Sports and politics dictate that one should never underestimate anyone, as exemplified by Punjab's recent game. Despite losing their skipper Dhawan to injury and fielding a top 4 that had never played international cricket before (a first in IPL history), they were able to defeat a team as star-studded as Lucknow. Sikandar Raza made history by becoming the first Zimbabwean player to be awarded the Man of the Match title in IPL. While ShahRukh Khan's contribution to Punjab may not be significant, he has played two crucial cameos in the last two games, including the one that helped Punjab clinch victory.
The team's prospects are set to improve considerably with the arrival of Liam Livingstone, who is known for his formidable hitting ability. Livingstone's exceptional strike rate of over 170 and his impressive tally of 400 runs in the previous season attest to his prowess as a batsman.
In the aftermath of Kumble's takeover, Punjab has emerged as a thorn in RCB's side. Out of the last six encounters between the two teams, RCB has managed to win only once. Notably, Punjab boasts a superior bowling line-up compared to RCB, and Rabada, in particular, has a remarkable head-to-head record against every RCB batter. Thus, it's imperative that young guns like Lomror, Suyash, and Anuj step up their game and deliver for the team.
RCB exhibited their vintage level by succumbing to defeats from seemingly impossible positions against KKR and Lucknow. RCB put forth their best effort to exceed their own level of stupidity against Delhi, but DC’s current condition is even more dismal. RCB took things to the next level by letting CSK pile on a colossal score, with Rahane and Dube leading the charge out of all batters.
RCB's think tank appears to be running a never-ending circus with their decision-making. They have made a series of questionable calls, including promoting Harshal, axing Willey, persisting with Anuj at number 8, and sending Parnell ahead of Hasaranga. What makes it more exasperating is that they have access to cutting-edge analytical tools with the services of Cricviz and Freddie Wilde, yet they keep repeating such mistakes. Such blunders were even unheard during Vettori's tenure.
Addition of Hazlewood will only take things upwards from here.
Hazlewood has been one of the best white-ball bowlers post-2021, with 49 wickets from 32 games for Australia in T20Is at an economy rate of 7.2. His ability to pick wickets in the death overs, as he did for RCB last season (8), is an invaluable addition to the team.
Hasaranga's bowling was severely punished by Tim Seirfert in New Zealand just a fortnight ago and Despite having an unimpressive performance in the two games he has played thus far Hasaranga's role in RCB's playoff chances cannot be overlooked. His outstanding record of securing 26 wickets in the last season, out of which 20 were in the middle overs, was a significant advantage for the team, particularly during the phase when the opposition is scoring effortlessly. Moreover, his ability to take wickets during the death overs, while maintaining an economy rate of 7.3 is a huge plus point .
However, there is a silver lining for RCB in the first 4 games, with their improved approach in the Powerplay. Last season, their run rate in the Powerplay was the second-worst, and they were not in the top five in terms of hitting sixes.So far the opening partnership of Virat and Faf have added 330 runs from 4 games at an impressive RR of 9.3.
Probable Playing XIs
Royal Challengers Bangalore
F du Plessis(C), Virat Kohli, Mahipal Lomror, Glenn Maxwell, Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, Dinesh Karthik(wk), Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel, Josh Hazlewood, Vijaykumar Vyshak
Shikhar Dhawan, Prabhsimran Singh (Impact), Matthew Short, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, ShahRukh Khan, Jitesh Sharma Sikander Raza, Sam Curran, Harpreet Brar, Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar
Punjab Cricket Association, IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
-Average Total batting 1st: 165.9
-Average 1st innings winning total: 179.4
-Highest total: 240/5 - CSK v PBKS, 2008
-Lowest total: 67/10 - DC v PBKS, 2017
-Total Match Played: 57
-Batting First Won: 25
-Batting Second Won: 32
Head to Head
Overall: PBKS leads by 17-13
Batting 1st: 7-7
Batting 2nd: PBKS leads by 10 - 6
Last 5 matches: PBKS leads by 4-1
Chris Gayle - 873
Virat Kohli - 802
Yuzvendra Chahal - 25
Sandeep Sharma - 16
Last year’s Standings
RCB: W L L W L
PBKS: W W L L W
Match Ups (IPL)
Dhawan vs Maxwell - 76 off 47, 2 outs
Dhawan v Harshal: 42 off 37, 2 out
SRK v Harshal: 24 off 14
DK v Curran: 59 off 23, 1 out
Faf v Brar: 55 off 38
Kohli v Brar: 50 off 38, 1 out
Kohli v Curran: 43 off 27, 2 out
Kohli v Rbabad: 27 off 24, 3 out
Faf v Rabada: 16 off 13, 2 out
Maxwell v Rabada: 23 off 20, 2 out
DK v Arshdeep: 20 off 15, 2 out
Maxwell v Brar: 17 off 13, 2 out
Key Players and Fantasy Picks
Faf du Plessis / Virat Kohli / Matthew Short
A top order batter should be your 1st priority in Fantasy 11. Faf has been in some surreal form off late with 177 runs at an SR of 143 in BBL and became the 1st centurion in SA 20. He scored 369 runs at an average of 41 (2nd highest). He was the MoM in the opening game for his 73. He scored 79 off 46 deliveries against LSG and 62 off 32 against his former team CSK. He has 259 runs at a SR of 172 with 18 sixes.
In contrast to the preceding few seasons, Virat Kohli has now ignited the IPL with his exceptional performance. His approach, intent, and boundary percentage have all improved to a remarkable extent compared to his previous three seasons.Mohali is his happy hunting ground where he played the iconic 82 against Aus in 2016 WT20.
Short scored almost 1000 runs in last 2 seasons of the BBL. He was the 2nd highest run scorer this season with 458 runs at a SR of 144 and was the 3rd highest run scorer last season with 490 odd runs. In addition to that he is a handy off spinner who took 11 wkts and opens the bowling for Adelaide Strikers.Thus far, in both encounters, he has exhibited aesthetically pleasing strokes and has made promising beginnings.
In 2021 and 2022, Maxwell scored 814 runs for RCB at a SR of 152. No one scored more runs than him at a better rate and he did it by batting at 4 or below. He is also an effective off spinner who bowled a few economical overs in Powerplay. With Rajat not in the scene and DK not among runs in the recent past, the onus of carrying the middle order solely lies on him and he did not disappoint against LSG scoring 59 from 29 balls and straightaway took on the spinners in middle overs against Delhi and against CSK put up another show with an innings of74. He has 19 sixes so far and a SR of 190+ this season
Sikandar Raza has been a pivotal member of the Zimbabwean cricket team, as he has been the top run-scorer and ranked among the top five wicket-takers in 2022. Considering RCB's previous struggles against spin, Raza's bowling could pose significant challenges to their lineup.