Punjab Kings (PBKS) have continued their winning start as they defeated Rajasthan Royals (RR) by five runs in their second match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati, Assam on Wednesday, April 5.

The Kings rode on fifties from captain Shikhar Dhawan (86 not out) and Prabhsimran Singh (60) to post a huge total of 197/4 in 20 overs. Later, PBKS pacer Nathan Ellis picked up four wickets for just 30 runs to help his side restrict RR to 192/7 in their allotted overs.

With two wins in two games, the Kings have jumped to the second spot in the IPL 2023 standings with four points on the board. 

Earlier, Rajasthan Royals won the toss and opted to field first. Both the sides announced an unchanged playing XI from their previous fixture. 

Meanwhile, the Sanju Samson-led RR named Dhruv Jurel, Akash Vasisht, Murugan Ashwin, Kuldip Yadav, and Donavon Ferreira as their substitutes. For PBKS, Rishi Dhawan, Atharva Taide, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Matthew Short, and Mohit Rathee were named as their substitutes. 

Prabhsimran Singh and Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings for the Kings. The dynamic duo got PBKS off to a blitzkrieg start as both the batters, especially Prabhsimran slammed the Royals’ bowlers to all parts of the ground to bring the team’s fifty in just 4.2 overs.

The 22-year-old Prabhsimran continued his attacking approach to smash his maiden IPL fifty off just 28 balls. His first IPL half-century was laced with seven fours and two sixes.

Prabhsimran and Shikhar forged an impressive 90-run opening partnership before the right-hander was dismissed by Jason Holder for a 34-ball 60.

In-form Bhanuka Rajapaksa walked into bat at number three. However, the Kings soon suffered a huge blow as Dhawan hit Rajapaksa in the forearm on his right hand at the non-striker’s end. The Sri Lankan batter looked in a bit of pain as he was later forced to leave the field. 

Following the unfortunate incident, wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma joined skipper Dhawan in the middle. The swashbuckling pair kept the momentum going to put the bowlers under massive pressure.

In the 14th over, Dhawan smacked Yuzvendra Chahal for consecutive fours to bring up his 48th fifty in the IPL. Interestingly, the Kings’ captain became just the second Indian cricketer to register 50 fifty-plus scores in the tournament’s history.

Dhawan and Jitesh hammered some eye-catching boundaries in their fifty-run stand as PBKS reached the 150-run mark before the 15th over.

Royals’ star leg-spinner Chahal finally broke the 66-run partnership as he removed Jitesh for a 16-ball 27.  

The Kings soon lost their third wicket as off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin cleaned up Sikandar Raza (1).

During the 18th over, Dhawan later pulled off an incredible six as he scooped Holder over backward point. He continued his dominance as he smashed KM Asif for 16 runs in the penultimate over.

Dhawan and Shahrukh Khan added 36 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter fell to Holder for 11.

The Kings finished their innings with 197/4 in their 20 overs courtesy captain Dhawan’s unbeaten 86 runs off just 56 balls. 

Chasing 198, the Royals made a surprising move by promoting Ashwin to open the innings with young Yashasvi Jaiswal.

Meanwhile, the Kings’ star pacer Arshdeep Singh continued his brilliant form as he bagged the massive wicket of Jaiswal (11) in his very first over.

Later, the PBKS left-arm pacer soon scalped his second wicket as he removed Ashwin for a duck. 

Struggling at 26/2, RR skipper Samson joined Jos Buttler at the crease. The pair stitched a 31-run stand before Australian fast bowler Nathan Ellis dismissed dangerous Buttler in the sixth over of the chase.

In desperate need of a partnership, Samson later added a 34-run stand with Devdutt Padikkal to keep the Royals in the game.

However, the Kings continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals as Ellis got rid of Samson for 42.

While Riyan Parag (20) and Padikkal (21) showed some resistance for RR in the middle-order, Ellis later removed both the batters in his third over. 

Following Padikkal’s dismissal, the Royals introduced debutant Dhruv Jurel as their impact player in place of Chahal. On the other hand, the Kings brought in Rishi Dhawan as their impact player in place of Prabhsimran. 

With 74 runs required off 30 balls, Shimron Hetmyer and Jurel hammered three fours and five sixes in the next four overs to bring the Royals back into the game. 

PBKS captain Dhawan gave the final over to star all-rounder Sam Curran to defend 16 runs.

After conceding just three runs in his first two balls, the Kings claimed the big wicket of Hetmyer (36) with the help of a run-out. Curran later gave away just six runs in his final three balls to help the Kings register a thrilling five-run victory in Guwahati.

Having registered two wins on the trot, the Kings will aim to continue their winning streak when they lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday, April 9.