It was a day to remember for 25-year-old spinner Harpreet Brar, as Punjab Kings catapulted off the back of his heroics to pick up a resounding victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Batting first, Punjab put up 179 runs on the board thanks to a big score from KL Rahul, which was comfortably defended thanks to the spin brilliance of Brar and Ravi Bishnoi in the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League.
Punjab Kings were forced into a change in their top order as Prabhsimran Singh replaced an injured Mayank Agarwal. And the youngster started positively, as he hit Daniel Sams straight back over his head for a brilliant four. Prabhsimran tried a big shot against Kyle Jamieson as well in the next over, but only found a top edge that went straight to Virat Kohli.
New man Chris Gayle however needed close to no time to settle, as he struck five fours in the final powerplay over, to ensure Punjab managed to get 49 runs in the first six for the loss of just one wicket. Gayle looked in the groove to hit some big shots, as he welcomed Yuzvendra Chahal into the attack with a flat over his head, and ended that over with another maximum in the same direction, this one going just slightly higher.
Seeing his partner firing, KL Rahul too joined the act as he dispatched Chahal for a six and a four in his next over, augmenting Punjab Kings’ cracking start. Rahul got his second six off the evening shortly after, hitting Daniel Sams over long on for a maximum to get another fifty under his kitty. The Aussie pacer however came back strong as he dismissed the dangerous Chris Gayle with a slower ball bouncer.
Punjab Kings soon lost their third wicket as well, as Nicholas Pooran failed to get off the mark, leaving his team at 109/3 after 12 overs. The two quick wickets slowed down Punjab slightly, as the next two overs yielded just eight runs, with the wicket of Deepak Hooda falling as well. New man Shahrukh Khan also had an off day, as he was knocked over by Chahal before he could open his account.
The boundaries dried up due to those wickets, as Punjab had to work for their runs as they got to 132/5 after 17 overs. New man Harpreet Brar finally broke the shackles in the 18th over, getting a big six over a mid-wicket and a four over mid-off to push up the scoring rate.
Rahul also freed his arms in the slog overs to get two quick fours, as he overtook leading run getter Shikhar Dhawan in the race for the Orange Cap. In the final over, Rahul went berserk as he pummelled Harshal Patel for two fours and a six, and his partner Harpreet too ended the innings with a maximum as Punjab Kings put up a strong total of 179.
Harpreet Brar’s double wicket maiden completely changed the game in favour of Punjab Kings, as Bangalore couldn’t get any momentum in their chase post those wickets.
In reply, the blistering pace of Riley Meredith caused all sorts of problems to the Bangalore openers, as Devdutt Padikkal was knocked over in just the third over of the game. RCB skipper Virat Kohli however started positively, as he got a couple of early boundaries. New man Rajat Patidar also picked up a four off a leg glance off Meredith’s penultimate over, as Bangalore ended the powerplay with 36 runs on the board.
Post that, Virat Kohli took his chances against the left-arm spin of Brar, hitting him over his head for a six. Kohli picked another boundary in Brar’s second over, but the asking rate kept climbing for the chasing side as Chris Jordan and Ravi Bishnoi managed to keep things tight from the other end.
The pressure was mounting, as Kohli was forced to play a big shot once again against Brar, but this time the ball evaded his bat and crashed into leg stump. The 25-year-old spinner followed that up with another wicket and four dot balls, to end with a double wicket maiden.
Harpreet Brar wasn’t done yet, as he managed to pick the prized wicket of AB De Villiers in his final over, to cap off a fine spell of 3/19. Rajat Patidar however continued to wage the war for his franchise, as he got a four and a six off Deepak Hooda’s first over as Bangalore got back to a run rate of six an over after 14.
Nevertheless, the task was too daunting by then, and Patidar was out caught in the deep when he tried to play a big shot off Jordan’s bowling. Things got even worse as Ravi Bishnoi returned to dismiss Shahbaz Ahmed and Daniel Sams off back to back deliveries, to end with figures of 2/17.
Jamieson and Patel swung their bat around in the overs that remained, getting a couple of boundaries and sixes to ramp up the score to 127/7 after 19 overs. In the final over, Ravi Bishnoi gave his team another reason to cheer, as he claimed a stunning, low catch to end Patel’s quick cameo. Bangalore ultimately ended their innings at 145/8 , as Punjab Kings picked up their third win of IPL 2021.
Punjab Kings play their next game on Sunday, May 2 against Delhi Capitals.