Kohli's 77 helps Bengaluru beat Punjab in IPL

Virat Kohli made 77 as Royal Challengers Bengaluru beat Punjab Kings in the IPL (Idrees MOHAMMED)
Virat Kohli made 77 as Royal Challengers Bengaluru beat Punjab Kings in the IPL (Idrees MOHAMMED)

Virat Kohli's 77 and a finishing act by Dinesh Karthik helped Royal Challengers Bengaluru beat Punjab Kings by four wickets for their opening IPL win of the season on Monday.

Master batsman Kohli smashed 11 fours and two sixes in his 49-ball blitz as hosts Bengaluru chased down their victory target of 177 with four balls to spare to bounce back from their loss in the opener of the lucrative T20 tournament.

Kohli fell to fast bowler Harshal Patel in the 16th over and soon Bengaluru lost another wicket before Karthik (28) and impact substitute Mahipal Lomror (17) steered the team home in an unbeaten stand of 48 off 18 balls.

Karthik hit two sixes and three fours including the winning boundary in his 10-ball knock.

Bowlers set up victory with pace spearhead Mohammed Siraj and spinner Glenn Maxwell taking two wickets each to keep Punjab down to 176-6 despite skipper Shikhar Dhawan's 45.

Kohli, who missed India's 4-1 Test series victory over England because of the birth of his second child, then took charge after he was dropped on the second ball of the chase by Jonny Bairstow at first slip off Sam Curran.

He capitalised on the spill on nought and hit the left-handed Curran for four boundaries including three successive hits to set up the chase in the first over.

His flowing cover drives, flicks on the on side and behind-the-wicket hits raised the noise at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium as chants of "Kohli, Kohli" filled the air.

He raised his 51st IPL fifty in 31 balls and became the third batsman after Chris Gayle and David Warner to score his 100th 50-plus knock in T20 cricket.

Punjab fast bowler Kagiso Rabada struck early with the key wickets of skipper Faf du Plessis and Cameron Green -- both the batsmen out on three.

Kohli stood firm but Punjab bowlers got down a few disciplined overs to put the pressure back on Bengaluru, but the star batsman, and later Karthik, ensured victory.

Bengaluru invited Punjab to bat first and struck regular blows after Siraj send Bairstow trudging back to the pavilion for eight.

Batsmen failed to convert starts with Prabhsimran Singh and Curran out for 25 and 23 respectively.

fk/bsp