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Curran leads Punjab to victory as Rajasthan suffer fourth straight loss

Punjab chased a target of 145 on a slow pitch, relying on Curran’s unbeaten 63 to reach the target with seven balls remaining.

Curran was named Player of the Match for his all-round performance against Rajasthan. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Skipper Sam Curran led Punjab Kings to a five-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday, providing a consolation victory for the team.

Punjab chased a target of 145 on a slow pitch, relying on Curran’s unbeaten 63 to reach the target with seven balls remaining at Rajasthan’s adopted home ground in Guwahati.

Curran formed a crucial 63-run partnership with Jitesh Sharma, who scored 22. Despite Sharma’s departure in the 16th over, Curran guided the team to lift them from the bottom of the 10-team table.

Impact substitute Ashutosh Sharma hit 17 and scored the winning run, resulting in Rajasthan’s fourth consecutive defeat in this T20 tournament.

“To be very honest, we have to sit back and accept that we are going through some failures,” said Rajasthan skipper Sanju Samson. “You have to find out what’s not working well as a team. When you are getting to the business end, we need someone to raise their finger up and say I am going to win the game for the team. We have the players who can do that.”

The loss hurt Rajasthan’s chances of a top-two finish in the league stage, a day after confirming their play-off spot.

Rajasthan, who remain in second place with one game left, and table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders, are the only teams to have secured their play-off berths.

The top four teams advance to the play-offs, with the first and second-placed teams having the advantage of two chances to qualify for the final on May 26 in Chennai.

Punjab, already out of the play-off race, restricted Rajasthan to 144-9 despite a 34-ball 48 by Riyan Parag.

Curran dismissed Yashasvi Jaiswal for four in the first over, and Samson departed for 18 off Nathan Ellis after a slow start.

Parag teamed up with Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored 28 off 19 balls, to push the scoring with a partnership of 50.

The rest of the batting lineup struggled against a disciplined attack as Curran, fellow quick Harshal Patel, and spinner Rahul Chahal each took two wickets.

(AFP)

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