IPL 2024: Ashutosh Sharma's late fireworks propel PBKS to a respectable 147/8 against RR

 - Sakshi Post

Mullanpur (Punjab), April 13 (IANS) Ashutosh Sharma gave yet another exhibition of his incredible ball-striking ability in the death overs by making a 16-ball 31 to propel Punjab Kings to a respectable 147/8 against Rajasthan Royals at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium here on Saturday.

On a pitch that seems a little tricky to bat, PBKS suffered a top-order meltdown as RR nailed the length and pace of deliveries very well and forced them to play poor shots, leading to their downfall. After Jitesh Sharma made 29, Ashutosh brought some late fireworks for PBKS to amass 61 runs in the last five overs. For RR, Keshav Maharaj took 2-23 in an impressive middle-overs spell while Avesh Khan also had two scalps to his name. Yuzvendra Chahal, Trent Boult and Kuldeep Sen took a wicket each in a disciplined bowling performance for RR.

Pushed into batting first, Atharva Taide got PBKS going by hitting back-to-back drives in the cover region off Kuldeep, before bringing out another drive against Boult in the next over. His promising start couldn’t become a big knock as he top-edged a pull off Avesh and with both Kuldeep plus Sanju Samson in contention to take the catch, it was taken by the former despite a minor collision.

The rest of Power-play was a struggle for PBKS as runs were hard to come by and they ended the phase at 38/1. Prabhsimran Singh tried to go big against Chahal but didn’t have any timing on the loft and holed out to long-on.

Jonny Bairstow tried to slap a delivery from Keshav Maharaj over the off-side, but spooned a simple catch to cover, giving the left-arm spinner his first IPL wicket. Trouble continued for PBKS as stand-in captain Sam Curran dragged a pull straight to mid-wicket off Maharaj.

Jitesh finally got PBKS’ first boundary in the middle overs by dancing down the pitch to hammer a four over Maharaj’s head while Shashank Singh drove the spinner for another boundary. But Kuldeep had Shashank miscuing a pull to deep square leg, giving Dhruv Jurel his third catch of the match. Jitesh injected some momentum in PBKS’ innings by lofting Chahal over extra cover for six and crunching Kuldeep for a loft down the ground to pick another maximum. Liam Livingstone finally found boundaries by heaving and swiping Kuldeep for four and six respectively.

But in a bid to go over mid-off, Jitesh miscued the shot and gave a catch to the fielder off Avesh. Livingstone wanted to go for a second run, but Impact Player Ashutosh sent him back. By then, though, Samson had collected the under-arm throw from debutant Tanush Kotian and effected the run-out of Livingstone.

Ashutosh, who was dropped at nine due to a collision between Samson and Avesh for taking his catch, provided finishing touches by smashing three brutal sixes -– two of them coming over long-on and firmly struck a four through the extra cover before a top-edge on the pull caught by backward point led to his dismissal on the last ball of the PBKS’ stop-start innings.

Brief scores:

Punjab Kings 147/8 in 20 overs (Ashutosh Sharma 31, Jitesh Sharma 29; Keshav Maharaj 2-23, Avesh Khan 2-34) against Rajasthan Royals.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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