RR Vs PBKS, IPL 2024: Sam Curran's Defiant Knock Guides Punjab Kings To 5-Wicket Win Over Rajasthan Royals

Sam Curran starred as Punjab Kings beat Rajasthan Royals by 5 wickets in their IPL 2024 game in Guwahati on Wednesday

Rajasthan Royals Vs Punjab Kings, IPL 2024, AP Photo
IPL 2024: Rajasthan Royals lost by five wickets to Punjab Kings in Guwahati. Photo: AP

Skipper Sam Curran played the lead act hitting a well-paced fifty and taking two wickets, as Punjab Kings consigned Rajasthan Royals to a five-wicket defeat in their IPL 2024 match on Wednesday. (As It Happened | Full Coverage)

The target was a mere 145, but Kings made heavy weather of it on a sluggish track but Curran (63 not out, 41b, 5x4, 3x6) had a calm head and skills to lift them to their fifth win of the season. PBKS made 145/5 in 18.5 overs.

The Englishman received good support from Jitesh Sharma (22, 20b) as the pair added 63 runs in a fluent fifth wicket partnership. For Royals, it was their fourth defeat on the trot, but they remained second on the table with 16 points with a qualification to the playoffs to boot with.

The Kings’ chase began on a shaky note as they lost Prabhsimran Singh in the first over itself to Trent Boult.

But bigger jolts were in store as an impressive Avesh Khan (2/28) scalped two wickets in the fifth over.

The right-arm pacer first plucked the important wicket of Rilee Rossouw, who played some strong shots in his 13-ball 22, and then jettisoned in-form Shashank Singh for a two-ball nought.

Shashank failed to connect a fuller, straighter one from Avesh while attempting a flick, and the 141 kmph delivery thudded on his bat. Shashank did not even bother to use DRS as he walked away.

Punjab gained some ground through the alliance between Curran and Jitesh, who smoked R Ashwin for two sixes. Curran too gave a dose of punishment to the veteran offie, lofting him for a wonderful six over extra cover.

But the blossoming stand was snapped by Yuzvendra Chahal (2/31), leaving PBKS at 111 for five in the 16th over. However, Curran and Ashutosh Sharma (17 not out, 11 balls) knocked off the remaining runs without further drama.

Earlier, despite a well-tuned 48 from local hero Riyan Parag, RR struggled against an array of accurate bowlers on a rather slow pitch, meandering to a sub-par 144 for nine.

R Ashwin (28, 19b, 3x4, 1x6) and Parag (48, 34, 6x4) tried to accelerate during their 50-run stand for the fourth wicket but it could only bring in a temporary momentum for RR.

In fact, lethargy had set in very early in the Rajasthan innings after the early loss of Jaiswal, who chopped a Curran (2/24) delivery back on to his stumps.

Sanju Samson (18), who went past 500-run in a season for the first time in his IPL career, and Tom-Kohler Cadmore (18, 23b) stitched 36 runs for the second wicket but took six overs for it.

But with Curran and Arshdeep finding a hint of swing and maintaining a good line, scoring was not an easy proposition for the RR batters.

Eventually, Samson, who tried a hopping cut off pacer Nathan Ellis, gave a simple catch to Rahul Chahar at point in the seventh over.

Cadmore too returned to the dugout in the next over, as his almighty heave off leg-spinner Chahar (2/26) could not progress beyond Jitesh in the deep.

Those twin dismissals actually paved the way for the best phase in the Royals’ innings as Ashwin and Parag pressed their foot on the right pedal.

Ashwin displayed his batting skills, smashing Chahar for 17 runs in the 12th over that included a sequence of 6, 4, 4 and the first four was a stunning reverse scoop over backward point. But he could not further extend his innings, lofting Arshdeep to Shashank.

Parag, usually a free-flowing batter, had to curb his flair in front of a hugely adoring home crowd because of the regular fall of wickets at the other end.

But a late cut off Curran that sped to third man stood as a testament of his ability and timing as he also moved past the 500-run mark for the season, before getting trapped in front of the wicket by Harshal Patel.

However, apart from conquering those little peaks the RR batters failed to slip into the top gear consistently.