Rajasthan Royals kept their hopes alive as they beat Punjab Kings by four wickets in another last-over thriller in Match 66 of TATA IPL 2023 in Dharamsala.
A collective batting performance from RR saw Yashasvi Jaiswal (50 off 36) and Devdutt Padikkal (51 off 30) hit composed fifties to set the platform before Shimron Hetmyer (46 off 28), Riyan Parag (20 off 12) and Impact Player Dhruv Jurel (10* off 4) provided crucial final flourish to take the away side past the finish line.
Earlier, Punjab Kings’ middle-order came to the rescue after an early stutter as attacking knocks from Jitesh Sharma (44 off 28), Sam Curran (49* off 31) and Shahrukh Khan (41* off 23) propelled the home side to a competitive 187/5 after they were reduced to 50/4 inside seven overs.
Chasing 188, Rajasthan Royals were jolted early as they lost Buttler in the second over. Yashasvi Jaiswal was up and running straightaway in the first over. He got a fortuitous four off an inside edge first up but then crashed a couple of fours off the middle to make it 12 off the first over from Sam Curran. Rabada then started off beautifully beating Jos Buttler’s outside edge off back to back balls. He then brought one back in and trapped Buttler LBW off the next to complete a masterful set-up.
Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal made sure the pressure wasn’t built due to the early wicket as they played aggressively and hit a slew of fours and sixes to take the score to 57/1 at the end of the Powerplay. PBKS kept things tight in the next three overs and Padikkal then looked to up the scoring in the 10th over as he cracked a six off Arshdeep and then brought up his fifty but Arshdeep bounced back to have him caught at point two balls later as the away side reached 86/2 at the halfway mark. RR lost two in quick succession as Rahul Chahar had Sanju Samson caught at deep square leg.
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With the required run rate creeping over 10, RR changed gears as Shimro Hetmyer and Jaiswal cracked three sixes and four fours in the next three overs to accumulate 43 runs.
Jaiswal (50 off 36) then reached his fifty off 35 balls but he departed in the same over as he reverse swept one straight to backward point off Ellis where Rishi Dhawan pouched a good reflex catch. The Australian pacer bowled an excellent over and gave away just seven as the equation read 47 needed off 30. Arshdeep bowled a very good 16th over to give away 8 runs which included a edged four to third man by Riya Parag.
With 39 needed off 24 balls, Hetmyer cracked a four off Curran first ball but got lucky two balls later as Harpreet Brar couldn’t hold on to a tricky catch at short fine leg. Hetmyer was then given out caught behind as he looked to pull but he straightaway reviewed it and replays showed there was no bat involved. Curran gave away just six runs as the equation came down to 33 needed off 18 balls.
Rabada started off the 18th over with a front foot no ball and Riyan Parag dispatched the Free Hit ball for a six and then whipped the next one for another massive six over deep mid-wicket. Rabada though hit back hard to dismiss him off the last ball, caught at backward point off a leading edge. RR’s Impact Player Dhruv Jurel then walked out to bat as he replaced Yuzvendra Chahal in the line-up.
With 19 needed off 12, Hetmyer cracked a couple of fours through the covers as they took 10 off four balls. But then Dhawan pulled off an excellent diving catch at extra cover to dismiss the dangerous Hetmyer 46(28). Curran conceded 10 runs and picked up a wicket in the penultimate over. Trent Boult had the chance to take a single off the last ball of that over but the batters denied as RR wanted Jurel on strike. With 9 needed off the last over, Dhawan handed the ball to Rahul Chahar. Jurel clipped the first ball to the leg side and scampered through for two. He then thumped one but straight to long off for just a single. With 6 needed off four, Boult whipped it to deep mid-wicket for a single. With 5 needed off three, Jurel finished it off in style as he charged down and hammered it straight down the ground for a six to win the match for RR by four wickets.
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson won the toss and elected to bowl. They made four changes to their starting XI as Devdutt Padikkal, Riyan Parag, Navdeep Saini and Trent Boult replaced Dhruv Jurel, R Ashwin, Joe Root and KM Asif. The away side named Dhruv Jurel, Doovan Ferreira, Akash Vashisht, Kuldeep Sen and Murugan Ashwin as their substitutes.
Punjab Kings made one change to the starting eleven as Prabhsimran Singh replaced Nathan Ellis. Nathan Ellis, Sikandar Raza, Rishi Dhawan, Mohit Rathee and Matthew Short as their substitutes.
Rajasthan Royals started off well as Trent Boult did Trent Boult things to send back Prabhsimran Singh via a brilliant diving caught and bowled. It was his seventh wicket in the first over in this season’s TATA IPL. He nearly pulled off another spectacular catch of his own bowling four balls later but couldn’t hold on to a tough catch of Atharva Taide.
Despite the early wicket, Shikhar Dhawan and Atharva Taide took the attack to Sandeep Sharma in the second over as Dhawan cracked a four over mid on off a Free Hit and then smacked one straight down the ground for a powerful six. Taide finished the over with a heave over mid-wicket for a four to make it 16 off the over.
The duo continued the attacking approach as Taide played a brilliant pick-up shot over deep square leg for a six and then Dhawan thumped one over covers for a four to make it 12 off the over. Taide then looked to go after Navdeep Saini as he welcomed him into the attack with a couple of fours but the RR pacer bounced back to dismiss Taide (19 off 12) as he mistimed his pull straight to mid-wicket.
RR kept their discipline as Boult bowled a tight fifth over to give away just three. The pressure built slightly and Dhawan (17 off 12) fell to it as he missed his slog sweep off Adam Zampa and was trapped LBW as PBKS reached 48/3 at the end of the Powerplay.
PBKS lost another wicket in the next over as Saini cleaned up Liam Livingstone (9 off 13), missing his swing across the line. The home side lost their way and got into a shell. Jitesh Sharma then broke the shackles as he cracked a couple of well-timed sixes off Sandeep to take PBKS to 78/4 at the halfway mark.
Jitesh and Sam Curran got together to steady the ship and brought up their 50-run stand off 43 balls. The former was the aggressor and he stepped up a gear in the 14th over, smacking a couple of fours and a six off Saini but as he did earlier, Saini bounced back to dismiss Jitesh (44 off 28) off the next ball as he miscued one to extra cover.
While RR more or less kept things under control, Curran kept chipping away with an odd boundary every over. RR then switched to the fifth gear as Shahrukh Khan then upped the momentum with a four and a six off Chahal in the penultimate over. Curran joined the party with two sixes and a four which saw him dropped off the last ball, to make it 28 runs off the over.
Shahrukh provided the final flourish smashing a couple of fours and a six off Boult to amass 18 off the last over and propel PBKS to 187/5.
The last two overs cost RR 46 runs. Sam Curran remained unbeaten on 49 off 31 while Shahrukh remained not out on 41 off 23.
PBKS introduced Nathan Ellis as their Impact Player, replacing Prabhsimran Singh, at the start of the second innings.