Ahmedabad: Skipper K L Rahul scored a combative 91 while Harpreet Brar accounted for three key batsmen as Punjab Kings thumped Royal Challengers Bangalore by 34 runs in an IPL match, here on Friday.
Put in to bat, Punjab were in a spot at one stage, but Rahul's perseverance, power-hitting of Chris Gayle (46) and energy of Brar (25) ensured they had a competitive 179/5 on board.
Rahul and Gayle shared a 80-run stand but Punjab's middle order collapsed as Brar, batting at No. 7, was the only other batsman to manage a double-digit score.
Rahul and Brar added 61 runs for the unbeaten eighth wicket to rescue the side after the RCB bowlers had seized the initiative following Gayle's dismissal in the 11th over.
Rahul hit seven fours and five sixes in his 57-ball knock, while Brar took 17 balls for his 25 that had two sixes and a four.
Brar (3/19) then returned with ball in his hand to dismiss key rival batsmen -- Virat Kohli (35), Glenn Maxwell (0) and AB de Villiers (3) -- as RCB ended up on 145/8.
The win took Punjab (6) to fifth place behind Mumbai Indians (6) in the points table from the sixth place, while RCB (10) remained at number three.
The fiery spells from Riley Meredith (1/29) and Mohammed Shami (1/28) meant that RCB were off to a sedate start as they could score only 36 runs from the Powerplay overs.
The 24-year-old Australian pacer consistently tested the RCB openers and eventually uprooted the stumps of Devdutt Padikkal (7) after being hit for a six on a mis-timed shot by the left-hander.
Kohli, who was hit on his right elbow by compatriot Shami, and Rajat Patidar kept the scoreboard ticking as shot-making was not easy against the disciplined Punjab bowlers.
At the halfway mark, RCB were just 62/2 and to make matter worse, left-arm spinner Brar clean bowled Kohli and Maxwell off successive deliveries in the 11th over.
The Punjab bowler returned and sent back dangerous de Villiers (3) to leave RCB gasping.
From there onwards, it stopped being a contest as the required run-rate kept soaring.