ANI Photo | Dhruv Jurel’s final over six knock Punjab Kings out of IPL 2023 Playoff race

Dhruv Jurel’s final over six clinched the victory for Rajasthan Royals and ended Punjab Kings’ hopes of sealing their place in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 playoffs at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium on Friday.
Chasing 188, Rajasthan Royals received an early blow as they lost their star batter Jos Buttler in the second over.
Yashasvi Jaiswal got to a flying start with a four and then he struck a couple of fours off the middle to make it 12 off the first over from Sam Curran.
Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal made sure the pressure wasn’t built due to the fall of one 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 wickets in quick succession as Rahul Chahar had Sanju Samson caught at deep square leg.
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 gather 43 runs.
Jaiswal (50 off 36) then reached his fifty off 35 balls but his innings came to an end in the same over as he sent the ball straight into the hands of Rishi Dhawan in Nathan Ellis’s over.
The Australian pacer bowled an excellent over and gave away just seven as the equation read 47 needed off 30. Arshdeep bowled an economical 16th over to give away 8 runs which included an 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 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,
PBKS had the worst possible start in their do-or-die clash as Prabhsimran Singh lost his wicket in the first over. Trent Bould made a mark on his return in an instant. He took a diving catch to dismiss Prabhsimran for a score of 2(2).
The hosts tried to rally up as PBKS skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Atharva Taide tried to launch a counter-attack in the second over of the match. Sandeep Sharma became their target as he ended up conceding 16 runs.
In the third over they continued their dominance as Boult conceded 12 runs in his second over. PBKS had found their feet but Navdeep Saini came into the attack to disrupt their momentum. He picked up his first wicket of the IPL by dismissing Taide for a score of 19(12).
Boult followed up with a strong over as he gave away three runs. Samson stirred things up by handing the ball to Adam Zampa. The Australian delivered on the faith that was invested in him by picking up the wicket of Dhawa for a score of 17(12). Dhawan was down on his knee trying to play a sweep shot. He got beaten as the ball skidded along the surface and went on to hit on his pads.
At the end of the powerplay, PBKS were 48-3.
PBKS suffered another loss as Saini claimed his second wicket of the match by sending the bails in the air of the in-form batter Liam Livingstone for a score of 9(13).
From that point, Jitesh Sharma and Sam Curran brought much-needed stability to the disintegrating innings of the home team.
The pair survived till the 14th over before Saini ended their game-changing partnership. Jitesh couldn’t keep up with the intensity of Saini. He lost his wicket for a score of 44(28).
Shahrukh Khan came in to finish the game with Sam Curran playing the anchor role. A feeling of de ja vu started to creep around the entire stadium as Chahal was asked to bowl the 19th over.
Shahrukh welcomed Chahal by striking two consecutive sixes. He rotated the strike on the third ball and then Curran started to show off his true colours bu hitting two successive sixes and a four on the final ball to claim 28 runs in a crucial over.
The final over ended on a similar note as Boult conceded 18 runs to end the PBKS innings on a high note.
PBKS ended the first innings with a score of 187/5 in 20 overs.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 189/6 (Devdutt Padikkal 51(30), Yashasvi Jaiswal 50(36) and Kagiso Rabada 2/40) vs Punjab Kings and Punjab Kings 187/5 (Sam Curran 49(31)*, Jitesh Sharma 44(28), Shahrukh Khan 41(23)* and Navdeep Saini 3/40) vs Rajasthan Royals. (ANI)

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