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IPL 2023, RR vs PBKS: Ellis's 4 vital strikes halt RR; PBKS reach No.2 in points table

IPL 2023, Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Punjab Kings (PBKS), Top Performance: Nathan Ellis's 4-30, Shikhar Dhawan's 86*, Shimron Hetmyer-Dhruv Jurel's 61 off 26 are top performances. Punjab Kings beat Rajasthan Royals and move to number in points table.

IPL 2023, RR vs PBKS, Top Performances: Nathan Ellis took 4-30 against Rajasthan Royals | Walking wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Ellis took 4-30 against Rajasthan Royals (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 197-4 (Dhawan 86, Prabhsimran 60, Holder 2-29, Ashwin 1-25) beat Rajasthan Royals 192-7 (Samson 42, Hetmyer 36, Ellis 4-30, Arshdeep 2-47) by 5 runs

Player of the Match: Nathan Ellis – 4/30

Guwahati welcomed Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings with open arms as the two squared off against one another on April 5 at Barsapara Cricket Stadium. It is quite delightful to see that the IPL has not only returned to its traditional home and away format, but it has also been traveling to different corners of India.

Too much experimentation with batting order and poor bowling from RR

In their pursuit of 198, RR made some mind-boggling adjustments to their batting order sending Ravichandran Ashwin ahead of in-form batters like Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson. And the ploy terribly failed as Ashwin perished without troubling the scorers. With so much batting depth left in the tank, this move even left the cricketing experts baffled.

Besides, they also moved Devdutt Padikkal down the order which is clearly not an ideal spot for him. Padikkal made a laboured 21 off 26 deliveries at a shambolic strike rate of 80.76. His lacklustre show with the bat pushed RR to the brink of defeat. Padikkal is predominantly a top order batter and sending him low down the order was a move which was bound to backfire. Shimron Hetmyer came down the order and blossomed with the bat scoring a quickfire 36 (18) at an astronomical strike rate of 200. The score line would have appeared a lot different had he been promoted ahead of Ashwin.

In terms of bowling, RR made a lot of slip ups too. Barring Ashwin and Jason Holder, many were taken to the cleaners. And KM Asif, their fifth bowling option turned out to be the biggest culprit becoming the most expensive RR bowler. He had a nightmarish start to his first over conceding a whopping 20 runs. Throughout his spell, Asif bowled with an utter lack of control and was inconsistent with his line and length giving away way too many freebies in the form of wides. And to rub salt in his wounds, he bowled an embarrassing waist-high no ball in the penultimate over which really gave PBKS the much needed momentum to accelerate in the death overs. His lack of contribution with the ball really hurt RR’s bowling efforts as he leaked 54 runs in his allotted four overs while going wicketless.

With Prasidh Krishna on the sidelines, RR desperately need a reliable fifth bowling option who can fill the void in their bowling department. It is high time for the Royal’s think tank to put an end to such flamboyant experiments as they advance further into the tournament.

Let’s scan the top performances from the game between RR and PBKS in IPL 2023

IPL 2023, RR vs PBKS, Top Performances_ Prabhsimran Singh- Shikhar Dhawan added 90 runs for opening stand; PBKS beat RR _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Prabhsimran-Shikhar added 90 runs for opening stand (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)
Shikhar Dhawan’s dazzling show with the bat

Shikhar Dhawan emerged as the highest run-scorer for Punjab scoring 86 off 56 deliveries that featured 9 fours and 3 sixes. He made a cautious start to his innings early on whilst his partner Prabhsimran played the aggressor’s role. Prabhsimran Singh achieved a significant milestone in his IPL career today as he brought up his maiden half century against the likes of high quality bowlers like Trent Boult, Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal. He scored 60 off 34 deliveries at a breath-taking strike rate of 176.47 which featured 7 fours and 3 sixes.

Following Prabhsimran’s departure, Dhawan put his feet on the accelerator and got up to speed. As he went about his innings, the 37-year-old played some highly innovative shots which tremendously undermined the brittle bowling line up of RR. He dominated spin by using his feet and playing some confident looking sweep shots. Against the quick bowlers, Dhawan improvised very well and played some outrageous ramp shots that left the fast bowlers absolutely clueless. With such a wide range of shots in the book, the RR bowlers were severely tormented and had no place to hide.

Nathan Ellis puts up a clinical show with the ball

Nathan Ellis turned out to be the most effective bowler for Punjab Kings achieving figures of 4/30 in his allotted 4 overs. He bowled a pretty tight channel early on and bagged three prize wickets of Buttler, Samson and Riyan Parag who at one point looked very threatening.

RR batters were unable to line him up as he mixed up his length and varied his pace very well keeping the RR batters guessing. Besides, he also managed to keep the extras column clean which meant that the 28-year-old didn’t give away any easy runs which could have dented his side’s chances of winning the match.

Robust 62-run stand between Jurel and Hetmyer for the 7th wicket

Just when things started to fall apart for RR, Dhruv Jurel and Shimron Hetmyer got into the rescue act in order to resurrect Royals’ chase. They stitched a breath-taking 62 runs partnership for the 7th wicket in just 27 balls sending chills down the spine of many PBKS bowlers. Their powerful stoke play just at the nick of time got the Royals temporarily back in the game after being reduced to 124-6.

They used the long handle to good effect and tarnished the figures of many bowlers featuring the likes of Ellis and Arshdeep who could have ended their spell with better figures. The duo displayed great strength in character and took the game deep till the final overs. But Curran was eventually able to hold his nerve and restrict the Royals just 5 runs short of their target. Jurel scored 32 off 15 deliveries which included 3 fours and 2 sixes, whereas Hetmyer scored 36 off 18 deliveries which included 1 four and 3 sixes.

Points Table Scenario and What’s Next

After securing a win, Punjab Kings move three places ahead in the points table and find themselves at No.2 with an impressive NRR of 0.333. They will now face SRH in their next encounter at Hyderabad on April 9. Whereas, RR must have been deflated badly after the defeat and slip to No.4 spot with a NRR of 1.675. They will stay in Guwahati and face DC in their next encounter on April 8.

IPL 2023 Points Table

IPL 2023 Points Table
IPL 2023 Points Table

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