IPL 2024- The Kohli & Karthik show takes RCB over the line against Punjab Kings

Bowlers from both sides put up a big show at a traditionally high-scoring venue, but the class and experience of Kohli and Karthik sealed the deal in the end

Royal Challengers Bengaluru 178 for 6 (Kohli 77, Karthik 28*, Brar 2-13, Rabada 2-23) beat Punjab Kings 176 for 6 (Dhawan 45, Jitesh 27, Siraj 2-26, Maxwell 2-29) by four wickets

Everything that Royal Challengers Bengaluru fans would have wanted from their team’s first home game of the season, they got it. In spades. But, it didn’t come without a scare.
For the longest time, Kohli – the king of the chase – had things under control. Chasing 177, he had the crowd dancing to his tune as he smashed the Punjab Kings bowlers all around the park for a 49-ball 77.
Till he didn’t.

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Harpreet Brar‘s frugal spell of 2 for 13 after Kagiso Rabada‘s two-wicket burst in the powerplay had RCB in a bind. The crowd was silenced. Were RCB going to become the first team this IPL to lose a home game?
Enter finisher Dinesh Karthik.
His bio says he is 38. He is! But you wouldn’t believe that seeing him move around the crease, and up and down the pitch. With RCB requiring 47 off 22, Karthik walked in and smoked an unbeaten 28 off ten balls, with three fours and two sixes, to take RCB over the line with four balls to spare.

A Kohli special for the Chinnaswamy to remember

But, it so nearly wasn’t.
Striding out to bat with a vociferous crowd behind him, Kohli took strike. Sam Curran got the ball to tail away from him first ball. It took a thick edge and went to short third. The next ball, Curran went closer, inviting a drive. Kohli took the bait and got a thick edge but the ball went too fast for Bairstow to react at first slip and burst through his hands. That was just the luck Kohli needed.
He drove Curran through the covers next ball, then clipped him past short fine-leg, before creaming a half-volley through the covers to make it 16 runs off the first over.
Rabada then came on but Kohli was in no mood to show any respect, haring down the track and slamming him over cover. Kohli then took on Arshdeep Singh, thumping him for three fours in an over to race to 33 off 15 balls, the most runs he has scored in the first 15 balls ever in a T20 innings. Eight fours in his first 15 balls. Kohli was away, RCB were away.

RCB slow down, courtesy Brar and Rabada

Rabada got among the wickets first. He accounted for Faf du Plessis – the third time in three IPL innings – and then had Cameron Green edging behind with Jitesh Sharma taking a good low catch.
The real squeeze, though, was applied by Harpreet Brar and he did it with his length.
Four overs, 13 runs, two wickets and that’s while Kohli was on a rampage.
Sixteen of the 24 balls Brar bowled were on a length. From quite high up. He kept the speed on the quicker side, and more importantly, didn’t give the batters a chance to get under the ball. Both his wickets came off balls bowled at a length.
Rajat Patidar, frustrated at not getting anything away, went back to a flatter delivery looking for a hoick to the leg side, but missed and looked back to see his stumps in a mess. Glenn Maxwell then tried to open the off side up but was undone by an arm ball, and could only get an under-edge back on to his stumps. Brar did not concede a single boundary in his four-over spell. In fact, he only went for one double. The rest of it was all singles.

The scare and the finish

Kohli, meanwhile, reached his 100th 50-plus score in T20 cricket. But the required rate was soaring. He got two fours away off Harshal but fell soon after with his slash reaching only as far as deep third. Anuj Rawat fell two balls later and the equation suddenly seemed to be going out of hand for RCB.
Karthik, though, found an ally in Mahipal Lomror, the impact sub. Lomror clipped Curran past short fine-leg for four first ball and then slammed Arshdeep for a six and four next over. Karthik took over after that as Harshal Patel leaked 13 off the penultimate over. With ten to win in the final over, Karthik brought out the scoop first ball against Arshdeep for six. A wide followed, before Karthik aced the chase with a hit over the bowler’s head.
Dinesh Kartik | IPL 2024 | Royal Challengers Bengaluru
RCB vs PBK- Dinesh Karthik lived up to his billing as a cool finisher | RCB

 

The Chinnaswamy went delirious, and so did the RCB changeroom. But there were big performances in the first half of the match too.
Maxwell picked up two wickets in the middle over, while Siraj also got two and it seemed Kings would fall well short of a par score, which is quite high at the venue.