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Kohli’s fifty carries RCB to 4-wicket victory over PBKS

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Bengaluru, March 25: Virat Kohli produced a quality half-century on a slightly gummy pitch that took the Holi-day crowd on a joyride and the Royal Challengers Bengaluru to a four-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in an IPL match here on Monday.
The 177-run target wasn’t a massively tough one, but needed a meticulous scaling down because of the deck’s nature.
Kohli (77, 49b, 11×4, 2×6) conducted it to near-perfection as RCB made 178 for six with four balls to spare to register their first win of this IPL.
The Royal Challengers needed 47 from 24 balls from that point Dinesh Karthik (28 not out off 10 balls) and ‘Impact Player’ Mahipal Lomror (17 not out, 8 balls)carried them past the rope with some sensible cricket. Karthik team’s designated finisher showed that he can seamlessly switch from microphone to willow as he walloped Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh with minimum fuss to finish it in style.
Kohli’s innings was not a blemish free effort as he received reprieves on the very first ball on zero and then when he was on 33, and on both the times pacer Sam Curran was the aggrieved party. But when Kohli bats at such a lofty zone those are momentary distractions – for him and for the fans.
He showed that in no little measure, clanking Curran for three more fours after that first drop as 16 runs cascaded in the opening over of the chase.
There were his money shots too – cover drives, swat-flicks, lofts over extra cover as Kohli dismantled the Kings attack all alone.
But a shot stood out from the rest for its sheer timing and execution. Rabada, who was otherwise superb for a 2/23 figure, pitched one slightly short, and Kohli danced down to magnificently flay the offering over the covers for a four.
The inside out maximum over covers off leg-spinner Rahul Chahar too has the touch of Kohli’s genius.
Those shorts also bore testimony of Kohli’s class on a tacky deck where other RCB batters such as Cameron Green and Glenn Maxwell struggled to get a move-on against Rabada and highly-impressive spinner Harpreet Brar (2/13).
It reflected in the fact that the highest partnership in RCB innings was a 43-run association between Kohli and Rajat Patidar (18, 18b) for the third wicket. But the lone Odyssey of Kohli ended when his slash off Harshal Patel’s slower ball on off-stump failed to generate enough power and distance to clear Brar at deep third man.
Earlier, the pragmatism of captain Shikhar Dhawan was the bedrock on which Punjab Kings built their 176 for six.
Dhawan (45, 37b), Jitesh Sharma (27, 20b) and Prabhsimran Singh (25, 17b) were the main contributors for the Kings after RCB opted to bowl first.
For the hosts, Mohammed Siraj and Maxwell took two wickets apiece.
The Kings made a shaky beginning as Jonny Bairstow got out early as his outings on these shores, which stretched back to last year’s World Cup, has now become more barren than the Indian summer.
But from 17 for one, the visitors found some runs through Dhawan and Prabhsimran who tackled the pitch and the RCB bowlers with aplomb, milking 55 runs off 38 balls. (PTI)

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