Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore beat the Punjab Kings by six runs in a thrilling clash on Sunday to secure their place in the IPL playoffs.
Glenn Maxwell hit 57 off 33 balls and Devdutt Padikkal 40 as Bangalore made 164-7 from their 20 overs in Sharjah.
Punjab fell short despite Mayank Agarwal’s 57 and captain KL Rahul’s 39. The opening pair put on 91 for the first wicket and Punjab seemed on target for an upset win.
But spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took three key wickets – Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran and Sarfaraz Khan, for a golden duck – at a cost of just 29 runs to give Bangalore the advantage.
Punjab needed 27 off the last two overs but bowlers Mohammed Siraj and Harshal Patel kept big hitter Moises Henriques in check as they gave away just 20.
Bangalore, who have yet to win the title, go into the last four with the Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals. Kohli said this tournament had seen an “amazing” resurgence by his side.
Bangalore have not reached the playoffs with games to spare in the past decade.
“Eight wins out of 12 games is a great campaign. We have two more opportunities to finish in the top two. That should give us the motivation to play even more fearlessly,” he said.
The Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians are all in contention for the fourth semi-final place.
© Agence France-Presse