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IPL 2021: RCB beat PBKS by 6 runs to enter Playoffs

IPL 2021: RCB beat PBKS by 6 runs to enter Playoffs

By K Aditya
Sharjah, Oct 3 (UNI) Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) became the third team to enter the IPL 2021 Playoffs after defeating Punjab Kings by 6 runs, here on Sunday.

It was a hard-earned win for the RCB as PBKS were cruising to a win at 90/0 at one stage while chasing 165. However, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal turned the tide in RCB's favour by picking three crucial wickets. The 3/29 spell by the 31-year-old wrist spinner saw Punjab innings halt at 158/6 in 20 overs.
The bowling performance justified Kohli's decision to bat first on a degrading Sharjah surface after Glenn Maxwell's familiar hammering (57 runs off 33) in the middle overs and Devdutt Padikkal's sound 38-ball 40 top of the order gave enough runs to RCB bowlers to defend.
RCB are now on their way to the last-four stage with 16 points on the table and will fancy their chances of making it to the top two as toppers Chennai Super Kings and second-placed Delhi Capitals are a win away from their reach.
For Punjab, the loss complicates their chances of qualifying for the Playoffs as they only have 10 points in 13 games while their fellow contenders Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians are also tied on same points but have the advantage of playing a game less.
Punjab made RCB work hard for the win as defending the total of 165, Kohli and side felt the wrath of in-form PBKS opening duo of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.
The duo fired a 65-ball 91 stand for the first wicket with Agarwal (57 off 42) taking the role of the aggressor. The 30-year-old batter smashed six fours and two sixes to reach his half-century in 36 deliveries.
Skipper Rahul, who anchored the stand from the other end, played sensible strokes to score a 35-ball 39 before falling to spinner Shabaz Ahmed in the 12th over.

Sensing help for slow bowlers, the RCB captain re-introduced leg-spinner Chahal into the attack. The wrist spinner proved captain's decision right by dismissing Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran (3 off 7) and Sarfaraz Khan (0 off 1) in his next two overs to change the complexion of the game.
Needing 45 runs off 24 balls, PBKS pinned their hopes on in-form Aiden Markram (20 off 14) to get them through. However, the South African middle-order batter fell in the next over to George Garton (1/27) to leave PBKS worrying at 127/5.
Shahrukh Khan (16 off 11) and Moises Henriques (12* off 9) made an effort to chase down the remaining runs but with RCB pacers Harshal Patel (0/27) and Mohammed Siraj (0/33) bowling at yorker lengths to perfection meant PBKS fell short of the target by 6 runs.

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