Harpreet shines as PBKS use surprise weapon to tame RCB

Ahmedabad (TIP): Punjab Kings registered their third win of the season, and the third in a row against Royal Challengers Bangalore, after managing to pull themselves out of a few tricky situations and eventually defend a target of 179 quite comfortably. All because of a magical spell from the 25-year old left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar who was brought in for this game. Harpreet accounted for the wickets of Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers in a spell for the ages. After a rather sedate start, Kohli was itching to get after the spinner and was bowled after missing a slider while coming down the track. Maxwell was left dumbfounded by a classic left-arm spinner’s delivery that turned and beat him comprehensively before clipping the off stump. And while de Villiers averted the hat-trick, he was out in the next over caught at cover while trying to go inside out. And just like that RCB had slipped from 62/1 to 69/4 in the space of 12 balls.

What else did Punjab do right?

They did well to keep a check RCB’s top order in the chase. While Devdutt Padikkal fell early trying force the pace against Riley Meredith, RCB went into a period of lull after that. Both Kohli and Rajat Patidar struggled to up the ante, with the latter trudging along to a 30-ball 31 and robbing the innings of all momentum. Punjab’s spinners Ravi Bishnoi (2/17) and Harpreet ensured later that there was no opportunity for a comeback.

Did Punjab have a similarly smooth sailing with the bat?

Not at all. In fact, Punjab Kings had suffered an even bigger collapse in the middle overs. From 99/1, they slid down to 118/5 in the space of 24 balls with Gayle falling to a short one from Daniel Sams, Pooran (falling for a fourth duck in the season), Deepak Hooda (caught on the longer boundary) and Shahrukh Khan (bowled by a Chahal googly) departing in quick succession that threatened to undo all the good work done at the top.

What good work?

The partnership of 80 that came off just 44 balls between KL Rahul and a rampaging Chris Gayle (46 off 24). The left-hander targeted the shorter straight boundaries and pulled it off with aplomb regularly. Rahul, played a good second fiddle to him before managing to step on the pedal for a brief period as well during the stand. And together they threatened to hit RCB out of the contest before that collapse.

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