The Punjab Kings pulled a double against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Tata Indian Premier League 2022, registering a thumping 54-run win at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium on Friday night.

With this impressive effort, the Punjab Kings now have 12 points in 12 games with a net run rate of 0.023 as Player of the Match Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone scored bristling half-centuries each, putting the team just one win away from RCB and RR’s 14 points.

The Punjab Kings were intent to go all out from the first ball after being put in to bat first. A 22-run second over off Josh Hazlewood set the tone for the Kings to post their highest score this season so far.

After losing Dhawan for 21 (15) in the fifth over, Bhanuka Rajapaksa joined Bairstow, who bashed 23 runs off Mohammed Siraj in the sixth over to take the Kings to 83/1 at the end of the powerplay.

But Rajapaksa departed for 1(3) soon, and Bairstow followed suit in the 10th over, having scored a stellar 66 (29) to take the team to 105/3 in 10 overs. New batter Liam Livingstone refused to let the run rate fall. Mayank Agarwal gave him support with 19 (16) before falling at the 15-over mark, seeing the team at 152/4.

A rock-solid Livingstone struck a sensational 70 (42) while his partners faltered at the other end. However, the two Englishmen’s knocks and the quick little contributions from the rest of the team took PBKS to a mammoth 209/9 in 20 overs.

With Harpreet Brar opening the bowling, RCB began the chase looking threateningly good. However, Kagiso Rabada nipped it in the bud, taking out Virat Kohli for 20 (14) in the fourth over. Rishi Dhawan followed it up with a twin strike, accounting for Faf du Plessis (10 off 8) and Mahipal Lomror’s (6 off 3) wickets.

With just six runs coming off Rabada’s two overs early on, RCB were restricted to 44/3 at the end of the powerplay. Glenn Maxwell and Rajat Patidar attempted to revive the innings for the RCB with a 64-run partnership off 31 balls before Rahul Chahar ensured the latter was caught at long on.

Maxwell followed him back two deliveries later, falling to Harpreet Brar. At the end of 13 overs, RCB were at 109/5 with Dinesh Karthik and Shahbaz Ahmed in the middle.

PBKS bowlers took advantage of the quickly falling wickets to ensure the runs dried up and built pressure on the RCB batters. It paid off with Arshdeep taking Karthik’s wicket in a superb over and Rabada accounting for Ahmed. Chahar pocketed another one with Wanindu Hasaranga’s wicket as Brar took a spectacular catch at the ropes, forcing RCB to 137/8 in 17 overs.

Rabada’s final over of the match saw him claim Harshal Patel’s wicket, helping him finish with figures of 4-0-21-3. In this game, he also crossed the 200-wickets mark in T20s.

While Mohammed Siraj and Josh Hazlewood batted through to the end for RCB, it was never going to be enough. The team could only put up 155/9 in 20 overs, as PBKS sealed a 54-run win.

This victory keeps the Kings well and truly in the hunt for a playoffs spot, pushing the team to the sixth place while getting a good boost in the net run rate. The team will next face Delhi Capitals, also at 12 points, in their search for a playoffs spot.