Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer and Yashasvi Jaiswal starred with the bat as Rajasthan Royals knocked Punjab Kings out of IPL 2023 on Friday.

The nail-biting four-wicket win in Dharamsala gave Rajasthan a glimmer of hope of qualifying for the knockout phase of the competition although their fate depends on other matches this weekend.

Sam Curran, who cost Punjab a hefty $2.23 million, fell one run short of what would have been only his second 50 of the tournament as Punjab put on 187-5 with Navdeep Saini taking 3-40 for Rajasthan. The innings started with yet another first-over wicket for Trent Boult and PBKS lost four wickets in the first seven overs.

But a stellar finish led by Curran and Shahrukh Khan saw PBKS plunder 46 runs from the last two balls, including a 28-run 19th over by Yuzvendra Chahal.

In reply for the Royals, Curran’s England teammate Jos Buttler fell for his latest duck of his lacklustre back-end of the season, caught leg-before to a vicious inswinger by Kagiso Rabada. It was Buttler’s third duck in a row after he had scored a 95 against SRH, nearly equalling the IPL record for most centuries. That was eventually done by Virat Kohli on Thursday, as he got to his sixth IPL ton.

But Jaiswal, the IPL’s second-highest run scorer this year behind Faf du Plessis, and who last week hit a 13-ball 50, continued in his stellar form with yet another half-century.

Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson fell for just two to Rahul Chahar but rock-solid Devdutt Padikkal made 51 before falling to a good catch on the circle by Harpreet Brar off Arshdeep Singh.

Hetmyer almost saw the Royals home in a tense final phase that saw the West Indian exchange sharp words with Curran when he was given out caught behind, only to be reprieved on review.

Hetmyer finally departed for 46 off 28 but he and Riyan Parag (20) had done enough, with impact player Dhruv Jurel (10) finishing the job with a six off Rahul Chahar with two balls remaining.

The win left RR mildly interested over the weekend proceedings, as they moved to 5th with 14 points.

For Dhawan and Co, yet another season of inconsistencies meant the wait to return to the playoffs continued since 2014.

GT (Q) 13 9 4 0 0.835 18
CSK 13 7 5 1 0.381 15
LSG 13 7 5 1 0.304 15
RCB 13 7 6 0 0.180 14
RR 14 7 7 0 0.148 14
MI 13 7 6 0 -0.128 14
KKR 13 6 7 0 -0.256 12
PBKS (E) 14 6 8 0 -0.304 12
DC (E) 13 5 8 0 -0.572 10
SRH (E) 13 4 9 0 -0.558 8

With AFP inputs