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Top Performers: Raza, Curran Dazzle

Last updated on: April 16, 2023 14:22 IST
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IMAGE: Sikandar Raza and Sam Curran put up match-winning performances for Punjab Kings on Saturday, April 15, 2023. Photograph: BCCI

Just 18 games into the tournament and we've already been treated to a series of edge-of-the-seat contests. The competition in the Indian Premier League is becoming tougher and the outcome harder to predict.

The ongoing season has already served up a series of last over finishes and Saturday's Punjab Kings-Lucknow Super Giants match was another epic clash. It's not over till it's over --a phase we've heard the commentators say too many times now.

Punjab entered game 18 on the back of two straight losses. The visiting team were the underdogs against the favoured Lucknow side, for whom a win would propel them to the top of the IPL 2023 points table.

Still looking for their maiden IPL trophy, Punjab saw two outstanding performances -- Sam Curran and Sikandar Raza -- as PBKS picked up a two-wicket win over Lucknow with 3 balls to spare.

IMAGE: PBKS stand-in Skipper Sam Curran returned with a three wicket haul against LSG. Photograph: BCCI

Sam Curran

The England all-rounder led the side in the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, and his show with the ball saw PBKS slow down Lucknow's innings.

Just as the hard-hitting Marcus Stoinis threatened to accelerate the scoreboard, Curran handed Punjab the breakthrough.

Following a big appeal in the 18th over, Stoinis wasn't given out. Curran -- the bowler, and skipper -- thought long and hard and took the review. It was a stellar call as Stoinis fell for 15 off 11.

In the final over of the LSG innings, Curran pocketed back-to-back wickets to save crucial runs and restrict Lucknow to 159/8.

IMAGE: Player-of-the-Match Sikandar Raza posted an all-round show for the Punjab Kings. Photograph: BCCI

Sikandar Raza

The Pakistan-born Zimbabwean cricketer ticked all the boxes during Punjab's win; not only did he ensnare the hard-hitting Deepak Hooda, he took a fine catch and went onto dazzle with the willow.

The Punjab batters have had an unimpressive season, with only Dhawan enjoying a strong outing. With Dhawan out due to a shoulder niggle, the Punjab line-up needed to step up.

The top-order failed to fire yet again as the visitors were reduced to 45/3 in the Powerplay. Coming into bat at 5, Raza took over the game and played a stroke-filled 41-ball 57.

Despite wickets falling at the other end, Raza kept the scoreboard ticking. Striking his maiden IPL half-century, the 36 year old fell in the 18th over. His innings had set Punjab up, with Shahrukh Khan finishing the job for the visitors.

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