Royal Challengers Bangalore sealed an Indian Premier League play-off spot thanks to a six-run win over Punjab Kings on Sunday.
Glenn Maxwell smashed 57 from just 33 deliveries as Royal Challengers made 164-7 after opting to bat first, the highest total posted at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium since the 2021 season resumed.
Punjab Kings had won each of the three previous games against their opponents staged in the United Arab Emirates, and they looked well set to extend that streak when opening duo KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal impressed again, putting on a 91-run stand.
However, the innings lost momentum after Rahul departed for 39, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-29) turning the tide in his side's favour.
Agarwal would end up top-scoring with 57, but the Kings came up short in the final reckoning, ending on 158-6 as Bangalore's bowlers held their nerve in the closing stages.
While Punjab missed the chance to move into the play-off positions, Bangalore are certain to finish the round-robin stage in the top four after ending a three-match losing run at the venue.
Taking it to the Max
While Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal made 25 and 40 respectively at the top of the Bangalore order, both struggled to force the pace before being dismissed by Moises Henriques, who finished with 3-12. However, Maxwell had no such problems, smashing four sixes in a knock that was eventually ended when he became one of three wickets for Mohammed Shami (3-39) in an eventful final over.
Rahul on top, Kings in trouble
Rahul is back on top of the IPL's run-scoring list for the campaign; he has now managed 528 in 12 innings at an outstanding average of 52.80. His dismissal to Shahbaz Ahmed changed the complexion of proceedings, though, as his team fell away down the stretch to suffer a painful defeat.