IPL

Rahul and Harpreet shine as Kings beat RCB

By Sports Desk April 30, 2021

KL Rahul scored another magnificent half-century and Harpreet Brar tormented Royal Challengers Bangalore in a 34-run Indian Premier League win for Punjab Kings.

Captain Rahul replaced Shikhar Dhawan as the leading run-scorer in the tournament with a scintillating 91 off 57 balls, getting Kings up to 179-5 after Virat Kohli put them in.

Chris Gayle also smashed a rapid 46 from 24 balls before Rahul and Harpreet provided a late flurry at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday.

RCB fell well short in reply with the Kings attack giving nothing away, Kohli top scoring with 35 as they could only muster 145-8 in Ahmedabad.

They never got going in the run chase and lost six wickets for 34 runs, with spinner Harpreet sparking the collapse by bowling Kohli before cleaning up Glenn Maxwell for a golden duck off the next ball in a double-wicket maiden.

Harpreet claimed outstanding figures of 3-19, while fellow tweaker Ravi Bishnoi finished with a brilliant 2-17 in a resounding victory.

Harshal Patel (31) and Kyle Jamieson (16 not out) combined for an eighth-wicket stand of 48, but the damage had been done as Kings moved up to fifth, consigning third-placed RCB to only a second defeat.

 

RCB have no answer to Rahul

Punjab skipper Rahul must wish he could play against RCB more often, as they have not managed to get him out since 2019.

The India batsman was imperious once again, bringing up his fourth half-century of the tournament off 35 balls after Gayle had taken 20 off a Jamieson over and struck Yuzvendra Chahal for two sixes in the next before gloving a Daniel Sams delivery behind.

Harshal, the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, went for 53 runs off his four wicket-less overs - the last of the innings costing 22 as Rahul and Harpreet (25 not out from 17) cut loose.

 

Harp calls the tune

Riley Meredith struck an early blow by removing Devdutt Padikkal's off stump before the Kings spinners came to the fore.

RCB were struggling on 36-1 at the end of the powerplay and were well behind the run rate when Kohli came down the track to Harpreet but lost his off stump.

Harpreet was on a hat-trick after bamboozling Maxwell with a peach of a delivery that clicked his off stump. It was pretty much game over when the same bowler had AB de Villiers caught at extra cover by Rahul, with Rajat Patidar soon following for 31.

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  • Centurions Abid and Azhar dominate before Muzarabani hits back for Zimbabwe Centurions Abid and Azhar dominate before Muzarabani hits back for Zimbabwe

    Abid Ali and Azhar Ali each hit centuries to put Pakistan in control on day one of the second Test in Harare before three late wickets from Blessing Muzarabani hauled Zimbabwe back into the contest.

    Opener Abid carried his bat through the day to reach stumps on 118 not out and Azhar struck 126, having combined in a mammoth second-wicket stand of 236.

    But after toiling on a sluggish surface for most of the day, Zimbabwe and Muzarabani (3-41) made the second new ball pay, as skipper Babar Azam and Fawad Alam followed Azhar back to the pavilion in short order and Pakistan closed on 268-4.

    The hosts could at least reflect on having bookended the day effectively.

    Pakistan, who handed a debut to veteran seamer Tabish Khan, batted after Babar won the toss, although Imran Butt scratched around for two runs from 20 deliveries before miscuing a pull at Richard Ngarava (1-35).

    Given how Ngarava and Muzarabani impressed in their initial burst and what followed, it appears how each team uses the new ball will be vital on a benign Harare pitch.

    Although Abid was the more circumspect throughout, the two centurions picked up the pace after lunch as Zimbabwe's discipline began to wane – Azhar enjoying himself backward of square and through midwicket, while Abid showed lovely timing through the covers.

    After Zimbabwe persuaded the umpires to change the ball in the 53rd over, slow left-armer Tendai Chisoro (0-80) dropped short and Abid smashed the ball into Roy Kaia's knee, forcing the short leg from the field after lengthy treatment.

    Azhar was the first to three figures off 198 balls, while Abid followed from his 224th delivery before a mini-collapse from 248-1.

    Muzarabani drew Azhar into a drive on the up, seeing him pouched at gully by Milton Shumba, before Babar edged to Kevin Kasuza in the cordon and Alam dragged on after struggling under a barrage of short deliveries.

    Abid and Azhar set up Pakistan for series win

    Abid would not have envisaged being joined by Sajid Khan to see out the day, but he will resume alongside the nightwatchman on Saturday having put questions over his place in the side to bed. The opener had a top score of 26 in his 10 Test innings preceding this tour, meaning he needed to back up a 60 in the initial encounter with something more substantial.

    There were no such doubts over the 36-year-old Azhar's credentials, but his century was also a redemptive one after being sacked as captain last November.

    Babar fed up of counting his Blessings

    Azhar's successor Babar has generally become Pakistan's sure thing across all formats and was in blistering form during the recent white-ball trip to South Africa. Not here, though, as he followed up a first-ball duck in his team's innings victory last time out with another single-figure score.

    Muzarabani appears to be a big part of the problem. Since returning to international cricket last year, the seamer has removed Babar on six occasions.

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