Maxwell leads Bangalore to IPL playoffs

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Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has smashed a typically pugnacious half-century to earn Royal Challengers Bangalore a second successive play-off spot in the Indian Premier League.

Maxwell's 57 not out was the cornerstone of Bangalore's 7-164, which proved just enough to earn a six-run win over Punjab Kings in Sharjah on Sunday.

Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals had already made it to the last four and Kolkata Knight Riders will hope to clinch the final place after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets in Dubai.

Punjab batters continued to let down captain KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal's confident starts in the tournament with the team restricted to 6-158 in its unsuccessful chase.

Maxwell had earlier smashed four sixes and three boundaries in making 57, building on the foundation laid by Devdutt Padikkal (40) and Kohli (25), and supported by AB de Villiers (23). For Kings Moises Henriques bowled a miserly spell of 3-12 and Mohammed Shami (3-39) took three wickets in the last over.

"Eight wins out of 12 games is a great campaign, (and) we have two more opportunities to finish in the top two," said Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli, who won the toss and opted to bat on a slow wicket.

"KL and Mayank batted really well, but we knew we were just two wickets from coming back into the game."

Agarwal (57) and tournament top-scorer Rahul (39) took Punjab to 91 in the 11th over before Rahul, the Punjab captain, was caught at short third man.

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-29) then struck three times in two successive overs that included the dismissal of Agarwal as Punjab lost wickets at regular intervals.

"Our batting has let us down," Rahul said. "In T20, the top two or three do score the bulk of the runs, but we have missed someone in the middle who scores those 30-40 quick runs."

In Dubai Hyderabad could only muster 8-115 after captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat.

Williamson (26), Abdul Samad (25) and Priyam Garg (21) couldn't convert decent starts as Kolkata's spin trio conceded only 58 runs off their 12 overs.

Leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy picked up 2-26 and Shakib Al Hasan took 1-20 with Sunil Narine conceding just 12 runs off his four overs.

Shubman Gill anchored Kolkata's chase by hitting 10 fours before he was out at long on in the 17th over for a 51-ball 57. Nitish Rana (25) and Dinesh Karthik (18 not out) chipped in to guide Kolkata to victory with two balls to spare.

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