The pitch report ahead of the match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings on Sunday, October 3, 2021, had ascertained that the strip at the Sharjah international cricket stadium was a slow track and anything above 150 would be winning total.
With a place in the play-offs at stake, when Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat, RCB had to score anything above the par score at the venue.
And sure enough the opening pair of Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal gave the Bangalore team a start they needed, blasting the bowlers to all corners of the ground. Even spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who has been economical, was sent to the cleaners.
That the fielding was poor only added to Punjab’s woes. And Bangalore raced to 67-0 after 9 overs.
But that is when Moises Henriques came to the party. The wicket was low and slow and he used the wicket to his advantage.
Henriques bowled the perfect ball that kept low and went under Kohli’s bat and onto the stumps as he tried to slog.
Henriques then took out Dan Christian for a duck — he slashed hard at the full one and was caught at backward point. Henriques also dismissed danger man Padikkal, who was going very well.
From the 7th to the 12th overs only 18 runs came for the loss of 3 wickets.
But just when it looked like Punjab were sneaking back into the game, Glenn Maxwell came to the party.
Maxwell came at the fall of Christian’s wicket and took a couple of overs to find his feet before going about his usual business — tonking the bowling around.
He first started by plundering left arm spinner Harpreet Brar for two sixes and then giving the same treatment to Bishnoi smashing 16 runs each in the 13th and 15th overs.
He kept the momentum going in the overs that followed with A B de Villiers also matching him shot for shot off a Mohammed Shami over.
Maxwell got to his 50 in the 18th over — his fifth of the season. He was finally dismissed for a well made 57 in the 20th over but not before helping his team bounce back from a shaky position they were put in by compatriot Henriques, who also finished with impressive figures.
His spell of 4-0-12-3 were his best figures in the IPL.
He helped Punjab come back into the game but Maxwell’s Big Show helped RCB pile up a winning total that Punjab fell short of by 7 runs.
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