Twitter Reactions: KL Rahul, Harpreet Brar force star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore into submission

Brar claimed the wickets of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Glenn Maxwell after scoring 25 off 17.

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Harpreet Brar
Harpreet Brar. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Punjab Kings’ dominance over the Royal Challengers Bangalore continued as they extended their streak of victories from the previous edition into 2021, crushing them by 34 runs in what turned out be a rather unexpected one-sided clash.

Calling correctly at the toss, Virat Kohli inserted Punjab Kings to bat on a used surface. The Kings walked out with a new-look opening pair as Mayank Agarwal sat out due to injury. While Prabhsimran Singh came in for him, Kings roped in Harpreet Brar and Riley Meredith for Moises Henriques and Arshdeep Singh.

The momentum of Kings’ innings – much like RCB’s nemesis KL Rahul’s – took many a turn as they started slow, accelerated inside the Powerplay, then slowed for a while, accelerated again, slowed again, and finished strong.

Gayle storm hits Delhi

Kings did not get an ideal start as Singh departed for a run-a-ball 7, giving Kohli an easy catch at extra cover off Kyle Jamieson. Jamieson’s fortunes changed within moments as he came dangerously close to match Shivam Mavi’s feat from last night when a murderous Gayle pummelled him five fours. Fortunately, the Kiwi got away with one to save his face.

But Gayle did not stop, as he smoked a couple of sixes off Chahal in the next over to infuse momentum in the innings. Having added 80 off just 45 alongside KL Rahul, he fell for 24-ball 46, featuring six fours and two sixes, when he gloved a Daniel Sams short ball behind.

Skipper KL Rahul marches on

The horror show for Nicholas Pooran continued as he bagged the fourth duck of the season, lobbing up a simple catch for Shahbaz Ahmed to grab at point against Jamieson’s bowling. Kings were jolted in successive overs soon as Deepak Hooda (5 off 9) miscued a pull against Ahmed straight to backward square, while Chahal’s googly knocked over Shahrukh Khan for a duck.

As the scare of losing the plot loomed large, KL Rahul got Harpreet Brar’s rescue – he will be back again with the ball – as they added a brisk 61 runs off 32 balls. The duo belted 18 in the 18th over; and while unbeaten at 76 at the penultimate over, a century did not seem convincingly on cards, Rahul smacked Patel 4, 6, and 4 to get into the 90s, only to raise hopes before remaining stranded there.

Brar’s unbeaten 17-ball 25, and Rahul’s 57-ball 91, including seven fours and five sixes, ensured that Kings had enough in the bank to challenge the Challengers.

Brar: the man with the golden arm

RCB got a quick-fire start with Kohli picking two boundaries early, while Devdutt Padikkal deposited Meredith over point for a glorious maximum. The bowler, however, sent Padikkal’s off-stump cartwheeling to send him back immediately and the runs dried up as RCB finished the powerplay 36/1.

Upping the ante, Kohli danced down the track off Brar to crash the ball into the sightscreen and got a four past extra cover in his next over, but little did anyone know what was in store.

Like a fairytale, Brar disturbed the stumps of two of the most celebrated batsmen of the opponents’ side: Kohli (35 off 34) was cleaned up with a one that stayed low and crashed into his stumps as he charged out. The next ball, even better, spun just marginally from the middle stump and left Maxwell bamboozled as it kissed his off stump.

RCB’s submission

It all once again was down to AB de Villiers, but on a day when anything that Brar (3/19) touched became gold, he fell for an uncharacteristic 9-ball 3, lobbing up easy chance to extra cover to become his third scalp.

RCB’s end was stamped already and even the slightest hopes of it departed when the only batsman who looked slightly fluent, Rajat Patidar (31 off 30), holed out Chris Jordan to long-on. Bishnoi (2/17) struck twice in the next to rub more salt to wounds as he got Ahmed caught in the deep only a ball before knocking over Daniel Sams.

Kyle Jamieson and Harshal Patel, who got a 13-ball 31, however, did what none of the bigger names could not do, adding 48 off just 23 for the eighth wicket,  although that only delayed the inevitable for the game was lost long ago.

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