After an authoritative win against defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their previous game, the Punjab Kings march on to meet Gujarat Titans on Friday, April 8 at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium.
The Gujarat Titans are the only team in the Tata Indian Premier League 2022 to remain undefeated, and the Kings, coming in from an exciting win, will be looking to turn that record around.
Ahead of the important encounter, below are a few noteworthy points.
An aim for the top
The teams have four points each, with the Gujarat Titans having an edge over the Punjab Kings on net run rate. The Titans are at 0.495 and the Kings have an NRR of 0.238. However, a win would mean moving to six points, and a potential top spot for one of the teams.
Playing at the Brabourne
The Punjab Kings’ 54-run win against the Chennai Super Kings came at the Brabourne Stadium, giving the team an idea of what to expect from the pitch. The Gujarat Titans, however, are yet to play here. While they do have a 100% win rate, they will be tested in Brabourne Stadium for the first time in the Tata Indian Premier League 2022.
A battle between PBKS batters and GT bowlers
The Punjab Kings batters have put up two scores of 180 runs or more in three games, showing resilience and the ability to hit big. Shikhar Dhawan (92 runs so far) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (83 runs so far) have contributed immensely at the top. Liam Livingstone came to the party in the last game with a 32-ball 60, Odean Smith’s 25* (8) sealed the first game while Jitesh Sharma made a remarkable debut with 26 (17) so the middle order has both firepower and recent form.
The GT bowlers, on the other hand, almost bowled out a formidable looking Delhi Capitals line-up, with Lockie Ferguson picking four wickets, Mohammed Shami picking two and Rashid Khan and Hardik Pandya picking one each. Shami had also picked three wickets in their first game against Lucknow Super Giants, while Varun Aaron claimed two and Khan picked one wicket. In both games, the highest wicket taker was named the Player of the Match for the Titans.
It’s Jonny Bairstow time
Englishman Jonny Bairstow’s arrival was much awaited, given the chance to bolster an already good-looking line up. After arriving late, he finished his mandatory quarantine before joining the team’s bio bubble and is now available for the game against the Gujarat Titans.
Rahul Chahar’s form vs Rashid Khan’s experience
Rahul Chahar has been in good form for the Punjab Kings, picking a total of seven wickets in three games. While the young gun may not have picked a Player of the Match award yet, his contribution has been extremely crucial in winning games.
Rashid Khan, on the contrary, is undergoing a lean patch, having picked just two wickets from as many matches as batsmen continue to be wary of him. However, a bowler of his stature cannot be written off and Punjab’s strategy to go hard will be tested against his skill. It will be interesting to see which of these two bowlers will take advantage of the slow turn the Brabourne Stadium pitch offers.
The teams will lock horns at 7.30 PM on Friday. Sher Squad, you know how to kickstart the weekend!