10 May 2024, 09:48

Kohli knock keeps Bengaluru in the hunt

 DHARAMSALA, India, May 10, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Virat Kohli slammed 92 to set up a 60-run win for Royal Challengers Bengaluru over Punjab Kings and keep their slim playoff hopes alive in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.

Kohli, 35, rode his luck and shared two crucial partnerships with Rajat Patidar (55) and Cameron Green (46) as Bengaluru scored a big 241-7 at the Dharamsala stadium.

Punjab paid the price for some sloppy fielding, dropping Kohli twice on zero and 10 off debutant seamer Vidwath Kaverappa.

Punjab suffered their eighth loss in 12 games and bowed out of the competition.

Kohli said he is always aiming to improve his game.

"I brought out the slog-sweep to the spinners. I know I can hit it as I've done it in the past," he said.

"I know I need to take risks. Takes more conviction and to remove the thought 'what if I get out?' Means I can improve my strike rate in the middle overs."

Punjab skipper Sam Curran said it had been a "frustrating and disappointing" end to their campaign.

"A lot of positive signs but not enough to get over the line and get the wins we needed. Gutted but lots to learn."

Bengaluru bowler Swapnil Singh, who took two wickets, said the victory meant a lot to the side.

"Enjoyed it a lot. The ball was swinging initially, so I looked to swing it. Pressure is less when everybody is (scoring) runs. Mentally it relaxes you," he said.

Rilee Rossouw gave Punjab a promising start, putting on 65 runs for the second wicket with Jonny Bairstow (27).

Rossouw, who belted his first half-century of the season, looked set for a bigger score but took a hit on his chin and was out the next ball off Karn Sharma for 61.

He hit three sixes and nine fours in his 27-ball innings.

After Rossouw's dismissal in the ninth over, none of the Punjab batsmen could stand up to the challenge, with the team being bowled out for 181 in 17 overs.

Earlier, Kohli stitched a 76-run partnership with Patidar for the third wicket after Bengaluru were put in to bat.

Patidar looked in fine touch, hitting six sixes and three fours before being caught behind off Curran.

The leading run-getter of the season, Kohli went on to play some delectable shots including an imperious one-handed six over long off.

Kohli also put on 92 runs with Green but fell short of a century after he was caught at deep extra cover off Arshdeep Singh.

He smashed six sixes and seven fours during his 47-ball 92 at a strike rate of 196.

Bengaluru, who registered their fourth win in a row, saw their innings being interrupted briefly by a spell of rain and hailstorm.


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