Rajasthan Royals have beaten Punjab Kings by 4 wickets on Friday night to stay in contention for a spot in the playoffs, but only just. However, the defeat means Punjab are knocked out of the tournament, finishing with 12 points from 14 league stage matches this season.
Half-centuries from Yashwasvi Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal followed by Shimron Hetmyer's stunning 46-run knock powered Rajasthan to the win that takes their tally to 14 points and leaves them at the fifth spot after their last league stage game.
For Punjab, after a shaky start, Sam Curran's unbeaten 49 off 31 and Shahrukh Khan's quickfire 41 not out off 28 balls along with Jitesh Sharma's 31-ball 44 guided the team to 187/5 after being put into bat first.
Sanju Put Rajasthan Into Bat
After a shaky start, Jitesh Singh and Sam Curran steadied the innings with a crucial 64-run stand before the latter got dismissed. Then, Shahrukh joined Sam and the duo established an unbeaten 73-run partnership off 37 balls, taking 46 runs off the last two overs to help Punjab post 187/5.
For Royals, Navdeep Saini was the pick of the bowlers, claiming three wickets in his allotted overs after conceding 40 runs.
Trent Boult struck to put an early dent in PBKS' innings as he caught and bowled opener Prabhsimran Singh on the second ball of the innings. But Punjab regrouped quickly with the help of Shikhar Dhawan and Atharva Taide's strokeplay before Saini sent back Taide for a quickfire 19.
An over later, Adam Zampa came in attack and removed PBKS skipper Dhawan out lbw as PBKS reduced to 48/3 at the end of the powerplay.
Soon, Saini claimed his second as he cleaned up the dangerous batter Liam Livingstone in the seventh over to get the Royals right on top in the innings. He bowled on a good length and angled it into the stumps from outside off. Livingstone went for a wild heave into the leg side but missed and found his stumps shattered.
The Royals continued to dominate the innings as no boundary came in the last four overs but Jitesh Sharma broke the shackles hitting Sandeep Sharma with two massive sixes as PBKS reached 78/4 in 10 overs.
Jitesh Sharma took Saini to the cleaners, hitting four, six and four on three successive deliveries but the pacer has the last as he removed the dangerous-looking batter on the next ball. Half of the PBKS line-up was back in the pavilion as Punjab were reeling at 117/5 in 15 overs.
In the penultimate over, Shahrukh Khan pulled towards cow corner for four runs and swept handsomely over deep square-leg for six runs. A dot ball later, Curran smacked a six and completed a fifty-run stand for the sixth wicket.
He then hit it over the bowler's head for another maximum and finished the over with a four, taking 28 runs off it.
Shahrukh started the last over with a boundary. A couple of balls later, he smashed a six and followed that up with a four and finished the innings with a brace as PBKS posted 187/5 in 20 overs.
Yashavi & Paddikal Score Fifties in Rajasthan's Chase
After a big opening over of their chase, the Royals lost Jos Buttler for a duck in the second. Then, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal hit the paddle to take the powerplay to 57-1 with eight boundaries and two maximums.
PBKS managed to keep the duo quiet in three overs before Padikkal pulled over deep mid-wicket for a six and completed his fifty with a single. But Arshdeep Singh was quick to dismiss him on the next ball, ending a 73-run second wicket stand and Royals were reeling at 86/2 in 10 overs.
In the next over, Rahul Chahar trapped the big fish, skipper Sanju Samson, who looked to flick over the ropes on the leg side but did not get much elevation. The ball flew straight down the throat of Rishi Dhawan at deep square leg who took an easy catch.
Afterwards, Jaiswal and Shimron Hetmyer started punishing PBKS bowlers with their well-timed hits. Soon the former brought up his fifty in 35 balls but fell to Nathan Ellis on the next ball.
With 47 needed in 30 balls, the Royals managed to get just two fours in the next two overs. Sam Curran almost got Hetmyer in the next over but the batter immediately reviewed the decision. A flat-line on the ultra edge and Hetmyer stayed on with 33 needing in 18 balls.
Kagiso Rabada started the 18th over with a no-ball and Riyan Parag smacked it over deep mid-wicket for a six on free-hit and followed that up with another maximum. Rabada avenged it quickly he dismissed Parag on the last ball of the over.
Hetmyer smashed two boundaries off Curran but departed on the next ball after playing a brilliant knock and 9 was needed in the final over to win.
After three singles came in the first three balls, Dhruv Jurel smoked it down the ground over long-on for a maximum to seal the win for the Royals.