Star batsman Virat Kohli scored a composed fifty and led Royal Challengers Bangalore to victory over Punjab Kings in the IPL on Thursday.
Kohli, who gave up RCB captaincy in 2021, was leading Bangalore after Faf du Plessis's fitness issues meant he batted but could not field.
The star duo then teamed up with the bat at the top of the order as their century stand helped Bangalore post 174-4 on a two-paced surface in Mohali. The target proved too high for a fragile Punjab batting and despite a late fightback, they folded for 150 to lose by 24 runs.
Du Plessis did not let fitness issues hamper his batting as he blasted 84 from 56 balls with the help of five fours and as many sixes. His opening partner Kohli scored 59 from 47, adding 137 for the opening wicket after 16 overs.
However, the scoring rate slowed down as the innings progressed. Kohli was caught behind after a leading edge on a sweep and Bangalore never really managed to kick-on io the last overs.
Still, the total was enough for Bangalore new-ball bowlers to work with. Pacers Mohammad Siraj and Wayne Parnell both struck, with the former getting the dangerous Liam Livingstone out lbw after a smart review by Kohli.
Spinner Wanindu Hasaranga castled Matthew Short first ball with a googly. The wickets continued to tumble and the hosts were staring down the barrel at 106-7 when power hitter Shahrukh Khan was stumped off Hasaranga.
The weather took a sudden turn late in the chase and looked like bringing with it a change in fortunes for Punjab. Wicketkeeper batsman Jitesh Sharma, who was dropped by Kohli, made 41 from 27 balls as the chase came down to 37 from 24 balls with three wickets in hand.
But the hugely impressive Siraj blew the lower order away with pace, castling Harpreet Brar and Nathan Ellis with full and fast balls in the 18th over. Jitesh was the last to fall, deceived by a slower ball from Harshal Patel.
Siraj finished with 4-21 and was named player of the match.
Punjab's stand-in captain Sam Curran said his team lost too many wickets early on.
“The way Faf and Virat played was good. I did not think they got away from us too much. In the end, we just did not bat well enough. They bowled pretty well as well but we lost too many [early] wickets,” Curran said.