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IPL PHOTOS: Royals down Punjab; close in on play-offs

Last updated on: May 07, 2022 20:22 IST
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Images from the IPL 2022 match between Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.

IMAGE: Rajasthan Royals opener Yashasvi Jaiswal celebrates his half-century. Photograph: BCCI

Young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal struck a career-best 68 as Rajasthan Royals inched closer to the play-offs after outclassing Punjab Kings by six wickets, in the IPL 2022 match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.

 

Drafted in place of Karun Nair, the 20-year-old smashed a superb 41-ball 68 to give Royals the perfect start after they were set 190 for victory, which they chased down with two balls to spare.

Following their successful run-chase, Royals moved to third with 14 points from 11 matches, needing another victory to seal their place in the play-offs.

The result also meant that the five-time champions Mumbai Indians are the first team to be eliminated from IPL 2022.

IMAGE: Shimron Hetmyer hit a quickfire 31 not out from 16 balls to guide Royals home with two balls to spare. Photograph: BCCI

The loss also dealt a big blow to Punjab play-off hopes, who are languishing in seventh place with five wins from 11 games.

Jaiswal, playing only in his fourth match this season, took over the mantle of attacking the bowlers after Jos Buttler (30) departed inside the Powerplay after a flying start.

Skipper Sanju Samson (23) once again failed to carry on after getting off to a good start before Jaiswal went after the bowlers with an exhibition of superb strokeplay at his home ground.

He raced to his third IPL fifty, first this season off just 33 balls, toying the Punjab attack with ease.

Be it with his unorthodox reverse sweep to Rahul Chahar or lap-scoop off Rishi Dhawan, Jaiswal looked in total control in a 37-ball 56-run partnership with Devdutt Padikkal.

IMAGE: Punjab Kings' players celebrate after Kagiso Rabada claimed the wicket of Jos Buttler. Photograph: BCCI

Jaiswal finally departed after miscuing one to Arshdeep Singh giving a sigh of relief to Punjab but the equation was then reduced to an easy 49 off 35 balls.

There was a bit of drama towards the end after Arshdeep 2/29) bowled a brilliant penultimate over giving just three runs and taking the wicket of Padikkal (31).

Needing eight runs from the last over, Hetmyer struck a six before taking a single to steer hist eam to victory.

Experienced leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal starred with the ball for Royals, taking 3/28 in four, including 10 dot balls.

He dismissed the duo of Mayank Agarwal (15) and their top run-getter Jonny Bairstow (56 off 40 balls) off three balls to derail Punjab in the middle overs (10-15) where they made just 34 runs and lost three wickets.

IMAGE: Rajasthan Royals' players celebrate the wicket of Punjab Kings opener Shikhar Dhawan. Photograph: BCCI

Earlier, Jonny Bairstow got back among the runs with a sparkling half-century, while Jitesh Sharma starred with a quickfire cameo in the final overs to power Punjab Kings to 189/5.

On a day, when their leading run-getter Shikhar Dhawan (12) struggled to get going, Bairstow hit a superb 56 off 40 balls for his first fifty in IPL 2022.

However, Bairstow however failed to convert it into a big one as Punjab lost three wickets for 30 runs in the middle overs with Royals' spin ace Yuzvendra Chahal denting their progress with his triple-strike (3/28).

IMAGE: Jonny Bairstow top-scored for Punjab Kings with a fluent 56 from 40 balls. Photograph: BCCI

Chahal, who had just two wickets from the last four matches, started to look threatening again, stalling Punkab's progress in the middle overs.

The leg-spinner had skipper Mayank Agarwal dismissed for the sixth time in 10 innings and went on to get the key wicket of Punjab's top-scorer Bairstow in the space of three deliveries.

But it was little known Jitesh who came up with his career-best IPL score and lit the stage on fire with his clean-hitting skills as Punjab scored 67 runs in the last five overs to prop up their total.

IMAGE: Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates after taking the wicket of Mayank Agarwal. Photograph: BCCI

Promoted at No. 5 ahead of Liam Livingstone (22 off 14 balls), Jitesh clobbered four boundaries and two sixes in his unbeaten 38 from 18 balls.

Electing to bat, it was all about Bairstow early on. The English swashbuckler had managed just 80 runs from seven appearances this season, at a lacklustre strike rate of 105.26, which did raise questions about his place in the playing eleven.

IMAGE: Liam Livingstone is bowled by Prasidh Krishna. Photograph: BCCI

The Agarwal-led side kept their faith in Bairstow as he replaced the struggling Agarwal at the top of the order.

It was a move that finally paid off against the Royals as he overcame an anxious start and took the Royal attack to the cleaners, smashing eight fours and one six in his 40-ball knock.

Dhawan looked impatient and conceded a maiden against Trent Boult early on before he finally departed off a superb one-handed catch running backwards by Jos Buttler at mid-on.

 

 

 

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