Punjab Kings bowler Nathan Ellis celebrates the wicket of Rajasthan Royals batter Jos Buttler during the IPL 2023 cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings, at ACA Stadium, Barsapara in Guwahati, April 5, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI
Punjab Kings (PBKS) will have to review their bowling plans while Rajasthan Royals (RR) will have to live up to their lofty potential when both inconsistent teams make a last-ditch effort to keep the their slim playoff hopes in the IPL here on May 19.
Considering their superior net run rate, Royals were better than Punjab Kings ahead of their last league game but both have to rely on other results after an up-and-down season.
The season has told a familiar story for perennial under-performers Punjab Kings, who once again failed to hit the big moments at the business end of the tournament.
The pace department was guilty of leaking too many runs in both the powerplay and death overs. With the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Sam Curran and Arshdeep Singh conceding close to 10 runs per over, the team will surely feel the pressure.
While Rabada has not been at his best, the non-use of Arshdeep in both the powerplay and death overs here on May 17 evening is expected to be questioned. The pacer made his name nailing yorkers in the death overs and of late troubled the opening batters with his swing.
After being consistent in the first half of the tournament, the lanky left-arm pacer has gone off the boil and will be looking to raise his game in the must win contest.
Shikhar Dhawan used left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar in the 20th over against Delhi Capitals and it went down hard, effectively making the difference in the game.
Also read | DC all but eliminated PBKS from the playoffs race with a 15-run win
On the batting front, Dhawan has not come in the last two games and wants to lead from the front.
The Royals, who looked the team to beat in the first half of the IPL with four wins from their first five games, only have themselves to blame for their problems.
Despite exemplary performances from the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Yuzvendra Chahal, the star studded outfit flatters to deceive.
Jos Buttler also played some sensational knocks but it was not consistent. Having been dismissed without scoring in the previous two games, the England batter is itching to perform in the do-or-die game.
Skipper Sanju Samson backs himself to take on the bowlers in any situation and he will continue to play a high risk game.
Considering the depth of their squad, Rajasthan were among the pre-tournament favorites who have been too hot and cold for their own liking.
RajasthanRoyals: Sanju Samson (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Shimron Hetmyer, Joe Root, Devdutt Padikkal, Dhruv Jurel, Riyan Parag, Sandeep Sharma, Trent Boult, Obed McCoy, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen, Kuldip Yadav, Ravichandran Chahal, Yuzvendra , KC Cariappa, Jason Holder, Donovan Ferreira, Kunal Rathore, Adam Zampa, KM Asif, Murugan Ashwin, Akash Vashisht and Abdul PA
PunjabKings: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shahrukh Khan, Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Gurnoor Singh Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh, Nathan Ellis, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Mohit Rathee, Shivam Singh.
The match starts at 7:30 pm