Shikhar Dhawan reflects on yet another ‘what-ifs’ season for Punjab Kings

In a nail-biting encounter at the picturesque HPCA Stadium, the Rajasthan Royals emerged victorious against the Punjab Kings by four wickets in Match 66 of the IPL 2023 on Friday. Chasing a target of 188 runs set by Punjab, the Royals showcased a remarkable display of power hitting to reach 189/6 in 19.4 overs, thanks to a late blitz by Shimron Hetmyer.

The Rajasthan Royals’ pursuit of victory began with a solid foundation laid by opener Yashasvi Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal, who both contributed crucial half-centuries. Padikkal’s graceful knock of 51 and Jaiswal’s aggressive 50 laid the groundwork for a thrilling finish. Their partnership injected momentum into the chase, leaving the Punjab Kings bowlers grappling for breakthroughs.

However, it was Shimron Hetmyer’s explosive innings that proved to be the turning point in the match. The West Indian batsman showcased his power-hitting prowess, smashing 46 runs off just 28 balls. His innings was studded with breathtaking shots, including four boundaries and three towering sixes, which left the opposition in awe. Hetmyer’s whirlwind knock propelled the Rajasthan Royals to the brink of victory.

Punjab Kings Performers 

In the bowling department, Kagiso Rabada spearheaded the Punjab Kings’ attack, claiming two wickets to apply some pressure on the Royals. Despite Rabada’s efforts, the Rajasthan batsmen remained undeterred and continued their onslaught. The Punjab Kings’ hopes were kept alive by Sam Curran’s 49 runs off 31 balls, featuring four fours and two sixes. Jitesh Sharma (44) and Shahrukh Khan (41*), too, played crucial knocks to lift Punjab to a respectable total of 188/5 in their allotted 20 overs.

In the end, it was the Rajasthan Royals who celebrated a hard-fought victory, completing their chase with just two balls to spare. Their triumph showcased the team’s resilience and determination to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This win not only rejuvenates the Royals’ campaign but also reinforces their status as strong contenders in the IPL 2023.

With this result, the Rajasthan Royals climb up the standings, while the Punjab Kings will have to regroup and reassess their strategies as they look to bounce back in their next encounter. The IPL 2023 continues to provide thrilling cricketing action, delighting fans around the world with its captivating encounters and intense battles on the field.

Punjab’s overall season

It was an overall disappointing season for the Punjab Kings. They are officially knocked out of the TATA IPL 2023. Despite a strong squad they have yet again failed to qualify for the playoffs. Punjab have reached the playoffs just twice in the 16 editions of the IPL. It was another season of ‘what-ifs’ for Punjab as they failed to perform collectively as a unit. 

Reflecting on Punjab’s season in this IPL, skipper Shikhar Dhawan said that they did not perform well as a group in all departments. He also said that he is still learning as a captain and acknowledged that he has made mistakes.

“Sometimes the batting was clicking, and sometimes the bowling was clicking, we couldn’t put up those performances together. But it’s a young group, so we have learnt a lot of things this season. I knew I had to take the game deep, so I wanted my best bowlers to bowl early, so Rahul had to bowl the last over. In the last game I gave Harpreet the final over, it depends on the surface and the situation.”

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