IPL: Down to the wire

Dharamsala, May 19

Devdutt Padikkal and Yashasvi Jaiswal hit crucial fifties as Rajasthan Royals kept their playoffs hopes alive with a four-wicket win over Punjab Kings in their final IPL league match here today.

Sent in to bat, PBKS were reeling at 50/4 but Sam Curran (49 not out) and Jitesh Sharma (44 off 28 balls) revived the innings while M Shahrukh Khan (41 not out off) provided the late surge to power the side to 187/5. Playing in only his second match of the season, pacer Navdeep Saini (3/40) picked up the best figures of his IPL career.

A target of 188 was never going to be easy and RR needed to complete the chase in 18.3 overs to get ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s net run rate but they couldn’t. But still RR got two points to stay afloat, with Jaiswal (50 off 36) scripting the chase, adding 73 off 49 balls with Padikkal (51 off 30) and another 47 off 22 balls with Shimron Hetmyer (46) as RR won in 19.4 overs.

With the win, RR moved to fifth spot with 14 points, same as RCB and Mumbai Indians, who both still have a match to play in the league stage. The loss meant, PBKS are officially out of the IPL.

LSG captain Krunal Pandya with Quinton de Kock during a training session in Kolkata on Friday. PTI

RR suffered an early setback during their chase with Kagiso Rabada getting Jos Buttler lbw for his third duck. But Padikkal and Jaiswal batted with purpose to take RR to 85/1 in 9.4 overs. But RR lost Padikkal and skipper Sanju Samson (3) in quick succession to leave them at 90/3 in the 11th over.

Jaiswal then found a perfect partner in Hetmyer, who slipped into the role of the aggressor with three sixes early on. Jaiswal completed his fifty in 35 balls before falling to a reverse hit off Nathan Ellis. RR still needed 51 off 33 balls and it was Riyan Parag (20 off 12 balls) who slammed two successive sixes off Rabada to bring the equation down.

PBKS skipper Shikhar Dhawan pulled off a sensational catch to end Hetymer’s stay but impact player Dhruv Jurel clobbered a six off the fourth ball of the last over to knock off the winning runs.

Brief scores: Punjab Kings: 187/5 (Curran 49*, Jitesh 44; Saini 3/40); Rajasthan Royals: 189/6 in 19.4 overs (Padikkal 51, Jaiswal 50, Hetmyer 46; Rabada 2/40). — PTI

Nervous wait for Royals

After climbing into fifth place, Rajasthan Royals will now endure a nervous wait for the next couple of days. They will need both Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore to lose their final games. In RCB’s case, the loss must be by six runs or more for Royals to jump ahead on net run rate.

Capitals eye CSK scalp on way out

New Delhi: A determined Chennai Super Kings wouldn’t mind being masters of their own fate in their bid to steamroll the already-ousted Delhi Capitals, who are looking to end a forgettable campaign on a high here tomorrow. At the moment, Chennai are second on the points table with 15 points from 13 games. But, a loss against Delhi along with a string of unfavourable results could see the four-time champions miss out on the playoffs. A win would, however, confirm a spot but whether they finish in the second or third place would depend on Lucknow Super Giants’ result against Kolkata Knight Riders later in the day. The slow track here will suit Chennai’s game plan and skipper MS Dhoni will like to make full use of the conditions. LSG would look to seal their playoffs berth by knocking out a hapless KKR in their final game. The hosts not only need a huge win but also a number of other results to go their way.

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