IPL 2024: Kohli's half century sets up victory for Bengaluru as they chase down Punjab

Veteran hits 77 as Royal Challengers beat Kings by four wickets

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Virat Kohli compiled his 51st half century in the Indian Premier League to steer Royal Challengers Bengaluru to a four-wicket victory over Punjab Kings on Monday.

After scoring a quiet 21 at Chennai in a losing cause on Friday, Kohli made a much noisier 77 off 49 balls to fire Bengaluru's chase.

Dinesh Karthik's unbeaten 28 off 10 balls carried Bengaluru home to 178-6 with four balls to spare.

Punjab posted a below-par 176-6. Captain Shikhar Dhawan scored 45 and Shashank Singh made 21 off eight balls late in the innings.

Kohli, coming back after more than two months out to be with his wife for the birth of his second child, used his feet well to hit his trademark punching cover drives as Punjab paid the price for letting him escape twice.

In an eventful first over bowled by Sam Curran, Jonny Bairstow couldn’t hold on to a sharp overhead catch at first slip off the second ball Kohli faced. Rahul Chahar then spilt a tough one-handed catching opportunity at short midwicket when Kohli was on 33.

Despite Kohli’s dominant innings, Punjab rallied in the middle overs through Harpreet Brar (2-13), and the required rate soared to nearly 12 an over. Brar clean bowled Rajat Patidar (18) and Glenn Maxwell (3) and held on to a sharp catch to dismiss Kohli at deep point in the 16th over off the bowling of Harshal Patel.

But Karthik and impact player Mahipal Lamor, 17 not out, smacked 48 runs off the last 18 balls for Bengaluru.

Earlier, Mohammed Siraj (2-26) and Yash Dayal (1-23) bowled well up front and kept the Punjab batters in check as Dhawan struggled to up the ante before holing out in the deep to Maxwell (2-29).

Man of the match Kohli said: “The wicket wasn’t as placid as Bangalore is normally, it was a bit two-paced and I thought that I need to play correct cricketing shots – playing across the line wasn’t quite working.

"I was very disappointed I couldn’t finish the game off at the end but not a bad start after not playing for two months and getting into the tournament. Still got it, I guess.”

Bengaluru captain Du Plessis said: “Early in the competition, obviously, you want to make sure you get over the line. Great to see the boys with the composure at the back end.

"Really pleased to see the way Dinesh has started this competition. It’s really important for someone like him to get his IPL going with some good confidence and that sets you up for the rest of the tournament.

"We need him desperately, his experience at the back. A lot of games get won and lost in that No 7-8 position so his experience will be very valuable there.”

Karthik said: “Some off the rust has come off and it’s starting to feel good. Mahipal took the pressure off me. He batted really well with me."

Punjab skipper Dhawan said: “It was a good game. I think we scored 10-15 runs less than we needed and that cost us the game.

“Of course, Virat scored 70-odd runs and if we had taken that catch then the momentum would have been with us so we paid the price for that.

“Harpreet Brar is bowling really well. It’s tremendous the way he soaked in the pressure and got the breakthroughs as well.”

Updated: March 25, 2024, 7:00 PM