Punjab Kings 209 for 9 (Livingstone 70, Bairstow 66, Harshal 4-34) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 155 for 9 (Maxwell 35, Patidar 26, Rabada 3-21) by 54 runs
Punjab Kings gave their playoffs chances a big boost with a thumping 54-run over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Brabourne stadium. With 12 points from as many games, Kings are now sixth on the points table, their net run rate being marginally lower than that of fifth-placed Delhi Capitals.
Royal Challengers’ bowling card made for interesting reading. Wanindu Hasaranga conceded just 15 from his four overs and picked up two wickets. Harshal Patel bowled the difficult overs at the death and still finished with 4 for 34 from his four. On the other hand, Josh Hazlewood registered figures of 4-0-64-0.
In response, Royal Challengers lost Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis and Mahipal Lomror within the first five overs. Glenn Maxwell and Rajat Patidar tried to revive the chase but their efforts proved futile. And when Arshdeep Singh dismissed Dinesh Karthik for a run-a-ball 11, it was all over.
Bairstow’s 21-ball fifty sets the tone
Coming into this game, Bairstow had 136 runs in eight innings at an average of 17 and a strike rate of 117.24 in IPL 2022. But here he teed off right from the start. He chipped Maxwell for a straight six in the opening over before biffing Hazlewood twice over deep midwicket. By the end of three overs, he had raced to 34 off 12 balls with four sixes.
Maxwell got rid of Shikhar Dhawan but Bairstow took apart Mohammed Siraj in the last over of the powerplay, hitting him for three sixes and a four. Bairstow brought up his half-century off just 21 balls, his fastest in T20 cricket, as Kings reached 83 for 1 after six overs.
Hasaranga, Shahbaz apply brakes
After a blazing start, Hasaranga and Shahbaz Ahmed pulled things back somewhat. Hasaranga dismissed Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the seventh, the batter slicing a tossed up googly to short third man. Soon after, Bairstow miscued one against Shahbaz and was taken at cover-point. From overs 7 to 11, Kings scored only 25 for the loss of two wickets. But their quick start meant the run rate was still hovering around ten.
Livingstone tees off
After scoring only 14 off his first 14 balls, Livingstone jumped out to Shahbaz and smashed him for a straight six. In the spinner’s next over, he picked up a four with a reverse sweep before launching a massive hit over long-on.
However, Mayank Agarwal, who came in at No. 5, struggled to get going. Eventually, Harshal dismissed him with an offcutter for a laboured 19 off 16 balls. Hasaranga then came back to pick up Jitesh Sharma, once again with a googly, before Harshal sent back Harpreet Brar.
But there was no stopping Livingstone. In the 19th over, he got stuck into Hazlewood, hitting him for two sixes and two fours in a 23-run over. Harshal conceded only four from the final over but Livingstone’s assault meant Kings finished with a daunting total.
Royal Challengers lose early wickets
For a moment, it looked like Kohli was back in form. In the second over of the chase, he drove Arshdeep to the cover boundary before whipping him through midwicket for four more. In the next over, he skipped down the ground to Harpreet Brar and lofted him over deep midwicket.
Maxwell, Patidar try to revive the chase
After playing out a couple of overs, Maxwell and Patidar took Chahar on in the eighth over of the chase. Maxwell started by hitting a reverse-swept four. Patidar joined in with a six over midwicket before Maxwell wrapped up the over with switch-hit six over extra-cover.
In the next over, Patidar hit Brar for a six and four off successive balls. At the halfway stage, Royal Challengers were 95 for 3, needing another 115 from the last ten overs.
But Chahar and Brar didn’t take long to strike back. With the longer boundary on the leg side, Chahar bowled well outside off to Patidar. The batter still tried to target the leg side and holed out to long-on. In the next over, Maxwell ended up hitting Brar straight to Arshdeep at long-off, leading to thigh-fives from the bowler, the fielder, and even Livingstone.
With 92 required from 36 balls, Arshdeep dashed Royal Challengers’ diminishing hopes with an excellent 15th over, where he conceded only two runs and dismissed Karthik.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo