Blistering half-centuries by Liam Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow earned Punjab Kings a crucial 54-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. Virat Kohli’s long run of poor batting form in the IPL continued when he fell for 20 and Bangalore limped to 155-9 after Punjab made a formidable 209-9. Kohli has only 236 runs with one half-century in 12 games this season.
The big win lifted Punjab to sixth and still in the race for a top-four place in the playoffs with two league games to go. Bangalore barely hung to fourth place after its fourth loss in six games. With the net run-rate very much in play, Bangalore face an uphill task of not only winning all their remaining fixtures, but winning them by good margins.
Kohli, who has three golden ducks in this IPL, fell to the pace of Kagiso Rabada after he was caught at short fine leg. The on-field umpire gave not out, but Punjab reviewed and video showed the ball kissed the gloves.
Fast bowler Rishi Dhawan took the sting out of Bangalore’s chase with a twin strike in the fifth over that included du Plessis on 10. Rabada picked up two more wickets in the death overs to finish with 3-21.
Earlier, Bairstow opened by smashing 66 runs off 29 balls and hit seven sixes in Punjab’s rollicking start of 83-1 in the first six overs of the powerplay. Bairstow charged at fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Mohammed Siraj, who both conceded 65 runs off their first four overs.