Jonny Bairstow (66 off 29) and Liam Livingstone (70 off 42) set up Punjab Kings‘ emphatic 54-run victory, which gives new life to their bid to compete in the IPL 2022. The batting propelled the team to 209 for 9 before the bowlers held RCB at bay. With that win, PBKS moved up to the sixth position, behind fifth-placed Delhi Capitals just by a modest net run rate margin. Meanwhile, RCB maintains fourth place due to their point total but suffers a huge drop in NRR.

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Jonny Bairstow brought back memories of early-season PBKS at the PowerPlay. The Englishman made up for all of his missing games and batted down the order. The attack began with a straight loft for a six-off Glenn Maxwell on the fifth ball of the inning and continued throughout the PowerPlay overs.

He struck a couple of sixes off Josh Hazlewood’s decent length bowling in a 22-run over before going even larger in the sixth off Mohammed Siraj, smashing one four and three sixes – one off each of a good length, full, and short deliveries – in a 23-run over. PBKS stormed to 83 for 1 in 6 overs, with Bairstow scoring 59 off 22 balls.

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Wanindu Hasaranga, Faf du Plessis’ best trick, provided a feeling of serenity to the proceedings. He and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed kept the score low, even eliciting a couple of streaky inside edges off Bairstow’s bat. To keep out of Bairstow’s hitting arc, Shahbaz kept bowling outside the off-stump and ultimately struck gold when the PBKS opener danced down and ended up slicing an effort down the ground to short third man. In the four overs following the PowerPlay, RCB surrendered only 22 runs and took two wickets.

It started in the 14th over, when he hit one high up in the stands over long-on, ensuring PBKS finished with a 200-plus total. Harshal Patel, RCB’s trusted second-half weapon, sought to obstruct a late push by dismissing Mayank Agarwal, but Jitesh Sharma supported Livingstone in his attempt to rip away. Despite such hitting, Hasaranga concluded with a spell of 2 for 15 in 4 overs, but the quicks who followed after him took the bulk of the damage.

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In the 18th over, Jitesh and Rishi Dhawan knocked 15 off Harshal before Livingstone hammered Hazlewood for two fours and two sixes in a 24-run 19th over. Hazlewood’s final horror numbers were 0 for 64. Despite Harshal surrendering only four runs in the penultimate over and taking two wickets, PBKS concluded with a total of 209 for nine, thanks to Livingstone’s 42-ball 70.

PBKS brought in left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar as a good match-up against RCB, who had removed Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Glenn Maxwell in the previous year’s competition. Tonight, however, Faf du Plessis and Kohli took 18 runs from his two PowerPlay overs. The decision was still beneficial for Punjab, as he defeated Glenn Maxwell in the middle overs, removing a hitter who was hitting over 200 against spinners this season.

The quicks tripped them up when they attempted left-arm spin. Kagiso Rabada removed Kohli in the fourth over, followed by Rishi Dhawan’s double-wicket over, which removed the RCB skipper and Mahipal Lomror, leaving them at 44 for 3 in 6 overs.

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RCB found the next gear during a moment in which PBKS batted slowly. In his first over in the ninth, Maxwell and Rajat Patidar targeted Rahul Chahar, with the former bringing out his switch hits and reverse sweeps. They took 18 off it, followed by 13 and 11 from Brar and Dhawan to push RCB to 95 for 3 in 10 overs and keep the chase going.

The spin pair retaliated. Chahar ended Patidar’s stay by hitting a ball outside the off-stump and turning away as the batter mistimed a long-on pitch. Brar essentially ended RCB’s chase with the removal of Maxwell, who smashed a flatter ball to Arshdeep Singh at deep extra cover.

Arshdeep bowled an outstanding over in the 15th over, tying down the big batter and eventually dismissed him in a two-run over. Arshdeep produced a wide yorker from around the stumps, which Karthik attempted to slice behind point. Mayank, on the other hand, had Bhanuka Rajapaksa stationed at short third for precisely that shot, sending Karthik packing for a run-a-ball 11.

Rabada dismissed Shahbaz Ahmed in the next over, giving the final three batters too much to do. RCB finished with 155 for 9, losing by a huge margin.