The Shikhar Dhawan-led Punjab Kings (PBKS) were in contention for the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs until the final few days of the league phase before we experienced a heartbreaking end to our campaign.

With six memorable victories in 14 league matches, our boys finished eighth on the points table.

Despite missing out on a playoff spot, we are extremely proud of the way the team performed this season. Here’s how our TATA IPL 2023 campaign panned out:

Early Injury Setbacks

Ahead of the 2023 season, we suffered a massive blow as our swashbuckling batter, Jonny Bairstow, was ruled out due to an injury. The PBKS management soon drafted in Australian cricketer Matthew Short as Bairstow’s replacement.

Apart from Bairstow, our star all-rounder, Liam Livingstone, also missed a few initial games as he was recovering from his injury.

Promising Start

Under the tutelage of head coach Trevor Bayliss, our boys started the TATA IPL 2023 campaign in an emphatic fashion as we defeated Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by seven runs (DLS method) in our rain-curtailed opening fixture at our home ground, Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. We continued our winning momentum as we beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) by five runs in a thrilling clash at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati.

Inconsistent Form

Despite Dhawan’s awe-inspiring unbeaten 99, we suffered our first defeat of the season as we went down to hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

In our second home game this season, we gave a tough fight to defending champions Gujarat Titans, before going down on the penultimate ball of the clash.

Ahead of our fifth match of TATA IPL 2023, we were dealt another huge blow as skipper Dhawan was ruled out after sustaining an injury in our previous fixture.

In the absence of Dhawan, all-rounder Sam Curran was announced as our stand-in captain.

Under Curran’s leadership, our boys returned to winning ways as we overcame Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) by two wickets in a nail-biting encounter in Lucknow.

In our home fixture against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), we suffered a setback as our team lost the game by 24 runs in Mohali.

Memorable Away Wins

Our boys produced an impressive all-round performance to beat five-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI) by 13 runs at the Wankhede Stadium.

Put in to bat, stand-in skipper Curran’s 29-ball 55 along with contributions from Harpreet Singh Bhatia (41), Atharva Taide (29), Prabhsimran Singh (26) and Jitesh Sharma (25) powered us to a mammoth total of 214/8. Our left-arm pacer, Arshdeep Singh, later bagged a game-changing four-wicket haul to help us register a memorable win in Mumbai.

Ahead of our next home clash in Mohali, we received a massive boost as captain Dhawan was back to lead the side. Taide’s maiden TATA IPL fifty went in vain as we lost to LSG by 56 runs.

In our crucial away fixture against Chennai Super Kings, our boys scripted history as we pulled off the highest-ever run-chase by an away team at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. 

Electing to bat first, the hosts posted a huge total of 200/4. We later rode on influential cameos from Prabhsimran (42) and Livingstone (40), while useful contributions from Jitesh (21) and Raza (13 not out) guided us to a historic win off the very last ball of the enthralling encounter.

Disappointing End 

After becoming the first team to successfully hunt down 200+ runs at the iconic Chepauk Stadium, we experienced a dip in form.

We went down to MI in our final home match in Mohali, and also lost to KKR at the Eden Gardens.

In our must-win game against Delhi Capitals (DC), Prabhsimran slammed his maiden TATA IPL hundred, followed by Harpreet Brar’s four-wicket haul to help us secure a 31-run victory, which kept our playoff hopes alive.

But the joy was short-lived, as we went down to DC and RR in our final two games to miss out on a playoff spot.

We ended the TATA IPL 2023 campaign with 12 points from 14 matches. Despite finishing eighth, our Shers produced some scintillating individual performances in the marquee T20 tournament. 

Leading Run-Scorer

Our talismanic captain, Shikhar Dhawan, led from the front with the bat. The flamboyant southpaw finished as our leading run-scorer this season. The 37-year-old amassed 373 runs in 11 matches at an average of 41.44 and a strike rate of 142.91. He smashed three fifties in TATA IPL 2023.

Highest Wicket-taker

Our bowling spearhead, Arshdeep Singh, finished as our leading wicket-taker in the 2023 season. The 24-year-old left-arm pacer picked up 17 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 29. His stump-breaking show against MI at Wankhede will be remembered for a long time.

Emerging Player

Prabhsimran Singh showcased his immense talent with useful scores throughout the tournament. The 22-year-old finished as our second-highest run-scorer this season, accumulating 358 runs in 14 matches at a brilliant strike rate of 150.42. He slammed one fifty and one hundred.

With plenty of positives, our boys will look to bounce back stronger in the next edition of the TATA IPL.