Du Plessis, Siraj script 24-run win for RCB

RCB bowler Mohammed Siraj successfully appeals agains Punjab Kings batter Atharva Taide during the IPL 2023 at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Thursday

RCB bowler Mohammed Siraj successfully appeals agains Punjab Kings batter Atharva Taide during the IPL 2023 at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Thursday


Fast bowler Siraj’s terrific four-fer restricts Punjab’s run-chase to 150 in 18.2 overs

Mohali: Faf du Plessis played a special knock despite a rib injury before Mohammed Siraj produced his best figures in the IPL to set up a 24-run win for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Punjab Kings here on Thursday.

Playing as an 'Impact Player' due to his injury, Du Plessis plundered 84 off 56 balls and shared a 137-run opening wicket stand with stand-in captain Virat Kohli (59 off 47) to steer RCB to 174 for four after being put in to bat.

Though in-form skipper Shikhar Dhawan was unavailable for the second game in a row, Punjab had enough firepower to chase down 175 but lost too many wickets at the start of the chase. Siraj delivered with wickets with the new ball as well as in the death overs to end up with 4/21 in four overs and secure a welcome victory for his team."Even in the ODIs, my rhythm was good, my confidence was high and I have brought that into this season of the IPL. The first ball (to Atharva Taide) was a little short. Then, I tried to bowl a little fuller because I was getting shape. If I pick wickets in the powerplay, the opposition is put under pressure," Siraj said.

Siraj also effected a brilliant run-out of Harpreet Singh Bhatia through a sharp direct hit from mid-off. "I am a good fielder; I just make a few mistakes once in a while. I always try to keep improving on every aspect so that I can remain a part of the team," he added.

Jitesh Sharma's counter-attacking 41 off 27 for Punjab went in vain. It was RCB's third win in six games while Punjab suffered their third loss in six matches. Siraj was too hot to handle in the powerplay as he removed left-hander Atharva Taide with a sharp inswinger off the second ball of the innings before removing the dangerous Liam Livingstone in the fourth over.

Both lbw dismissals came after successful DRS reviews. Wanindu Hasaranga then castled Matthew Short with a googly before run-outs of Sam Curran and Harpreet Bhatia made matters worse for the home team.

At 97 for six, the game looked done and dusted but Jitesh Sharma kept Punjab in the game with some clean hitting, especially down the ground. He ran out of partners eventually.

Earlier, at 91 for no loss in 10 overs, RCB were on course for 200 plus total but Punjab bowled well in the middle and death overs to restrict the opposition. Du Plessis hammered five sixes and as many fours in his belligerent knock. Like he often does, the former South Africa skipper was not afraid to show his stumps to the spinners to free his arms for the big shots.

Kohli made 59 off 47 balls though the first half of his innings was more fluent. It was the fourth fifty plus score for the RCB openers this season, highlighting their consistency. RCB would be a tad disappointment with the total they ended up with after a flying start from du Plessis and Kohli, who fired their team to 59 for no loss in the powerplay.

Brief Scores

Royal Challengers Bangalore 174/4 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 84, Virat Kohli 59; Harpreet Brar 3/31, Arshdeep Singh 1/34) beat Punjab Kings 150 in 18.2 overs (Prabhsimran Singh 46, Jitesh Sharma 41; Mohammed Siraj 4/21, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/39) by 24 runs.

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