Mullanpur (Punjab) [India], April 13 (ANI): Fiery spells from Avesh Khan and Keshav Maharaj kept the wickets falling at regular intervals while a cameo from Ashutosh Sharma powered Punjab Kings (PBKS) to a respectable 147/8 in their 20 overs against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Mullanpur Stadium on Saturday.

RR needs to defend 148 to secure their fifth win in the tournament.

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After being put to bat first, PBKS started off cautiously, with openers Atharva Taide and Jonny Bairstow not taking a lot of risk against the new ball trio of Trent Boult, Avesh Khan and Kuldip Sen.

Avesh got his first wicket in the powerplay, removing Taide for 12-ball 15, with two fours. He was caught by Kuldip at short third man. PBKS was 27/1 in 3.4 overs.

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Prabhsimran Singh and Bairstow took PBKS through the remainder of the powerplay without any further loss.

At the end of six overs, PBKS was 38/1 after the powerplay.

However, just after the powerplay ended, Prabhsimran threw his wicket, gifting an easy catch to Dhruv Jurel and Yuzvendra Chahal his 198th IPL wicket. PBKS was 42/2 in 6.3 overs.

Bairstow's poor run in IPL continued, as he gave Shimron Hetmyer some easy catching practice at cover region. Keshav Maharaj got him for just 15 runs in 19 balls, with only one boundary. PBKS was 47/3 in seven overs.

Sam Curran joined Jitesh Sharma. PBKS reached the 50-run mark in nine overs.

Jurel just could not be kept out of action as he ran from deep mid-wicket to take a fine catch, removing Curran for six off ten balls. Maharaj got his second wicket. PBKS was 52/4 in 9.3 overs.

At the end of 10 overs, PBKS was 53/4.

At the other end was now Shashank Singh, the uncapped Indian batter who had emerged as PBKS' hero in the previous two matches. However, tight bowling from Royals' managed to keep the batter silent, as Kuldip got his wicket for just nine runs in nine balls. Half of the PBKS line-up was gone for 70 in 12.1 overs.

Liam Livingstone joined Jitesh at the other end. Both upped the attack, smashing Kuldip for 17 runs in the 16th over, including two sixes and a four. 100 runs were up for Punjab in 16 overs.

Avesh cut short their promising partnership at just 33 runs, removing Jitesh for 29 in 24 balls, with a four and two sixes. Riyan Parag took an easy catch. PBKS was 103/6 in 16.1 overs.

The next player was the 'Impact Player' Ashuotsh Sharma. He made his intentions clear by smashing Chahal for a six, but Livingstone was run out on the very next ball for 21 in 14 balls, with two fours and a six. PBKS was 122/7 in 17.5 overs.

The penultimate over by Avesh relieved some pressure for Punjab, as Ashutosh smashed two sixes and got 18 runs from it, taking the score to 141.

The final over bowled by Boult produced only six runs and the wicket of Ashutosh (31 in 16 balls, with a four and three sixes) on the final ball. PBKS ended their innings at 147/8 in their 20 overs, with Harpreet Brar (3*) unbeaten.

Maharaj (2/23) and Avesh (2/34) were the top bowlers for RR. Chahal, Sen and Boult got one wicket each. (ANI)

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