IPL 2024: Shashank, Ashutosh’s valiant efforts in vain as SRH beat PBKS by two runs

Mullanpur: With 67 needed from 24 balls, Punjab Kings had Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, the heroes of their sensational victory over Gujarat Titans, at the crease against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Match 23 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023-24 at the PCA Stadium here on Tuesday.

The two youngsters nearly pulled off another heist, with valiant efforts on Tuesday but their brilliant knocks in a thrilling finish proved futile as PBKS fell agonisingly short by two runs, despite hammering 26 runs from the final over, the highest score in a chase.

Shashank Singh remained unbeaten on 46 off 25 balls, six boundaries and one six, while Ashutosh Sharma finished on 33 not out off 15 balls, hitting three boundaries and two maximums as Punjab Kings made 180/6 in 20 overs after Arshdeep Singh’s 4-29 topped Nitish Kumar Reddy’s 37-ball 64 in a match in which both the teams made many mistakes. However, players like Nitish Kumar Reddy, Arshdeep Singh, Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma showed nerves of steel they showed great power-hitting and used the conditions superbly.

In that match played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Shashank Singh, who had hammered a 22-ball 61, and Ashutosh had blasted a 17-ball 31 as Punjab recovered from 111/5 to win the match by three wickets as they successfully chased 199 with one ball to spare.

On Tuesday, Punjab Kings were in a similar situation. While chasing 183 for victory, Shashank was batting on 19 off 14 balls and Ashutosh was on 1. The duo scored 17 runs from the 17th over with Shashank hitting Bhuvneshwar for boundaries off successive deliveries and following it up with another four as the seasoned pacer bowled a couple of wide balls.

Ashutosh blasted Pat Cummins for boundaries off successive deliveries as they scored 11 runs. With the two batters taking 10 runs off T. Natarajan with Shashank and Ashutosh scoring a boundary each, Punjab Kings needed 29 runs from the final over.

In a dramatic over, Ashutosh’s shot off Jaydev Unadkat was palmed over the rope and two wide balls later, Ashutosh’s shot was again palmed over for a six. The batters run two doubles, thus leaving Punjab Kings 11 from two balls. Unadkat bowled another wide and Rahul Tripathi dropped Ashutosh, but they managed only one run, thus leaving PBKS leaving them needing nine off the last over. Shashank hammered a six but, in the end, their brilliant fightback went in vain as PBKS fell short by two runs.

Punjab looked down and out at 114/6 when Jitesh Sharma was out in the 16th over. However, there was not much to differentiate between the two teams as Sunrisers Hyderabad 100/5 at one stage before going on to make 182/9 thanks to Reddy’s pyrotechnics.

Chasing 183, Punjab Kings got off to a poor start as Jonny Bairstow was cleaned up by to Pat Cummins in the second over after Bhuvneshwar Kumar started with a maiden. Bhuvi made it 11/2 for SRH as Prabhsimran Singh induced a top edge off a wide one as Nitish Kumar took an easy catch. Skipper Shikhar Dhawan was stumped by Heinrich Klaasen standing up off Bhuvi and Punjab’s woes continued. Sam Curran (29) and Sikandar Raza got starts but were out just when they looked dangerous and PBKS were down to 91/5. Jitesh Sharma did not last long and PBKS were down to 114/6 from where Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma took over.

But their valiant efforts went in vain. After a superb start, PBKS allowed SRH to score at least 15-20 runs more than they should have got considering their situation. Especially, off the last ball when Unadkat’s shot was palmed over the boundary rope, resulting in a six. Even saving those runs could have won the match for Punjab Kings on Tuesday.

Brief scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad 182/9 in 20 overs (Nitish Kumar Reddy 64, Abdul Samad 25; Arsndeep Singh 4-29, Sam Curran 2-41, Harshal Patel 2-30) beat Punjab Kings 180/6 in 20 overs (Shashank Singh 46 not out, Ashutosh Sharma 33 not out; Sam Curran 29; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2-32) by two runs.

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