PBKS defeats RCB by 54 runs with half-centuries from Bairstow and Livingstone.
The Punjab Kings buried Royal Challengers Bangalore under a flood of runs to keep their playoff chances alive with a 54-run victory on Friday, riding on half-centuries from Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone.
The partnership of Bairstow (66 off 29 balls) and Livingstone (70 off 42 balls) powered Punjab Kings to 209 for 9 in a must-win game, and the scoreboard was always going to be telling, with RCB reduced to 155 for 9 in 20 overs.
While Punjab remains in contention with 12 points from 13 games, the margin of victory significantly boosted their net run-rate to +0.210, while RCB, despite 14 points from 13 games, is at -0.323.
RCB will need to win their last game to move to 16 points, but they will also need some luck in the form of a few favorable results.
Another day, another failure for Virat Kohli (20), who had a tiny under-edge tickle on his gloves before a Kagiso Rabada (4-0-21-3) ball struck his thigh pad and bobbed up to a short fine leg.
Rabada was virtually unplayable on the day, working at a strong tempo and hitting the optimum length for the whole of his stint.
Rishi Dhawan (4-0-36-2), possibly Punjab’s weakest link, then compensated for his lack of pace by striking excellent length as Faf du Plessis edged one to Jitesh Sharma behind stumps and Shikhar Dhawan took Mahipal Lomror’s rasping pull shot.
Rajat Patidar (26) and Glenn Maxwell (35) both contributed 64 runs but were never in the game, leaving in rapid succession.
And when Dinesh Karthik (11) was snuffed out by the superb Arshdeep Singh (4-0-27-1) with a wide yorker and a catch by the short third-man in the circle, RCB was done.
Earlier, Bairstow’s early barrage met its counterpart in Livingstone’s closing destruction.
While Bairstow laid the groundwork with a 29-ball-66, Livingstone was similarly impressive with a 42-ball-70 as the RCB bowlers had a day they’d rather forget.
Bairstow, who had been scratchy earlier in the competition, was back in his groove, hitting seven sixes and four boundaries in performance when he went hell for leather.
Bairstow’s dominance was such that by the end of the powerplay, he had struck seven soaring sixes, and Shikhar Dhawan (21 off 15 balls) added another to make it eight in total.
The Punjab Kings, who had set the standard for blistering powerplay starts, scored 83 in six overs, with Glenn Maxwell (1/17 in two overs), Josh Hazlewood (0/64 in four overs), and Mohammed Siraj (0/36 in two overs) treated with contempt.
While Maxwell did manage to dismiss Dhawan, both Hazlewood and Siraj bowled short on a pitch with real bounce. Bairstow effortlessly drew and flicked them into the bleachers, and by the time deliveries pitched up, they had also landed in the stands. It didn’t hurt that the boundary on one side was just 66 meters long, which is a power-fantasy hitter’s paradise.
Siraj had a forgettable first over, being hit for four sixes, whereas Hazlewood had gone for 22 in his. The Australian had his worst IPL performance yet.
However, as Wanindu Hasaranga (2/15 in 4 overs) and Shahbaz Ahmed (1/40 in 4 overs) came into the fray, RCB was able to stop the flow of runs with some tight wicket-to-wicket bowling.
Bengal left-arm spinner Shahbaz was rewarded by his tight lines when Bairstow mistimed a delivery and Siraj did well to scoop the skier.
After 83 in the first six overs, the score dropped dramatically to 22 between the seventh and tenth overs.
Hasaranga and Shahbaz both bowled outside of the off-stump, preventing Livingstone and Agarwal from charging down the track.
Even though Harshal Patel (4/34 in 4 overs) was spectacular towards the death, the Englishman still hit a couple of sixes and a reverse sweep boundary to continue his fine trend in the championship.
His fifty came off 35 balls, and he had four of the Punjab innings’ 14 sixes by the time he was out.