Mohali, April 1 (VOICE) Bhanuka Rajapaksa timed the ball well to slam a delightful half-century, but Kolkata Knight Riders bounced back to pick wickets in the second half as Punjab Kings posted 191/5 in an IPL 2023 match at the I.S. Bindra PCA Stadium on Saturday.
On a flat pitch and fast outfield, Punjab were threatening to score upwards of 200, as they reached 100 runs in the first ten overs. But Kolkata, whose bowlers majorly struggled, picked four wickets in the second half as PBKS could make only 91 runs to end up at a score nine short of 200.
All of Punjab’s batters got starts after being asked to bat first, but only Rajapaksa could touch the half-century mark, with the help of five fours and two sixes at a strike rate of 156.25.
Prabhsimran Singh got the Punjab innings off to a blistering start, smacking two fours and as many sixes. He looked in fine touch, especially when using his feet to hammer Tim Southee for four through mid-off and three balls later, smacked a six over wide long-on.
But Southee had the last laugh on the final ball of the second over, strangling Prabhsimran down the leg and sending the opener back for 23 off 12 balls. Shikhar Dhawan got going with vintage cuts on consecutive deliveries in the fourth over off Southee before Rajapaksa took over.
Rajapaksa fearlessly danced down the pitch to hit Sunil Narine sweetly through the line for fours through extra cover and long-off, followed by a six down the ground in a 14-run fifth over, also bringing up Punjab’s fifty.
Post the Power-play, Rajapaksa continued to be nimble-footed, swatting Shardul Thakur for four past the bowler and then hitting a pick-up six through the leg-side in the flamingo style. With the ball coming on nicely on the bat, Rajapaksa took boundaries with sweep and deft touch while Dhawan pulled and sliced with perfection as Punjab reached their 100 at the halfway mark.
After bringing up his half-century in 30 balls in the 11th over, Rajapaksa holed out to long-on two balls later off Umesh Yadav. Jitesh Sharma hit two huge sixes down the ground and over long-off in an 11-ball 12 before slicing to short third off Southee in the 14th over.
In the next over, Dhawan was castled while going across the line against a quicker googly from Varun Chakravarthy. Sikandar Raza and Sam Curran hit a six each in their 25-run stand off 20 balls.
But Kolkata bowlers kept things tight, which resulted in Raza miscuing an attempted slog to extra-cover off Narine. Curran hit a six in the last over while Shahrukh Khan hit two fours in the last two overs for Punjab to go above 190.
Brief scores: Punjab Kings 191/5 in 20 overs (Bhanuka Rajapaksa 50, Shikhar Dhawan 40; Tim Southee 2-54, Varun Chakravarthy 1-26) against Kolkata Knight Riders