Brief score: Punjab Kings: 187/5 in 20 overs lost to Rajasthan Royals: 189/6 in 19.4 overs by four wickets.

Read play-by-play updates here.

Rajasthan Royals wrapped up their IPL group stage engagements with a four-wicket win over Punjab Kings at the HPCA stadium in Dharamshala on Friday. 

Sent into bat, PBKS was aggressive from the start and scored at a frantic pace. But our bowlers responded to the challenge with wickets at crucial moments and some tight bowling in the middle that kept a lid on the score. Navdeep Saini was the pick of the bowlers, returning with figures of 3-40. While R Ashwin had to sit out of the game due to a back spasm, Adam Zampa stepped up to the task and was the most economical of the Royals’ bowlers.

Chasing a competitive score, Yashasvi Jaiswal (50) continued his fine form this season, while Devdutt Padikkal (51) chipped in with a timely inning to keep the Royals in the hunt. Later, a Shimron Hetmyer (46) blitz helped the Men In Pink record a much-deserved win. The result takes the Royals to fifth place on the IPL 2023 points table. But with a number of teams locked in on 14 points, we’ll have to wait and see how the remaining matches play out to realise our playoff dream.

Navdeep Saini makes an impact

Choosing to field on the Dharamshala track, the Royals’ bowlers meant business with Trent Boult dismissing an in-form Prabhsimran Singh in the first over of the match with an impressive catch off his own bowling that could put many to shame. But it was Navdeep who was most effective on the night. 

Returning to playing XI for the first time since the opening match of the season, the Indian international made the most of the opportunity even when PBKS were busy scoring at a quick rate. Introduced in the Powerplay, Saini sent an aggressive-looking Atharva Taide packing in his first over. Even though he conceded two boundaries at the start, the Royals’ quick banged a short one in to draw Taide into a pull. But the Punjab batter miss-timed his shot and was caught at mid-wicket. 

Later, while Liam Livingstone was cleaned up when going for a big shot, Jitesh Sharma was deceived by some smart change in pace that saw him caught at extra cover. But despite our best efforts, the hosts managed to go beyond the 180-run mark, giving an interesting turn to the match.

Jaiswal-Padikkal lay the foundation

Though we started a bit low, losing both Jos Buttler and skipper Sanju Samson soon, the Jaiswal-Padikkal duo didn’t let that bother them and went about their business in typical style. Yash was lethal, going after Sam Curran with three back-to-back boundaries in the opening over, and became the first uncapped Indian to complete 600 runs in an IPL season. Meanwhile, Padikkal was at his best and took on the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh with some big hitting.

Though the duo fell midway through the chase, hitman Hetmyer continued to keep the pressure on PBKS throughout the chase. The Caribbean star was brutal against Curran, especially, hitting him for four boundaries and the maximum on the night. The much-deserved win keeps us in the race for a place in the IPL playoffs.

Milestone alert

  • Yashasvi Jaiswal completed 600 runs in IPL 2023. He is the first uncapped Indian to achieve the feat.
  • Devdutt Padikkal completed 1500 runs in the IPL.
  • Navdeep Saini bowled his best bowling figures (3-40) in the IPL.