PBKS vs RR, IPL 2024: Rajasthan Royals beat Punjab Kings by three wickets

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PBKS vs RR, IPL 2024: A disciplined bowling performance coupled with a fantastic finishing act of 27*(10) from Shimron Hetmyer helped Rajasthan Royals (RR) edge Punjab Kings (PBKS) in a last-over thriller in Match 27 of the TATA IPL 2024 at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium in Mullanpur

An accurate and collective bowling effort from RR had restricted PBKS to 147/8 after opting to field at the toss. PBKS battled hard with an impressive bowling effort to bring it down to 10 required off the last over. Finisher Hetmyer then held his nerve and smashed a couple of sixes off Arshdeep in the last over to help RR get back to winning ways and notch up their fifth win of the season.

Chasing 148, RR got off to a steady start as openers Yashasvi Jaiswal, who came out as an Impact Player, and Tanush Kotian scored 43/0 in the Powerplay. The duo brought up the 50-run stand off 47 balls but one could sense the frustration building with the boundaries not coming easily. That frustration brought the wicket of Kotian as he looked to go big but missed his swing off Livingstone and was castled. The boundaried dried up as RR reached 66/1 at the halfway mark.

Captain Sanju Samson then broke the shackles, smashing a six and a four off Livingstone to make it 13 off the over. Curran brought back Rabada in the next over and the move worked as he dismissed the set Jaiswal (39 off 28). The captain continued with Rabada and the pacer brought another wicket as he got the huge wicket of Samson, trapping him LBW via a slower one. Rabada bowled out with impressive figures of 4-0-18-2.

The required rate was steadily climbing and PBKS could have had the big wicket of Riyan Parag two overs later but Livingstone put down a tough chance at long on and then a leading edge just eluded Curran off his own bowling. With 43 needed off 24, Parag went for the attack. He top edged one over the keeper’s head for a six off Arshdeep and then got a couple off the inside edge to fine leg. But Arshdeep had his man as Parag miscued his pull to deep mid-wicket where Rabada settled under it and took a good catch. Arshdeep nearly had two in the over as Dhruv Jurel was given out caught behind, but he straightaway reviewed it, and replays show it hit his thigh pad.

With 34 needed off 18, Harshal sent back Jurel off the second ball of the over via a fantastic running catch from Shashank Singh. But Hetmyer made it an over of mixed emotions for Harshal as he smashed a four and a six off the last two balls to bring the equation to 20 needed off 12.

Rovman Powell started the penultimate over brilliantly, cracking two fours off the first two balls from Curran, but there was another twist as Curran bounced out Powell off the next ball. Two singles followed before Curran had Keshav Maharaj caught at long on.

With 10 needed off the last over, Arshdeep executed a brilliant couple of yorkers first up to get two dot balls against Hetmyer. The RR batter, though, bounced back hard to smash a flat six to long on the next ball to bring the equation down to 4 needed off 3. He thumped the next one to long on where Curran fumbled and the batters scampered back for two. With 2 needed off 2, Hetmyer swung a full toss over long leg fence for a six to win it for RR. He remained unbeaten on 27 off 10 balls and took RR past the finish line in a tightly-fought contest.

Earlier, Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson won the toss and elected to field.

RR got off to a good start, restricting the home side to 38/1 in the Powerplay. Openers Atharva Taide and Jonny Bairstow had added 27 before Avesh got RR the first breakthrough, dismissing Atharva Taide, who top-edged his pull, in the fourth over. Taide had hit a couple of crisp fours through the off side in the second over to get into the groove, but he couldn’t make the most of his start. Things got difficult for the home side from then on.

The runs weren’t flowing, the pressure was building, and Prabhsimran Singh succumbed to it as he went for a big one off Yuzvendra Chahal in the seventh over but only managed to mistime it to deep mid-wicket where Dhruv Jurel took a good running catch. Keshav Maharaj struck in the next over, having Jonny Bairstow caught at extra cover.

RR were rewarded for their discipline and accuracy as Maharaj got his second in his second over, having Sam Curran caught at deep mid-wicket. PBKS trudged to 53/4 at the halfway mark.

Jitesh Sharma finally hit a four after five overs as he crashed one to long off, off Maharaj. Shashank Singh followed up with another one as he crashed one over extra cover in the same over. But Samson brought back Sen and he struck straightaway as Shashank mistimed his pull to deep mid-wicket. Sen could have had two in two as he induced an outside edge off Liam Livingstone first ball but Samson couldn’t hold on to a tough diving catch.

A couple of tight overs followed before Sharma broke free and cracked two sixes, one each off Chahal and Sen. Livingstone too upped his scoring, smacking a four and a six off Sen as the duo took 17 off his over.

Just when it looked like PBKS were getting some momentum, Avesh came back to jolt the home side again, having Jitesh (29 off 24), caught at mid off.

PBKS sent in Ashutosh Sharma as their Impact player, replacing Prabhsimran Singh. The wickets kept falling though at the other end as Samson pulled off a brilliant Dhoni-esque run out to send back Livingstone as he flicked a wide throw onto the stumps, and Livingstone was found short on the replays.

RR could have had another three balls later but Samson dropped Ashutosh after a confusion with Avesh as both went for a high catch off a miscue from Ashutosh.

Ashutosh made them pay, hitting a couple of sixes and a four before departing off the last ball of the innings as PBKS posted 147/8. Ashutosh scored a crucial 31(!6) balls to provide a late surge while PBKS struggled to gain any sort of momentum throughout the innings.

RR brought in Yashasvi Jaiswal, who came out to open the batting, as their Impact Player, replacing Kuldeep Sen. All-rounder Tanush Kotian was sent to open the batting along with Jaiswal.

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