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IPL 2023: Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis' 137-run opening stand power RCB to 174/4 against PBKS

Mohali: The 137-run opening stand between Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis powered Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to a decent score of 174/4 against Punjab Kings (PBKS) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium on Thursday.
RCB got off to a great start, racking up 137 runs without losing any wickets. However, after the 17th over, they lost two big wickets -- of Virat and the dasher Glenn Maxwell -- in quick succession. RCB lost momentum thereafter and weren't able to lift the scoring rate in the tail-end of their innings. For Punjab Kings, left-armer Harpreet Singh was the pick of the bowlers, snapping up two wickets for 31 runs while pacers Arshdeep Singh and Nathan Ellis took one apiece.
However, Sam Curran and Rahul Chahal brought Punjab back into the game, bowling tight lines and lengths and not giving easy runs to RCB.
Put into bat, RCB introduced their impact player at the start in the form of regular skipper Faf du Plessis, partnering stand-in skipper Kohli. Both batters gave a solid start to their team, putting together a 50-run partnership in 5.1 overs. Virat's 29 in 19 balls was studded with 4 fours and Faf's 27 runs off 17 comprised two fours and two hits over the fence. Their rollicking stand took RCB to 59/0 in the powerplay.
Faf continued his red-hot form, bringing up his fourth fifty of this season off 31 balls, consisting of 4 fours and three sixes. RCB raced to the 100-run mark in 11.4 overs without losing any wickets.
Punjab tried to slow the RCB innings thereafter, with Sam Curran and Rahul Chahar conceding just five runs each in the 13th and 14th respectively.
Virat's half-century came a little late, in the 15th over. He scored his fifty at less than a run a ball.
PBKS missed out on a chance to send Kohli back to the dugout in the 16th over, with his personal score at 59 off 47 balls. However, wicket-keeper Jitesh Sharma dropped a regulation edge off seamer Curran.
However, Punjab did see the back of Kohli soon after as Hardeep Brar got Virat to edge one to Jitesh and he snapped up a brilliant catch. Harpreet took the wicket of Glenn Maxwell off the next ball, giving Punjab another crucial breakthrough.
Punjab dealt another big blow to Bangalore, taking the prized wicket of Faf at 84 off just 56 balls. Nathan Ellis took his wicket, having him caught at long off.
Keeper Dinesh Karthik was dismissed cheaply again, at 7 runs of 5 balls, by Arshdeep Singh in the 19th over.
Brief Score: Royal Challengers Bangalore 174/4 (Faf du Plessis 84, Virat Kohli 59, Harpreet Singh 2-31) vs Punjab Kings. (ANI)

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