Shikhar Dhawan (86 not out off 56 balls) and Nathan Ellis (4/30) starred for Punjab Kings in their five-run win over Rajasthan Royals in Guwahati on Wednesday. This was Punjab’s second win on the trot after they beat Kolkata Knight Riders in their rain-affected opener last Saturday.
Skipper Dhawan missed out on what would have been his third IPL century, but his unbeaten knock played a big role in propelling Punjab to a formidable total of 197/4 after they were put into bat at the Barsapara Stadium. In reply, the Royals were going along at a healthy run rate with Jos Buttler and captain Sanju Samson looking solid.
But Australian quick Nathan Ellis removed both the set batsmen to gain Punjab the upper hand. Ellis was hit for a six each by Shimron Hetmyer and the Royals’ Impact Player Dhruv Jorel (who replaced Yuzvendra Chahal) in his final over, but not before he had dismissed Devdutt Padikkal and Ryan Parag.
Hetmyer and Jurel did fight till the final over, but it wasn’t enough for the Royals as they finished at 192/7.
Earlier, playing the anchor role in the batting line-up, Dhawan unleashed his range of strokes just when it mattered that took Punjab Kings closer to the 200 mark. The skipper’s knock comprised nine boundaries and three maximums.
At one stage though, it seemed as if Punjab’s total would comfortably go beyond 200 given the blistering start Dhawan’s opening partner Prabhsimran Singh (60 off 34 balls) took them off to.