In what turned out to be a two-man show for Punjab, KL Rahul and Harpreet Brar put up solid individual performances to help the Punjab Kings to an easy win over the Royal Challengers. After failing to nail death bowling, RCB's batting also crashed big time with Kohli's batting pegging back the side.
Where Bangalore lost the game
The first two deliveries of the 11th over. RCB, while trying to put their foot on the accelerator, lost crucial wickets of Kohli and Maxwell on back-to-back deliveries. They were already massively behind in the game and the dismissal of both the batsmen together made it an extremely tough job for AB de Villiers to pull off his magic again. And even ABD failed for once.
Nicholas Pooran's abysmal run
An explosive middle-order batsman is priceless in the shortest format. The way Nicholas Pooran delivered last season and was showing signs of maturing in his natural style of play, was very encouraging for the franchise and had set high hopes. But, so far, he has proved to be one of the biggest disappointments for the Kings and today he bagged his fourth duck of the season as he was bounced out by Kyle Jamieson. After making seven appearances, the left-hander has scored 28 runs, and has an average of 4.66, which is flabbergasting. Undoubtedly, there will always be a bigger rope for someone like Pooran, which is right too, given what he brings to the plate is unique and one of the most difficult roles, but at the end of the day, there has to be something worthwhile from his bat to continue playing at this level. It has been missing, atleast, in the first half of the season and high time he pulls up his socks or there will be no respite to the Kings' poor middle-order returns.
Yuzvendra Chahal needs to find his mojo
Though Chahal's figures of 1/34 were fairly respectable today, he just seems to have lost that ‘X-factor’ that made him a household name over the years. Chahal was having a tough time in T20 internationals for some time but somehow he always came back stronger in the IPL to make a strong case for himself. But, this year, he has given away 190 runs and returned with merely four wickets, striking every 34.5 deliveries. Last year, he wasn't afraid of flighting the ball, or bowling full, which is trademark Chahal, and that was drawing the batsmen out of the crease, troubling them and getting him wickets. But, this season, he has been bowling flatter, which might well be due to lack of confidence, and even his length has been slightly shorter, which has allowed the batsmen to rock on the back foot, get more time to read and play him well. With Rahul Chahar having a great run, Chahal needs to find his mojo before it's too late.
Stop the press when Rahul is batting against Bangalore
If hammering the Bangalore bowlers is an art, then KL Rahul is an undisputed master of it. He can just do no wrong against the Bangalore-based franchise as every time, literally, every time, he turns up against the Kohli-led side, leaving no stone unturned to make them regret letting the classy batsman go from the franchise. Today again, after starting off rather slowly, he carried off his whole team and with a 57-ball-91 propelled the Kings to 179. Now, in the last three innings he has batted against the Challengers, the Punjab skipper has hammered 284 runs, and batted into the 20th over on all the occasions. Since the start of 2018 IPL, his average against Bangalore has been a whopping 102.5 and it's hard to differentiate him from a god as he bats in his element, and just proves too hot to handle for Kohli's men, over and again.
RCB's death bowling is overrated
Undoubtedly, Bangalore's bowling has improved drastically since the last season. But, this year, despite boasting, an average at best, death bowling, they were nailing the 16-20 over phase, to emerge one of the best in the tournament. Harshal Patel was one of the biggest factors behind it. But playing at Chepauk greatly helped their cause given how difficult it is to bat on excruciatingly slow tracks especially at the fag end. But since moving out of Chennai, RCB, on an average, have given away 12.10 RPO, while their SR reads 24, the worst ER and SR for any side in the time period. Patel has conceded 14.88 RPO in non Chennai games, the poorest among all the bowlers for Bangalore at death. Today, Punjab hammered 60 runs off the final five overs, despite half of the side back in the hut, sending further warning signals. This whole build up around their death bowling, something that Virat Kohli was gushing about, not too long ago, was never full-proof, and it was a matter of time before they were going to get found out.
MVP - Harpreet Brar
Well, in any game, if you happen to take wickets of Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, that too in the space of seven deliveries, you ought to be the star of the day. And Harpreet Brar just did that. He broke the back bone of Bangalore's batting and ensured that the Kohli-led side couldn't cash in on Punjab's woeful death bowling. Not to forget, he had also made a crucial 25 with the bat at the fag end to partner KL Rahul and power Punjab to 179.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Boring
Well, not again, is how we generally go before every IPL game this year and why again, is our expression post the game. It again turned out to be a one-sided contest between Punjab and Bangalore. KL Rahul did bat beautifully at the end, bringing his whole range on display while Harpreet Brar impressed with his abilities but that's about it.