Punjab Kings (PBKS) will begin their TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Saturday, April 1.
Under newly-appointed captain Shikhar Dhawan and 2019 Cricket World Cup-winning head coach Trevor Bayliss, the 2014 IPL finalists will look to make a strong start after missing the playoffs by a whisker last season.
Ahead of the new campaign, the PBKS outfit has bolstered their dynamic squad by roping in England’s star all-rounder Sam Curran, Zimbabwe’s accomplished cricketer Sikandar Raza, experienced Indian batter Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Karnataka’s rising young pacer Vidwath Kaverappa, talented leg-spinner Mohit Rathee, and hard-hitting all-rounder Shivam Singh.
The franchise has also drafted in Big Bash League (BBL) 2022-23’s Player of the Tournament Matthew Short as a replacement for the injured Jonny Bairstow for IPL 2023.
However, the Kings will miss the services of two of their overseas stars - Kagiso Rabada and Liam Livingstone - for their IPL 2023 opener against KKR on Saturday.
Rabada is currently on national commitment as South Africa are hosting Netherlands in a three-match ODI series, which is scheduled to conclude on April 2.
England cricketer Livingstone is nursing an injury, but is also expected to join the Kings’ set-up soon.
Meanwhile, the Trevor Bayliss-coached outfit will bank on captain Shikhar Dhawan, Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh, wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma and Shahrukh Khan in the batting department.
𝐁𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐲! ❤⚔💜— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) April 1, 2023
Sadde 🦁s are ready to bring the Jazba to Sadda Akhada once again. 💪🏽🔥#PBKSvKKR #JazbaHaiPunjabi #SaddaPunjab #TATAIPL pic.twitter.com/8AGjvMckY4
The likes of Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Kaverappa and Rahul Chahar will play a key role on the bowling front.
Star all-rounders Sam Curran and Sikandar Raza will provide the depth to the squad, helped by the promising young players like Raj Angad Bawa and Harpreet Brar.
The Mohali-based franchise will also aim to make use of the home advantage as they host an IPL match at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium after almost four years.
On the other hand, the Kolkata Knight Riders have suffered a massive blow as captain Shreyas Iyer has been sidelined with a back problem.
In his absence, Nitesh Rana has been appointed the stand-in skipper. Furthermore, the Kolkata-based franchise will be guided by newly-appointed head coach Chandrakant Pandit.
KKR’s two Bangladeshi cricketers Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das will miss the PBKS clash due to national duty.
The two-time IPL champions will be heavily reliant on their foreign talents including Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, and David Wiese.
Talking about their head-to-head stats, PBKS have a dissatisfying record against KKR in the IPL, having won 10 of the 30 matches that they have played so far.
In Mohali, Punjab have a much better record, having won three of their seven matches against Kolkata in the high-profile T20 League.
Going by the two power-packed squads, we can expect a mouth-watering contest in Mohali. The PBKSvKKR match will start at 3:30 PM Indian Standard Time (IST).