The Rajasthan Royals survived an ordeal in the picturesque Dharamshala by the skin of its teeth on Friday night.

The four-wicket win over the Punjab Kings in the last over has kept its outside chances of reaching the playoffs alive.

With 14 points at the end of its league phase, the 2008 champion leapfrogged Mumbai Indians into the fifth position.

Now for place in the playoffs, Sanju Samson's men need Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore to lose by big margins on Sunday in their last games against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Titans respectively.

It would have been better for Rajasthan if it had beaten Punjab by a bigger margin on Friday.

Samson's team had its moments. First when it reduced Punjab to 50 for four after winning the toss and electing to field.

Then Sam Curran (49 not out off 31 balls) and Jitesh Sharma (44 off 28 balls) fought back with their 64-run partnership.

But at 141 for five after 18 overs, the Royals still had Punjab on the ropes only to lose its grip again as Curran and M Shahrukh Khan (41 not out off 23 balls) scored 46 runs in the last two overs to take the score to an imposing 186 for five.

Rajasthan needed to chase that down inside 19 overs to leapfrog the RCB into the fourth place on the points table.

At one stage, though, even winning the match was a big challenge for the Royals after Devdutt Padikkal (51 off 30 balls) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (50 off 36 balls) departed.

But Shimron Hetmyer (46 off 28 balls), Riyan Parag (20 off 12 balls) and Impact Player Dhruv Jurel (10 not out off 4 balls) managed to drag the Royals over the line, keeping the barest of chances alive for a playoff berth.

While Punjab (12 points from 14 games) became the third team to be knocked out of the race, six teams — Chennai Super Kings (15 points from 13 matches), Lucknow Super Giants (15 points from 13 matches), RCB (14 points from 13 matches), Royals (14 points from 14 matches), Mumbai (14 points from 13 matches) and the Kolkata Knight Riders (12 points from 13 matches) — are still locked in a battle for three playoffs berths.

Gujarat Titans (18 points from 13 matches), the defending champion, will finish the league phase in the top spot regardless of its result in the last game against the RCB.

But the Royals, which lost to Gujarat in last year's final, would be hoping for a big victory from Hardik Pandya's team against the RCB on Sunday.

Of course, the Royals would also be praying for Sunrisers to upset Mumbai on the same day.

Things would not have been so complicated for this talented team if it had not suffered some inexplicable batting collapses in three of its home games at Jaipur.

Those batting issues threatened to end its campaign on Friday before Jurel's straight six in the final over against Rahul Chahar kept the thin hopes alive.

Punjab Kings 187/5 (Sam Curran 49 not out, Jitesh Sharma 44, M Shahrukh Khan 41 not out; Navdeep Saini 3/40)

Rajasthan Royals 189/6 in 19.4 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 51, Yashasvi Jaiswal 50, Shimron Hetmyer 46, Riyan Parag 20; Kagiso Rabada 2/40)

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