Punjab Kings will aim to end their long wait to clinch their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title in the 2023 edition of the T20 tournament.
Under newly-appointed captain Shikhar Dhawan and World Cup-winning head coach Trevor Bayliss, the Kings have assembled a strong squad with a good mix of Indian and overseas cricketers.
With less than a week before the league commences, we take a look at the Punjab Kings’ overseas contingent who will play a significant role in their quest for IPL glory.
South African pacer Kagiso Rabada will once again lead the Punjab Kings’ bowling attack in the upcoming edition of the IPL.
Rabada finished as the leading wicket-taker for the Kings and the third-highest wicket-taker overall last season. He bagged 23 wickets in 13 matches at an average of 17.65 and an economy of 8.45.
Having already played five seasons of the IPL, the 27-year-old speedster has already picked up 99 wickets in 63 games, including six four-wicket hauls.
Rabada will aim to continue his stellar form for the Kings in order to power the franchise to their maiden IPL title.
Punjab Kings roped in England’s star all-rounder Sam Curran for a whopping INR 18.50 crore at the IPL 2023 mini-auction.
Curran returns to the franchise after making his IPL debut for the Kings against Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in 2019. He took 10 wickets and scored 95 runs in nine matches that season.
The swashbuckling all-rounder was then part of the Chennai Super Kings’ set-up for two years.
In his short IPL career, Curran has featured in 32 IPL matches, bagging 32 wickets and amassing 225 runs so far.
Having been adjudged the Player of the Tournament during England’s 2022 T20 World Cup triumph, Curran is expected to play a pivotal role for the PBKS franchise in IPL 2023 season.
England’s Liam Livingstone was one of the standout performers for the Kings in the previous edition of the IPL.
The hard-hitting middle-order batter amassed 437 runs in 14 matches last season at an impressive strike rate of 182.08, while also maintaining a healthy average of 36.42. He smashed four fifties in the tournament.
Apart from his batting credentials, Livingstone also contributed with the ball as he scalped six wickets at an economy of 8.78.
The flamboyant all-rounder is once again expected to play a crucial role for the Kings in IPL 2023.
Punjab Kings have shown their faith by retaining Bhanuka Rajapaksa for the forthcoming IPL season.
The Sri Lankan international played nine IPL matches for the franchise last season. Batting at the top-order, Rajapaksa scored 206 runs at an excellent strike rate of 159.69. His assault on fellow Sri Lankan Wanindu Hasaranga was instrumental in PBKS pulling off their joint-highest successful run chase in IPL.
With the ability to don the wicketkeeper’s gloves as well, Rajapaksa could be an invaluable addition to the Kings’ playing XI this season.
Right-arm Australian pacer Nathan Ellis will don the Punjab Kings’ jersey for the third consecutive season in the IPL.
Having replaced compatriot Riley Meredith in the PBKS squad during IPL 2021, Ellis has featured in five games for the franchise.
The 28-year-old has picked up four IPL wickets at an economy of 8.50. Ellis will look to add more dismissals to his tally in the upcoming season.
Having already bagged 103 wickets in 85 T20 matches, Ellis could be the wrecker-in-chief for the Kings in IPL 2023.
Zimbabwe’s star all-rounder Sikandar Raza will bring a wealth of experience to the Kings’ set-up this season.
The 36-year-old has scored 3,346 runs in 172 T20 matches, including registering 20 half-centuries.
Raza is also a handy bowler capable of bowling both spin and seam-up, and has scalped 87 T20 wickets at an average of 28.60 and an economy of 7.40.
Having proved his match-winning credentials for the Zimbabwe cricket team, Raza could make a mark for the Kings on his IPL debut.
Punjab Kings have acquired the services of Australian all-rounder Matthew Short as a replacement for injured Jonny Bairstow.
The 27-year-old stole the limelight in the 2022-23 Big Bash League where he was adjudged the Player of the Tournament.
Playing for the Adelaide Strikers, Short finished as the second-highest run-getter in the tournament. The top-order batter amassed 458 runs in 14 matches at an average of 35.23 and a strike rate of 144.47, including slamming one hundred and two fifties.
The Victorian all-rounder also picked up 11 wickets at an economy of 7.13.
In the absence of Bairstow, Short could be the game-changer for the Kings in IPL 2023.
The Kings will host Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their first match of IPL 2023 at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on April 1.