Patient Nathan Ellis gets his reward for Punjab Kings

Nathan Ellis has waited over the best part of two months to finally get a game in this season's IPL - and Punjab Kings must be regretting they didn't give him a chance earlier as the Australian international grabbed his chance brilliantly.

Good things come to those who wait and, after Ellis had twiddled his thumbs on the bench for a dozen matches in India, captain Sam Curran was the first to salute his "absolutely amazing" impact as his miserly bowling set up their consolation five-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old death bowling specialist may be T20 World Cup-bound and a 13-wicket star of Punjab's campaign in 2023, but it had not been enough to win him a place in the Mohali-based team in 2024, even as they slumped to the bottom of the table.

Guwahati wicket
Ellis congratulated on his wicket of Rajasthan Royals' captain Sanju Samson in Guwahati.

But with nothing more to play for than avoiding the wooden spoon as the last-placed of the 10 sides, Ellis showed what the Kings had been missing, sending down four tight overs, going for just 24 runs as Punjab's most economical bowler and grabbing the key wicket of Royals' captain Sanju Samson (18).

Ellis's efforts, which also featured 10 dot balls, helped keep Rajasthan, who had elected to bat, down to 9-144 off their 20 overs, the mainstay of which was Riyan Parag, with his 48 off 34 balls.

On what wasn't the easiest of slow pitches at the already-qualified Royals' Guwahati home, Curran himself proved the hero with the bat, guiding his side to victory after a poor start with his 63 not out off 41 balls inspiring them to 5-145 with seven balls remaining.

But the England star was more interested in.saluting his NSW newcomer Ellis than blowing his own trumpet.

"I thought Nathan Ellis for his first game of the season was absolutely amazing, showed what a class player he is and why he's such a good bowler," said Curran.

"And we've  probably missed him all season, and probably should have played him," he added with a sheepish grin, while conceding "hindsight's a wonderful thing".

"I thought we bowled really well as a group. We had a lot of pride to play for out there, not just going through the motions. That was real character from the team."

The win leaves Punjab ninth, one from bottom, in the table but Rajasthan will be in the playoffs despite a fourth successive defeat.

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