KL Rahul – who scored an unbeaten 91 off 57 balls – replaced Shikhar Dhawan as the leading run-scorer in the tournament with a scintillating knock. It was Rahul’s combative knock that helped Punjab reach 179-5 after Virat Kohli put them in to bat first at Narendra Modi Stadium.
Chris Gayle also smashed a rapid 46 from 24 balls before RCB bowlers came around and put a brake on the flow of runs. Rahul and Brar added 61 runs for the unbeaten eighth wicket to rescue the side after the RCB bowlers had seized the initiative following Gayle’s dismissal in the 11th over.
IPL 2021, PBKS vs RCB Match Report: KL Rahul, Harpreet Brar star as Punjab Kings get back to winning ways
The Karnataka batsman hit seven fours and five sixes in his 57-ball knock, while Brar took 17 balls for his 25 that had two sixes and a four.
RCB fell well short in reply with the Kings attack giving nothing away. Kohli top-scored with 35 as they could only muster 145-8.
Brar (3/19) then returned with the ball in his hand to dismiss key rival batsmen — Virat Kohli (35), Glenn Maxwell (0) and AB de Villiers (3) — as RCB managed 145 for eight. The win took Punjab (6) to fifth place behind Mumbai Indians (6) in the points table from the sixth place, while RCB (10) remained at number three.
After losing the match, Kohli said: “They got off to a good start but we pulled things back somewhat after five down. Should have been chasing 160, when they were 116/5, but we gave away 25-odd runs in the end. Focused too much on what the batters were doing. We got away from our plans. We gave too many bad balls for boundaries. As batsmen, we could have tried different things early on. It was tough to hit through the line. It was all about trying to get a partnership and have a strike rate of more than 110. We were not able to do that as a batting unit. Just a few little tweaks we need to address going forward. There are areas we need to improve.”
The winning captain Rahul said: “We were preparing Brar (until now). On a pitch like this, we felt like we needed a finger spinner who could hit hard lengths. He did exactly that and batted really well in the end as well. I am young myself, but I have been trying to speak to the boys and pass on whatever experience I have of IPL and international cricket. They are blessed with enormous talent and we have to prepare them for the situations and the pressures they’d face in the middle as the captain and the support staff. Really makes me and the support staff very happy.”
Player of the match, Brar said: “I hail from Moga district. I am sure the people back home would be proud and happy. I wasn’t overwhelmed when Kohli hit me because a bowler always gets a second chance to come back. My first IPL wicket was Kohli Paaji’s wicket and that was very special. It came out in a flow after that, your body opens up, you get confident and things fall in place. When I came out to bat, I had the time to wait for a couple of overs. Rahul bhai was also talking to me about the conditions and about the shots I could play.”
Here are highlights of PBKS vs RCB 2021 post-match presentation:
Man of the match: Harpreet Brar (PBKS) – 3/19
Vivo perfect catch: Ravi Bishnoi (PBKS) – Catch to dismiss Harshal Patel (RCB)
Safari Super Striker: Harshal Patel (RCB) – 238.46 strike rate
Dream11 Game Changer: Harpreet Brar (PBKS) – 155 fantasy points
Unacademy Sixes Award: KL Rahul (PBKS) – 5 sixes
CRED Power player: Reliey Meredith (PBKS) – 1 from 22 from 3 in the powerplay
UPSTOX Most Valuable Asset: Harpreet Brar (PBKS) – 37.5 points in Upstox Cricindex
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