IMAGE: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Yuzvendra Chahal is ecstatic after bowling Punjab Kings batter Sarfaraz Khan with a beauty. Photograph: BCCI
Chasing 165 for victory was always going to be a big ask for Punjab Kings, but with Mayank Agarwal and K L Rahul starting well they would always be in the game.
That is exactly how the script played out as Rahul and Agarwal put the skates on from the get go and matched RCB’s run rate in the chase.
By the end of the Powerplay, Punjab had raced to 49-0 in 6 overs and kept pushing on the accelerator. At the halfway stage, Punjab were 81 for no loss.
Just when it looked like the pitch had changed character and Punjab were going to run away with it, Rahul was taken out by left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed for 39.
Yuzvendra Chahal then came to the party and against the run of play Royral Challengers Bangalore made their way back into the match.
The leg-spinner first got rid of the out-of-form Nicholas Pooran for 3 as he miscued a slog. Aiden Markram and Agarwal then took Mohammed Siraj to the cleaners, taking him for 11 runs before Kohli’s masterstroke.
The RCB captain re-introduced Chahal into the attack. Chahal invited Agarwal to go for the big slog who got a top edge that Siraj pouched coming in from short third man.
Chahal then beat Sarfaraz Khan as the ball turned from middle to hit the off stump and have the batsman gobsmacked in disbelief.
This started Punjab’s slump in the chase even as Shahrukh Khan and Markram tried to keep themselves in the hunt but it was not to be and Punjab fell short by 7 runs.
Chahal’s figures of 3 for 29 spun the game in RCB’s favour and was a reminder to the selectors about what India will be missing come the T20 World Cup later this month.