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Rajasthan Royals win the see-saw battle against Punjab Kings; Hetmyer shines with bat

Shimron Hetmyer’s electrifying innings propelled Rajasthan Royals to a thrilling three-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League clash at Mullanpur Stadium. In a nail-biting finish, Hetmyer’s determined knock stole the show, marking Punjab Kings’ second defeat on their home turf.

The Royals continue to be on the top of points table with five wins and a loss and 10 points. PBKS are in the eighth spot, with two wins and four losses.

In the run-chase of 148 runs, Rajasthan openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tanush Kotian started off well, taking precautions and not hitting too many big hits. Jaiswal in particular, took his time on the crease, hoping to find some form and runs.

At the end of six overs and the powerplay, RR were 43/0, with Jaiswal (23*) and Kotian (18*) unbeaten.

50 runs were up for RR in 7.1 overs. The 56-run stand between the two ended with Kotian’s stumps castled by Liam Livingstone He scored 24 off 31 balls. RR were 56/1 in 8.2 overs.

At the end of 10 overs, RR were 66/1, with skipper Sanju Samson (3*) joining Jaiswal (36*).

Samson hit Livingstone for a four and six. Jaiswal could not get his half-century. Kagiso Rabada got his first wicket and Harshal Patel took a catch at third man to remove the left- hander for 39 in 28 balls, with four boundaries. RR were 82/2 in 11.2 overs.

Samson also gave away his wicket, as he was trapped leg- before-wicket by Rabada for 18 in 14 balls, with a four and six. RR were 89/3 in 13.2 overs.

Youngsters Riyan Parag and Dhruv Jurel took RR to the 100- run mark in 15.1 overs.

With some tight bowling, PBKS bowlers had managed to put pressure on RR. Though Parag tried to accelerate scoring with a six, Arshdeep got him caught near the boundary for 23 in 18 balls. RR were 113/4 in 16.2 overs.

Just a few balls later, Harshal Patel dismissed Dhruv Jurel as well, for just six runs. Shashank Singh took a catch to reduce RR to 115/5 in 17.2 overs.

Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell took off a considerable amount of pressure in the see- saw battle with Hetmyer scoring a six and four in the 18th over, leaving RR with 20 runs to chase in 12 balls.

Powell started the next over with two fours. However, he was caught behind by Jitesh Sharma, giving Sam Curran a wicket. He was gone for 11 in five balls. RR were 136/6 in 18.3 overs. Curran got Keshav Maharaj caught by Liam Livingstone on the final ball for just one. RR needed 10 runs in the final over.

Arshdeep Singh was sent to bowl and he delivered two yorkers, but conceded a six on the third ball. Hetmyer took a double, bringing down the deficit to two runs in two balls. Hetmyer hit the winning boundary on the second-last ball, ending the innings at 152/7 in 19.5 overs. Hetmyer scored a magnificent 27 in 10 balls (a four and three sixes) and was unbeaten with Trent Boult who was yet to open his account.

Rabada (2/18) and Curran (2/25) were the top bowlers for PBKS.

Brief Scores: Punjab Kings: 147/8 (Ashutosh Sharma 31, Jitesh Sharma 29, Keshav Maharaj 2/23) lost to Rajasthan Royals (Yashasvi Jaiswal 39, Shimron Hetmyer 27*, Kagiso Rabada 2/18).

(ANI inputs)

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