Guwahati: The most exciting match of the season was played in Guwahati, which witnessed IPL action for the first time. In the eighth match of IPL 2023, Punjab Kings defeated Rajasthan Royals by 5 runs on the very last ball. After strong batting by captain Shikhar Dhawan and Prabhsimran Singh, Punjab registered their second consecutive win in the season on the basis of Nathan Ellis’s game-changing spell. Apart from these, the English all-rounder from Punjab justified his price of Rs 18.50 crore by defending 15 runs in the last over.
Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson and Punjab captain Shikhar Dhawan said the same thing at the time of the toss. Both wanted to bowl first as there was bound to be trouble due to dew during the night. In such a situation, Sanju Samson’s decision to bowl first seemed right. Then when Punjab scored 197 runs, this score seemed a few runs less in front of Rajasthan’s strong batting.
Rajasthan made the initial mistake
In such a situation, Rajasthan only needed a good start, but in the beginning such a mistake was made, the effect of which was visible continuously. The team fielded Ravichandran Ashwin for the opening in place of Jos Buttler, which surprised everyone. The reason why this was done could not be known during the match. The effect of this was that in the absence of Butler, Yashasvi Jaiswal took the responsibility of a fast start but he was dismissed in the very second over.
Then Butler, who came to the crease, tried the same but Ashwin himself could not do anything and got out without opening the account in 4 balls. Arshdeep Singh made both of them a victim. Rajasthan had expectations from Butler and Captain Samson. Both scored 31 runs in 14 balls and it seemed that Rajasthan would take the match out of here but Nathan Ellis started to change the match.
Alice’s match changing spell
He first caught Butler on his own ball and then got Sanju Samson, who was thrashing other bowlers, caught at the boundary. Devdutt Padikkal, who was battling for good form, was seen struggling a lot and it tarnished Rajasthan’s hopes of victory. At the same time, Guwahati had hopes from its local hero Riyan Parag and Parag also hit two sixes but Ellis returned both of them to the pavilion one by one.
Explosive start of Prabhasimran
This time the franchise is betting big on young wicket-keeper batsman Prabhsimran Singh, who has played only 6 matches in 4 consecutive seasons for Punjab Kings. Along with captain Shikhar Dhawan, Prabhasimran has been given the responsibility of opening. In the very first match against Kolkata Knight Riders, this 22-year-old batsman had expressed his intentions by hitting a blistering 23 runs.
This time also Prabhsimran showed the same style but played a big innings. By the seventh over itself, Prabhsimran completed his half-century in 28 balls. Prabhsimran shared a 90-run partnership with captain Dhawan in 9.4 overs.
Dhawan took the responsibility
Prabhsimran (60 runs, 34 balls, 7 fours, 3 sixes) was returned to the pavilion by Joss Butler with a wonderful catch. Captain Shikhar Dhawan took over the responsibility after Prabhsimran. Dhawan completed his first half-century as the captain of Punjab. He got the support of Jitesh Sharma but apart from these two, the rest of the batsmen could not contribute much.
The Punjab team was seen going beyond 200 at one time, but in the last 5 overs, Rajasthan came back and gave only 45 runs and restricted them to 197 runs. Jason Holder (2/29) was the most successful bowler for Rajasthan.