The Punjab Kings (PBKS) continued their winning streak as they defeated the Rajasthan Royals (RR) by five runs in a thrilling encounter in the Indian Premier League (IPL) clash held in Guwahati on Wednesday. The match saw a scintillating performance from the PBKS skipper, Shikhar Dhawan, who led from the front and scored an unbeaten 86 off just 56 balls. This helped Punjab pile up an imposing total of 197/4 in their allotted 20 overs after they were invited to bat first by Rajasthan.
Apart from Dhawan, Prabhsimran Singh also played a crucial role for the Punjab Kings side. He provided the team with an explosive start alongside Dhawan, as the pair added a solid 90 runs for the opening wicket. Prabhsimran was eventually dismissed for a well-made 64 off just 34 deliveries. Following his dismissal, Dhawan continued his onslaught and added another 50-plus partnership with Jitesh Sharma, who scored a quickfire 27 off just 16 balls.
In response, Rajasthan Royals sent R Ashwin to open alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal, in what seemed like an experimental move. However, the strategy backfired, as Rajasthan lost the wickets of Yashasvi, Ashwin, and Jos Buttler in the powerplay itself. Sanju Samson then took the responsibility of steadying the ship, but the wickets kept falling at regular intervals, making it difficult for Rajasthan to chase down the target.
Nathan Ellis was the pick of the bowlers for Punjab Kings, as he scalped four wickets and kept things under control for his team. However, lusty blows by Shimron Hetmyer and the impact player Dhruv Jurel kept Rajasthan in the hunt, before Sam Curran bowled an exceptional final over to secure two vital points for his side.
Overall, it was an enthralling encounter between two evenly matched sides, with both teams showcasing some exceptional skills on the field. However, it was Punjab who held their nerves in the crucial moments of the match, and emerged victorious by a slender margin of five runs. With this win, Punjab Kings continue to occupy the top spot in the IPL 2023 points table, while Rajasthan Royals will look to bounce back in their upcoming matches.