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The Hindu
The Hindu
Amol Karhadkar

Indian Premier League 2022: RCB vs PBKS | Punjab Kings ambush Royal Challengers Bangalore

He may have been wearing a non-Chennai Super Kings jersey for the first in the Indian Premier League. He may have been leading an IPL franchise for the first time. But the pressure didn’t tell on Faf du Plessis as his sensational hitting in the latter half of his innings piloted Royal Challengers Bangalore past the 200-run mark in its IPL 2022 opener against Punjab Kings.

Du Plessis’ 88 (57b, 3x4, 7x6) and his 118-run partnership off just 61 balls with Virat Kohli (41 n.o., 29b, 1x4, 2x6) set the tone for a high total as IPL action returned to the DY Patil Stadium after more than a decade. Dinesh Karthik (32 n.o., 14b, 3x4, 3x6) provided the final kick as RCB piled up 205 for two in 20 overs.

In reply, Punjab Kings made a spirited reply with a 71-run opening stand off 43 balls between skipper Mayank Agarwal (32, 24b, 2x4, 2x6) and Shikhar Dhawan (43, 29b, 5x4, 1x6). Wanindu Hasaranga broke the partnership, dismissing Mayank with his first delivery. Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s cameo lit up the chase, the Sri Lankan hammering a 22-ball 43 with two fours and four sixes.

Harshal Patel, RCB’s Mr. Reliable, removed Dhawan before Mohammed Siraj, expensive in his first two overs, sent back Rajapaksa and Raj Bawa off successive deliveries. However, Odean Smith, in the company of Shahrukh Khan, took Punjab Kings home with a stunning onslaught.

In RCB innings, despite Kohli getting off to a flier after youngster Anuj Rawat’s cameo in the PowerPlay, du Plessis looked tentative.

RCB was 78 for one after 11 overs, with the captain on 23 off 34 balls. However, off the next seven deliveries, du Plessis smashed 28, celebrating his half-century with successive paddled sixes off Odean Smith. The West Indian had earlier been denied du Plessis’ wicket in the PowerPlay due to Shahrukh’s miss.

It continued to rain sixes as Kohli — who had danced down the wicket to send left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar sailing into the sightscreen earlier — followed up with another six after du Plessis’ back-to-back maximums.

In three overs, RCB made 58 runs and the stage was set for a perfect finish. Despite du Plessis falling short of a hundred, Kohli and Karthik provided the perfect finish as the Bengaluru side rattled up 61 in the last five overs.

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