Curran leads Punjab to consolation victory

cricket15 May 2024 18:14| ยฉ MWP
By:Neil Manthorp
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Sam Curran ยฉ PhotoShelter

Rajasthan Royals continued their faltering form with a timid batting display which saw them being defeated by five-wickets in their IPL match against the Punjab Kings at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati on Wednesday.

The visitors reached a distinctly modest total of 144-9 after choosing to bat first before Punjab captain Sam Curran won the game with an unbeaten 63 from 41 balls (5x4, 3x6) in the company of Ashutosh Sharma (17*) finishing on 145-5 in 18.5 overs.

Rilee Rossouw smashed 22 from 13 balls to settle early nerves but when Jonny Bairstow (14) was dismissed at 48-4 the game was in the balance.

Curran, however, was in sublime control to condemn the long-time log leaders to their fourth consecutive defeat.

Earlier Riyan Parag single-handedly kept the Royals log leaders afloat with 48 from 34 balls before he was trapped lbw by Harshal Patel (2-28) with the next highest score coming from Ravichandran Ashwin with 28 from 19 balls but it was otherwise a horrible performance from a team stuttering badly with four consecutive defeats.

Eliminated Punjab had nothing but pride to play for and captain Curran led from the front with 2-24 from three overs including the first wicket of opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (4) who was bowled by a perfect inswinger with the first ball of the match.

Captain Sanju Samson limped to 18 off 15 balls before slicing a drive against the excellent Nathan Ellis (1-24) to backward point while legspinner Rahul Chahar claimed 2-26 from four tidy overs on a pitch offering some turn but otherwise blameless.

The Royals remain in second place on 16 points, two clear of the Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad who, respectively, have one and two matches remaining.

Jos Buttler has returned to England to prepare for a T20I series against Pakistan and was replaced by fellow Englishman Tom Kohler-Cadmore who struggled to emulate his countryman with a grizzly 18 from 23 balls.

Punjabโ€™s victory moved them from bottom place to ninth, above the Mumbai Indians, but were already eliminated with two matches remaining.

PUNJAB KINGS: Prabhsimran Singh, Jonny Bairstow, Rilee Rossouw, Shashank Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wkt), Sam Curran (captain), Harpreet Brar, Harshal Patel, Nathan Ellis, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh

RAJASTHAN ROYALS: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Sanju Samson (captain/wkt), Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, Rovman Powell, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Sandeep Sharma, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal