbuckling form as he got to his 50 off just 29 balls.
When de Villiers smashed Mohammed Shami for a six and a four in the 17th over, the signs were ominous. But the end-overs flourish didn’t come, with the two dismissed within seven balls of each other. It wasn’t needed in the end.