Punjab Kings fail to reach playoffs for 9th successive year

DHARAMSHALA, India (AP) — Rajasthan Royals kept alive their slim chance of qualifying for the Indian Premier League playoffs after beating Punjab Kings by four wickets on Friday.

Rajasthan, with a 7-7 win-loss record, has finished the league stage at fifth, outside the top four playoff places. It needs other results to go its way to qualify on net run-rate.

Punjab became the third team to fall out of contention, leaving six teams vying for three playoff berths. PBKS have failed to reach playoffs for nine consecutive years.

Rajasthan reached 189-6 after Punjab made 187-5.

Punjab’s $2.25 million signing, Sam Curran, ended the season with only 10 wickets in 14 games. Curran returned an expensive 1-46 but fared better with the bat in the death overs with an unbeaten 49 off 31 balls.

Punjab needed rescuing after falling to 50-4 in the seventh over. Fast bowler Navdeep Saini, playing only his second game, picked up 3-40.

Trent Boult claimed yet another powerplay wicket, and Adam Zampa, a last-minute replacement for an injured Ravichandran Ashwin, was also economical and trapped Punjab skipper Shikhar Dhawan.

Curran revived Punjab by adding 64 runs with Jitesh Sharma (44) and a brisk 73 with Shahrukh Khan. Rajasthan conceded 46 runs off the last two overs.

Young Rajasthan left-handers Devdutt Padikkal (51) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (50) shared a 72-run second-wicket stand after Jos Buttler fell for his third consecutive duck.

Buttler started the league brilliantly with three half-centuries in his first four games, but his form nosedived with five scores of zero in the next 10 innings and only one half-century.

Padikkal was and Jaiswal were both caught at backward point

Shimron Hetmyer then struck three sixes and four boundaries in a breezy knock of 46 off 28 balls. Hetmyer was caught low in the covers by Dhawan to give Curran a consolation wicket.

Dhruv Jurel smashed a straight six against Rahul Chahar in the last over to raise Rajasthan hopes of progressing in the tournament.

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