Sikandar Raza, IPL 2023
Raza hit four boundaries and three sixes in his match-winning knock. Photo: Twitter/IPL

IPL 2023: Raza, Curran shine as Punjab Kings beat LSG by two wickets

Sikandar Raza slammed his maiden IPL fifty after an impressive show by his side’s bowling unit as Punjab Kings (PBKS) beat Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) by two wickets in a last-over finish in Mohali in an IPL 2023 game on Saturday (April 15).

Invited to bat, captain KL Rahul smashed his first fifty of this IPL season but Punjab Kings (PBKS) roared back with timely wickets to restrict the Lucknow side to a modest 159 for eight.

Also read: IPL 2023: Prabhsimran Singh can be ‘very dangerous’: PBKS coach Haddin

Chasing 160 for a win, Zimbabwean Raza, who also picked a wicket with his spin bowling, cracked a 41-ball 57 to keep PBKS in the hunt after Matthew Short’s 22-ball 34. Once he was holed out in the 18th over off Ravi Bishnoi, Shahrukh Khan (23 not out) completed the job, knocking off the final runs with a boundary.

Raza hit four boundaries and three sixes in his match-winning knock.

On a two-paced wicket, KL Rahul displayed great composure en route his 56-ball 74 as he added 53 and 48 runs with Kyle Mayers (29) and Krunal Pandya (18) for the first and third wickets respectively.

However, LSG couldn’t finish things with a flourish as they lost four wickets for 48 runs in the last five overs, with Sam Curran picking up three of those.

Kagiso Rabada (2/34), Arshdeep Singh (1/22), Harpreet Brar (1/10) and Sikandar Raza (1/19) were also among wickets.

Defending the total, pacer Yudhvir Singh made a sensational debut, dismissing fellow debutant Atharva Taide (0) and Prabhsimran Singh (4) — who replaced Rahul Chahar as impact sub — in his first two overs to reduce PBKS to 17 for 2.

Matthew Short looked in good nick, slamming three boundaries off Avesh Khan, before producing two hits to the fence off Yudhvir.

Krishnappa Gowtham, who replaced Kyle Mayers as impact sub, too, was smacked for a six by Short but the spinner had the batter caught by Stoinis as Punjab slumped to 45 for 3 in 6 overs.

Raza then took the onus on himself as he and Harpreet Singh Bhatia (22) added run-a-ball 30 before Pandya broke the stand, holing out the former at deep backward square.

Also read: IPL 2023: Mohit, Gill shine as Gujarat Titans beat Punjab Kings by six wickets

Raza exploded in the 13th over, clobbering two successive sixes and a four off Pandya to pile up 17 runs.

However, KL Rahul produced a sensational effort to get rid off Jitesh Sharma, while Ravi Bishnoi, introduced after 14 overs, got rid off Curran (6) before accounting for Raza to raise hopes of an upset.

Needing 21 in 13 balls, Shahrukh sent Woods sailing for a maximum, while Brar too picked up a four to bring down the required runs.

Earlier, Rahul and Mayers provided LSG a flying start with the burly left-handed West Indian being the aggressor initially.

While Rahul dealt in boundaries, Mayers dealt in maximums.

Mayers blasted Mathew Short over deep backward square leg and followed it up with a backward punch for another six over covers off Sam Curran before depositing Rabada into the stands as LSG raced away to 40 for no loss in the powerplay.

With the pitch offering a bit of grip and turn, Curran, who led PBKS in place of an injured Shikhar Dhawan, brought in the spinners.

Harpreet Brar soon removed Mayers, who was holed out to deep backward square leg in the eighth over, while Raza trapped Deepak Hooda (2) as LSG slipped to 62 for 2.

Rahul then combined with Pandya to take LSG past the 100-mark before Rabada returned to dismiss the latter in the 15th over.

Also read: IPL 2023: First 10 matches break TV viewership records, claims Disney Star

Two balls later, star of last match Nicholas Pooran too fell while looking for a big hit with Shahrukh Khan taking the catch.

Marcus Stoinis, however, got going from the start, slamming Rahul Chahar for back-to-back sixes, while KL Rahul then cut Rabada for a maximum as LSG reached 138 for 4 in 17 overs.

However, the hosts didn’t get the final push as Curran earned the wicket of Stoinis after winning a video referral following a faint nick off the batters’ gloves.

Arshdeep Singh then struck with his knuckle ball, removing Rahul, who was holed out at long-on, while Shahrukh Khan once again picked up a well-judged catch to get rid of Yudhvir Singh.

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