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Rajasthan stays alive in IPL playoffs race by eliminating Punjab

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.

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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