Punjab Kings won their second match of the Indian Premier League season after beating the Rajasthan Royals by five runs in a high-scoring thriller. Nathan Ellis starred with the ball for PBKS taking the crucial wickets of Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Devdutt Padikkal and Riyan Parag to leave the Royals stuttering at 124-6 after 15 overs in their chase of 198 runs.
However, the Royals found an unlikely hero in Impact Player Dhruv Jurel who stitched together a 61-run partnership off 26 balls with Shimron Hetmyer to take the Royals to the brink of victory. Jurel, playing in his first IPL match, scored 32 runs off 15 balls while Hetmyer scored 36 runs off 18 balls.
Royals captain Samson was full of praise for Jurel in the post-match press conference and also credited the team management for the work they put in pre-season with domestic players.
“The way he batted, taking on international bowlers in his first game in a pressure situation tells a lot about him and I am hopeful he will win us a few games,” Samson said.
“That’s how we work as a franchise. He (Jurel) has been with us for the last two seasons. He has been playing a lot of domestic games. As a franchise we normally tend to have camps before the IPL. But what we make sure is that people who play only domestic tournaments come to our academies. We did five to seven one-week long camps throughout the year in Nagpur, Jaipur, Chennai, Bangalore, almost everywhere. We made sure that people like Dhruv Jurel, Riyan Parag and Yashasvi Jaiswal and all these guys get enough practice. I think a lot of credit has to go to our team management,” he added.
Jurel and Hetmyer’s heroics took Royals close to victory after the PBKS bowlers managed to bring the scoring rate down in the middle overs. The Royals also tinkered with their batting line-up sending Ravichandran Ashwin to open the batting along with Jaiswal while holding back Padikkal for the middle overs.
“Jos had a small injury while fielding. He was doing his stitches and the physio wanted more time to do it. The thinking was to send Ashwin bhai and holding everyone back,” Samson said on the decision to open with Ashwin.
“The idea to have Devdutt Padikkal in the middle overs was to face the spinners they had. They had a leg spinner and a left-arm spinner bowling in the middle overs,” he added.
“It’s very important in games like these where the momentum shifts away from you pretty quickly. We started off really well and finished the powerplay really well. In the middle, we were expecting to get those boundaries here and there. They bowled really well in two-three overs. That is where the momentum went down I think. We did really well to get so close even after having that downward trend in our run-rate. A couple of fours here and there and we just fell shot off a six there,” Samson said.