Twitter Reactions: Rajasthan Royals seal narrow win to keep playoffs hope alive, knock PBKS out
Dhruv Jurel kept his calm to seal a narrow win in a last-over thriller against Punjab Kings.
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Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals remain alive in IPL 2023 after sealing a narrow victory against Punjab Kings in Dharamsala. The home side posted a competitive total after Sam Curran and Shahrukh Khan's late riposte but failed to contain the Rajasthan batters in the second innings, bowing out of the tournament.
Rajasthan Royals needed to chase down the target in the stipulated time to overtake Royal Challengers Bangalore in the points table, and they started with intent as an in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed Sam Curran for three consecutive boundaries in the opening over in the second innings.
However, Jaiswal's senior opening partner, Jos Buttler, continued his horrendous IPL 2023 campaign as he was dismissed without opening his account for the third game running. Buttler also became the first batter to register five ducks in a single edition of the tournament.
While Buttler's departure was a big loss, Samson's decision to promote Devdutt Padikkal up the batting order turned out to be a masterstroke as the classy batter stitched a blistering partnership with Jaiswal. Padikkal smashed 51 off just 30 deliveries to pile the pressure on the Punjab bowlers.
But the hosts wrestled back the momentum with quick wickets of Padikkal and RR skipper Sanju Samson. Catastrophe struck for the visitors when Jaiswal departed after registering his fifth half-century of the tournament, attempting a funky reverse sweep.
Even though the onus was on Shimron Hetmyer to take his side home, it was Riyan Parag who brought down the equation in favour of Rajasthan with consecutive maximums against Kagiso Rabada in the 18th over. But the game turned once again after both Parag and Hetmyer departed in quick succession. Rajasthan needed a hero and their Impact Sub Dhruv Jurel played a heroic shot to seal a trilling victory for his side.
Sam Curran and Shahrukh Khan finish PBKS's innings on a high
Earlier, it was the Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson, who called it right at the toss in Dharamsala and decided to bowl first on a decent batting strip. His decision to bowl first in the must-win contest paid instant dividends as star Kiwi pacer Trent Boult dismissed Prabhsimran Singh in the very first over of the match, the fifth time Boult scalped a wicket in the opening over this season.
Despite that early jolt, the home side kept their foot on the accelerator, thanks to skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Atharva Taide's brisk partnership. However, both batters fell in quick succession to derail Punjab's start in the powerplay. But the big blow came in the first over after the conclusion of the field restrictions as Navdeep Saini cleaned up last match's hero Liam Livingstone for just nine runs.
The visitors were on top of the proceeding before Sam Curran and Jitesh Sharma launched a counter-attacking partnership. Just when it looked like Punjab were heading for a big total, Jitesh holed out against Saini to hand the initiative back to the Men in Pink. But a puzzling bit of captaincy from Sanju Samson handed the home side a lifeline as Curran and Shahrukh Khan registered Punjab's highest sixth-wicket stand, milking 46 runs in the last two overs.