Rajasthan Royals remained alive in the IPL 2023 playoff race as they beat Punjab Kings by four wickets on Friday. With the win, RR have reached the fifth spot with 14 points from as many games. Though their fate does no longer lie in their own hands, they still can advance to the playoffs with other results going their way. The match was fought on till the last over but Dhruv Jurel‘s final over six clinched the victory for Rajasthan Royals at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on Friday.
The match was also witness to an unusual event as RR’s star batter Shimron Hetmyer and PBKS allrounder Sam Curran got involved in a war of words. Hetmyer, whose 46 off 28 balls played a crucial role in RR’s win, got engaged in a heated exchange with Curran after the batter reviewed decision on the fifth ball of the 17th over. The mind game continued in the 19th over, when Curran came to bowl again, as Hetmyer circled him after hitting a four. Ultimately, Curran fell to Hetmyer in the same over.
Watch: RR Star In Verbal Spat with PBKS’ Curran, Antics With Bat Is Viral
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Talking about the game, 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.
With PTI inputs
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