Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Sam Curran's unbeaten 49 off 31 and Shahrukh Khan's quickfire 41 not out off 28 along with Jitesh Sharma's 31-ball 44 guided Punjab Kings (PBKS) to 187/5 against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the do-or-die Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, here on Friday.

After a shaky start, Jitesh and Curran steadied the innings with a crucial 64-run stand before the latter got dismissed. Then, Shahrukh joined Sam and the duo established an unbeaten 73-run partnership off 37 balls, taking 46 runs off the last two overs to take Punjab to 187/5 in 20 overs.

For Royals, Navdeep Saini was the pick of the bowlers, claiming three wickets in his allotted overs after conceding 40 runs.

Trent Boult struck to put an early dent in PBKS' innings as he caught and bowled opener Prabhsimran Singh on the second ball of the innings. But Punjab regrouped quickly with the help of Shikhar Dhawan and Atharva Taide's strokeplay before Saini sent back Taide for a quickfire 19.

An over later, Adam Zampa came in attack and removed PBKS skipper Dhawan out lbw as PBKS reduced to 48/3 at the end of the Power-play.

Soon, Saini claimed his second as he cleaned up the dangerous batter Liam Livingstone in the seventh over to get the Royals right on top in the innings. He bowled on a good length and angled it into the stumps from outside off. Livingstone went for a wild heave into the leg side but missed and found his stumps shattered.

The Royals continued to dominate the innings as no boundary came in the last four overs but Jitesh Sharma broke the shackles hitting Sandeep Sharma with two massive sixes as PBKS reached 78/4 in 10 overs.

Jitesh Sharma took Saini to the cleaners, hitting four, six and four on three successive deliveries but the pacer has the last as he removed the dangerous-looking batter on the next ball. Half of the PBKS line-up was back in the pavilion as Punjab were reeling at 117/5 in 15 overs.

In the penultimate over, Shahrukh Khan pulled towards cow corner for four runs and swept handsomely over deep square-leg for six runs. A dot ball later, Curran smacked a six and completed a fifty-run stand for the sixth wicket.

He then hit it over the bowler's head for another maximum and finished the over with a four, taking 28 runs off it.

Shahrukh started the last over with a boundary. A couple of balls later, he smashed a six and followed that up with a four and finished the innings with a brace as PBKS posted 187/5 in 20 overs.

Brief scores:

Punjab Kings 187/5 in 20 overs (Sam Curran 49, Shahrukh Khan 41 not out; Navdeep Saini 3-40) against Rajasthan Royals

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