Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 13 (ANI): Sanju Samson's fighting hundred went in vain as Arshdeep Singh held his nerves in the final over to help Punjab Kings register a thrilling win over Rajasthan Royals here at the Wankhede on Monday.
KL Rahul's calm and composed knock, aided by Deepak Hooda's belligerent hitting, helped Punjab Kings post 221 in the allotted 20 overs. In response, Rajasthan Royals fell just five runs short of the target to clinch the game.
With Ben Stokes back in the hut, Jos Buttler and Samson had revived Rajasthan Royals' innings before the English batsman lost the plot and got out in the eighth over.
However, Samson and Riyan Parag didn't give up and kept fighting as the duo smashed 13 and 20 runs in the 15th and 16th over. Samson took on Richardson and whacked him for 19 runs in the 18th over as the equation came down to 21 off two overs.
Samson, who smashed 119 off 63 balls, kept fighting till the end but wasn't able to get the job done for the Royals as Punjab Kings clinched a thriller on the last ball. The wicket-keeper batsman had also refused a run to remain at a strike when Rajasthan Royals needed 5 off 2 balls.
Chasing a mammoth 222, Rajasthan Royals suffered an early jolt as they lost star all-rounder Ben Stokes in the first over. Manan Vohra tried to revive the innings with a six and a four but eventually got out in an attempt to slog every ball.
However, Jos Buttler was in some other mood as the wicket-keeper started firing right from the word go. The English batsman creamed four consecutive fours in Australian pacer Riley Meredith's first over in the IPL.
Despite a few initial blips, Rajasthan Royals went past 50 in quick time. With runs flowing from both ends, the Sanju Samson-led side scored 59 runs after the completion of powerplay.
But Jhye Richardson's slower yorker did the trick for the Punjab Kings as Buttler was cleaned up in the eighth over to reduced Rajasthan Royals to 70/3.
With the ever-mounting required rate, Samson decided to switch gears and got perfect support from Shivam Dube, who smashed 23 off 15 balls before getting caught at the boundary rope by Deepak Hooda in the 13th over.
However, Dube and Samson 53 runs partnership ensured the Royals were in the chase. Meanwhile, Samson completed his 14th IPL fifty as Rajasthan Royals gave themselves a fighting chance.
Riyan Parag further strengthened Rajasthan's position in the chase as he hammered 25 off 11 balls before walking back to the pavilion in the 17th over. In the end, Samson was unable to get Rajasthan Royals over the line.
Earlier put in to bat first, Punjab too didn't have a great start as they lost Mayank Agarwal in the third over of the innings. Chris Gayle then joined Rahul in the middle and the duo kept on ticking the scoreboard steadily and Punjab's score read 46/1 after the end of the powerplay.
Gayle changed his gears with the introduction of the spinners in the bowling attack. However, Riyan Parag cut short Gayle's (40) innings as he had the left-handed batsman caught at the hands of Ben Stokes at long-on, reducing Punjab to 89/2.
Hooda was sent ahead of Nicholas Pooran at number four and the right-hander justified the call as he dispatched RR spinners to all parts of the ground before getting out.
In the final two overs, Rahul added crucial runs to the total and was supported by Shahrukh Khan at the other end. However, Sakariya bowled a tight last over as he conceded just five runs while taking two wickets as Punjab went past the 220-run mark
Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 221/6 (KL Rahul 91, Deepak Hooda 64, Chetan Sakariya 3-31); Rajasthan Royals 217/7 (Sanju Samson 119, Riyan Parag 25; Arshdeep Singh 3-35 ) (ANI)