PBKS got off to a terrific start with the bat as skipper Shikhar Dhawan (86 not out off 56) and Prabhsimran Singh (60 off 34) added 90 runs for the first wicket. While Dhawan struck nine fours and three sixes, his opening partner hit seven fours and three sixes. The fine partnership ended courtesy of a superb catch by Jos Buttler off Jason Holder’s (2/29) bowling.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa (1) had to retire hurt after being hit on the forearm, but Jitesh Sharma (27 not out off 16) played a fine cameo to keep the momentum going. Even as Sikandar Raza (1) and Shahrukh Khan (11) perished cheaply, some fine hits from Dhawan took Punjab to a good score.
Chasing 198, Arshdeep Singh dismissed Yashasvi Jaiswal (11) and Ashwin (0); the latter opening the innings in place of Buttler, who Sanju Samson later revealed, was injured. Buttler came in at No. 3, but was dismissed for 19 off 11, giving a return catch to Nathan Ellis (4/30). He inside edged a delivery onto his pads and the ball ballooned for Ellis to take a smart catch.
Sanju Samson played a fine hand of 42 off 25 before he fell to Ellis, who also dismissed Devdutt Padikkal (21 off 26) and Riyan Parag (20 off 12). A belligerent sixth-wicket stand 62 between Shimron Hetmyer (36 off 18) and Dhruv Jurel (32* off 15), the latter coming in as the impact player, brought RR back in the game. A brilliant last over by Sam Curran, however, ensured a tight victory for Punjab.
Reflecting on his wonderful performance, Player of the Match Ellis said, “Just stoked to get the win, pleased to get some awards but from a team's point of view nice to get that win. In T20 every ball counts, staying in the moment is really the key.”
On his plans with the ball in hand, he explained, “When I was bowling in the backend, I was trying to get my variations right and calculate what the best ball is at that time. For me it's cross-seam and it worked out really well tonight.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent