Kohli propels Bengaluru to 60-run win over Punjab in push for IPL playoffs

DHARAMSHALA, India (AP) — Virat Kohli scored 92 off 47 balls and Royal Challengers Bengaluru beat the Punjab Kings by 60 runs Thursday for their fourth straight victory to stay in contention for an Indian Premier League playoffs spot.

Kohli pounced on two early dropped catches to anchor Bengaluru’s total of 241-7 and Rajat Patidar, also dropped twice, provided the early acceleration by smashing a 23-ball 55.

Rilee Rossouw, who missed a hard two-handed catch of Kohli in the covers, made a blistering 61 off 27 deliveries and gave Punjab hope with his first half-century of the season before Mohammed Siraj (3-43) ran through the lower and bowled out Punjab for 181 in 17 overs.

Kohli also starred in the field when he sprinted from mid-wicket and run-out Shashank Singh (37) off a splendid direct throw with one stump to aim at as Punjab lost its way in the second half of its run-chase.

Bengaluru improved to 10 points with two league games to go. The loss knocked Punjab out of contention for the playoffs.

Fast bowler Vidwath Kaverappa in his IPL debut had the wickets of Faf du Plessis (9) and Will Jacks (12) and twice came close to dismissing Kohli, who escaped a chance before he had scored and then Rossouw floored a catch when Kohli had reached 10.

Kaverappa should also have had the wicket of Patidar for zero but Harshal Patel fluffed an opportunity at deep backward square leg as the fast bowler finished with 2-36 off his unchanged four-over spell with the new ball.

Patidar got another life on 33 when wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow couldn’t grab a thick edge before the power-hitter completed his half-century featuring six sixes and three boundaries. There was a brief stoppage of play due to rain and hail just after Patidar’s whirlwind knock ended when he was caught behind.

Kohli and Cameron Green (46) continued to countercharge after play resumed as Punjab skipper Sam Curran returned with expensive figures of 0-50 off his three overs and Bengaluru smashed 77 off the last five overs.

Kohli became the first batter to cross the 600-run mark this season, but just when he looked set for his second century he sliced Arshdeep Singh (1-41) to Rossouw at deep cover in the 18th over.

Patel (3-38) denied Bengaluru reaching 250 with a brilliant last over which went for just three runs as the fast bowler had Dinesh Karthik (18) and Green caught by Curran and in between clean bowled Mahipal Lomror for zero.


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