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Bhanuka’s 43(22), Smith’s 25*(8) take Punjab home

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Bhanuka Rajapaksa who scored 43 in 22 balls making a stroke at the opening IPL game.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) kicked off their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 campaign against Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy in Mumbai Sunday . Under new captain Faf du Plessis, RCB started well in power play overs due to some phenomenal strokes by youngster Anuj Rawat. After Rawat departed, former captain Virat Kohli and du Plessis weaved a huge partnership. Due to the classic finishing job by Dinesh Karthik, RCB put a huge score of 205 runs on the scoreboard.

While chasing a challenging target of 206 runs, Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Mayank Agrawal gave a flying start to their side. Later, Bhanuka Rajapaksa carried his side an inch closer to the win, however, it was Odean Smith who turned the match on its head in the final overs to help his side register their first win in IPL 2022.

Protea player Faf du Plessis opened the innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore as Punjab Kings won the toss and opted to field first. Faf had a tough time in the initial phase of the innings. He was given a life once as fielder Shahrukh Khan dropped a straight catch at short mid-wicket.

However, after the arrival of Virat Kohli on the crease, du Plessis changed gears. He smoked a gigantic six straight down the wicket off Liam Livingstone. In the next over, he hammered two sixes and one four off Odean Smith and he never looked back after these shots.

Faf completed his first half-century of the season off 41 deliveries. He continued his carnage against Harpreet Singh and Arshdeep Singh. Former RCB captain Virat Kohli assisted him well throughout the innings and added 118 runs with him. At last, in the seventeenth over bowled by Arshdeep, du Plessis was caught by Shahrukh at long-off.

The 37-year-old batter made 88 runs off just 57 deliveries consisting of three fours and seven humongous sixes. Virat remained unbeaten till the end of the innings on 41 off 29 deliveries.

After Sri Lanka leggie Wanindu Hasaranga dismissed PBKS opener Mayank Agarwal with the first ball of his spell, the chase by Punjab Kings could have gone downhill. However, a teammate of Hasaranga, Bhanuka Rajapaksa tackled him well and smoked a six and four in his second over. Rajapaksa also pummelled boundaries off Akash Deep and Harshal Patel.

If Rajapaksa would have batted till the end, he would have won the match for his side comfortably. However, Siraj undid Rajapaksa as Shahbaz Ahmed grabbed his catch at point. Rajapaksa played a whirlwind knock of 43 off just 22 deliveries with the help of two fours and four classic sixes.

When 36 runs were required in the final three overs to win the match, debutant Odean Smith whacked three blazing sixes and one four to garner 25 runs in an over to change the course of the match. In the next over, youngster Shahrukh Khan cracked a six and four to finish the match on a winning note.

Punjab Kings won their first encounter in IPL 2022 against Bangalore by five wickets. Odean Smith was awarded the Player of the Match award for his finishing job.

Also, Mohammed Siraj’s double strikes on back-to-back deliveries put Punjab Kings on the backfoot and turned the game in RCB’s favour to an extent. He cleaned up Rajapaksa first on 43 and trapped Raj Bawa in front of the stumps on the next delivery and send him to the dugout for a duck. However, Shahrukh Khan and Odean Smith didn’t give any chances to RCB bowlers and took their side home comfortably. (Agencies)

Brief Scores: PBKS 208/5 (Shikar Dhawan 43, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 43, Odean Smith 25*, Mohammed Siraj 59/2) beat

RCB 205/2 (Fuf du Plessis 88, Virat Kohli 41*, Dinesh Karthik 32*, Rahul Chahar 22/1) by five wickets


Tuesday, March 29, 2022 – 01:00

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