Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered a calamitous loss at a crucial stage of IPL 2022, putting their qualification hopes in serious jeopardy. They were thoroughly outplayed for the vast majority of the game, as the Punjab batting order ran a rampage on the bowlers, taking apart Josh Hazlewood and Mohammed Siraj in particular.
The top order problem persisted for the RCB. Each of their top three batsmen got starts, but could not convert, denting their side’s hopes of a win and more importantly, a place in the knockout stages of the tournament. A 54-run defeat will not do the Royal Challengers any favours either, with their net run rate being quite poor.
RCB captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to bowl first in what was quite an obscure decision. The Punjab openers gladly accepted the decision, with Jonny Bairstow, in particular, going bonkers from the very first over. The Englishman greeted Hazlewood with a series of huge sixes towards the shorter side of the ground. The Aussie pacer went for 22 runs in his first over.
Shikhar Dhawan also joined in at times, but it was majorly Bairstow who did the heavy lifting as the Punjab Kings posted 81 in the powerplay. Dhawan was dismissed by Glenn Maxwell, following which Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s stay came to an end.
Bairstow was also done away with just after the break. Shahbaz Ahmed came in with the breakthrough, and the Punjab momentum seemed to have broken down. However, Bairstow’s international teammate Liam Livingstone took the baton from the opener and launched into an all-out attack against the RCB bowlers.
Livingstone also took Hazlewood for plenty towards the end. The Lancashire all-rounder provided his side with the much-required finish, propelling them to 209/9 at the end of the 20 overs. Livingstone finished on 70 in 42 balls, continuing his excellent form in this edition of the tournament, once again proving that he is one of the best in the business, especially in the shortest format.
With a mountain to climb, it was absolutely paramount from an RCB perspective that their openers get off to a good start. Virat Kohli showed great intent, scoring two boundaries and a maximum early on in his innings.
However, fate had a cruel surprise for the former Indian captain was dismissed in the most unlucky fashion possible. A faint tickle struck the maestro’s thigh guard to balloon up straight into the hands of square leg. Du Plessis followed soon after, as a rash shot cost the skipper his wicket. Notably, Mahipal Lomror went back as quickly as he came in.
Maxwell and Rajat Patidar were able to briefly bring the RCB innings back on track, with a good partnership in the middle overs, as they had a few good overs in between. However, once the two were dismissed, it all came crashing down quite quickly for the RCB. No batsman could cope up with the exceptionally high required rate, eventually losing by a 54-run margin, potentially detrimental to their playoff chances.
The umpiring was another subject of interest in the game, with the umpires, both the on-field and the TV umpires not being on top of their game, something that has been observed throughout the course of the tournament.
A contentious LBW decision that went against the RCB, even as evidence seemed to suggest the opposite, and some highly questionable wide calls off the Punjab bowlers brought up further doubts over the standards of umpiring in the tournament.
Punjab Kings 209 for 9 (Livingstone 70, Bairstow 66, Harshal 4-34) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 155 for 9 (Maxwell 35, Patidar 26, Rabada 3-21) by 54 runs