IPL 2023: RR stay alive in the playoff race with win over PBKS
Rajasthan will now have an eye on RCB, MI and KKR’s last league games and hope for a superior net run-rate in the end to qualify
Punjab Kings ended their Indian Premier League 2023 campaign with a defeat as Rajasthan Royals stayed alive in the playoff race with a four-wicket win in Dharamshala on Friday.
True to this season’s style, it was another match that kept going back and forth but eventually, Sanju Samson’s team got the job done. With R Ashwin sidelined due to back spasms, RR conceded a total of 187/5 after opting to bowl first. In reply, they rode on key contributions from Yashasvi Jaiswal (50 off 36), Devdutt Padikkal (51 off 30) and Shimron Hetmyer (46 off 28) to finish with 189/6 in 19.4 overs.
Rajasthan will now have an eye on RCB, MI and KKR’s last league games and hope for a superior net run-rate in the end to qualify.
The Royals suffered a big setback early in the chase as Kagiso Rabada trapped Jos Buttler in front. With this third consecutive duck, the English opener became the first-ever player to register five ducks in an IPL season.
Padikkal, in at No. 3, was impressive and along with Jaiswal, put RR on course with a 73-run partnership that was studded with some classy strokeplay.
However, Punjab would’ve felt they were in the game as Sanju Samson fell cheaply and Rajasthan were left needing 97 runs off 51 balls. And to Punjab’s credit, they did do well to take the contest to the last over.
But Rajasthan got a quick-fire cameo from Riyan Parag (20 off 12) before Dhruv Jurel (10* off 4) finished the match with two balls to spare.
Earlier, Punjab’s innings was one of two acts – the first saw a proper collapse while the second witnessed two power-packed partnerships.
It was a must-win game but as they lost four wickets in the first 39 balls, there was a sense of recklessness in the way Punjab’s top order batted.
Trent Boult provided another first-over wicket for Rajasthan as Prabhsimran Singh chipped one back to him. Skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Atharva Taide combined to smash 36 runs off the next 14 balls, but they perished soon after as PBKS slipped to 46/3 inside the powerplay.
While Taide (19 off 12) mistimed a pull to mid-wicket, Dhawan (17 off 12) was trapped in front by Adam Zampa as he attempted a pre-meditated sweep shot. But perhaps the biggest blow came an over later when Liam Livingstone, who had plundered a 48-ball 94 against DC in the last game, went for a wild slog and was clean bowled by Navdeep Saini.
From 50/4, though, Punjab launched a strong comeback thanks to Sam Curran (49* off 31), Jitesh Sharma (44 off 28) and Shahrukh Khan (41* off 23). Curran first added 64 runs for the fifth wicket with Sharma, before posting an unbeaten 73-run stand with Khan.
The trio struck seven sixes and 11 fours between them as Rajasthan leaked a staggering 46 runs in the last two overs.
Sandeep Sharma, who had been clutch earlier in the tournament, was the most expensive bowler with figures of 0/36, while Saini, who had last played in RR’s opener this season, was the most successful with 3/40.
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