A close finish seems to be the norm these days when the Punjab and Rajasthan franchises meet in the Indian Premier League. On IPL’s arrival to Guwahati for the first time, Punjab Kings edged out Rajasthan Royals by five runs to go two wins from two matches to start their season.

Skipper Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten 86 and four wickets by Nathan Ellis helped Punjab in their cause.

He took his time to get going but Punjab rode on the left-handed Dhawan’s 56-ball knock and his 90-run opening stand with Prabhsimran Singh, who hit 60, to post 197-4 after being invited to bat first in Guwahati.

Australia’s Ellis then showed why he is highly rated, as he stepped u in his second game of his IPL debut season to return figures of 4-30 and keep down Rajasthan to 192-7 but not after a scare.

Shimron Hetmyer (36) and impact player Dhruv Jurel (32 not out) put on a dangerous stand of 61 off 26 balls to lift Rajasthan from a precarious 124-6 and raise hopes of a turnaround.

But the asking rate proved too much and Hetmyer run out in the final over, which started with Rajasthan needing 16, sealed the deal for Punjab with Sam Curran keeping calm in the 20th over.

Royals were held back by a struggling Devdutt Padikkal, who made a perhaps match-defining knock of 21 off 26 balls on a day when nearly 400 runs were scored in 40 overs.

Rajasthan lost two early wickets to Arshdeep Singh’s left-arm pace and Ellis soon took over when he sent back Jos Buttler with his caught and bowled.

Ellis soon cut short Samson’s knock on 42 and took down Riyan Parag for 20 on successive balls between overs to be on a hat-trick saved by Hetmyer.

Earlier Prabhsimran set the tone for Punjab’s domination as the 22-year-old talent hit his maiden IPL fifty and struck three sixes.

Sri Lanka’s Bhanuka Rajapaksa injured his hand after getting hit on his forearm at the non-strikers end from the batsman’s shot and retired hurt on one.

Dhawan took time to get into the groove and allowed his younger partner to take centre stage as Prabhsimran smashed the bowlers around in his 34-ball knock.

He finally fell to a stunning outfield catch by Buttler who covered good ground from long-off to take a diving catch as his elbows hit the ground. Jason Holder was the bowler.

Dhawan stood firm and soon changed gears to take on the bowlers as he hit three boundaries in one over off Yuzvendra Chahal who was later substituted by Jurel under the new “impact player” rule.

Buttler took another good outfield catch but injured his finger in the process and came to bat one down instead of his usual opening slot.

The Royals run-chase had its moments, especially when Hetmyer and Jurel threatened to pull off a heist at the end but Sam Curran, the most expensive recruit in IPL auction, held his nerve at the end to see his side through.

Ellis was named the player of the match.

GT 2 2 0 0.700 345/37.3 340/40.0 4
PBKS 2 2 0 0.333 350/36.0 338/36.0 4
RCB 1 1 0 1.981 172/16.2 171/20.0 2
RR 2 1 1 1.675 395/40.0 328/40.0 2
LSG 2 1 1 0.950 398/40.0 360/40.0 2
CSK 2 1 1 0.036 395/40.0 387/39.2 2
KKR 1 0 1 -0.438 146/16.0 153/16.0 0
DC 2 0 2 -1.703 305/40.0 356/38.1 0
MI 1 0 1 -1.981 171/20.0 172/16.2 0
SRH 1 0 1 -3.600 131/20.0 203/20.0 0

With AFP inputs