Shikhar Dhawan and Trent Boult
PBKS vs RR players battles to watch out for

Punjab Kings (PBKS) will take on Rajasthan Royals (RR) in match number 66 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on Friday, May 19. The match will be significant for both teams to stay in the hunt for a place in the playoffs. Both teams have 12 points from 13 matches each. While RR have a net run rate of +0.140, PBKS are poor in this department at -0.308. Here are five player battles for PBKS vs RR IPL 2023 match 66.

#1 Shikhar Dhawan vs Trent Boult

PBKS skipper Shikhar Dhawan has struggled for fluency since returning from injury. He has only one half-century to his name in his last five knocks. In his last two visits to the crease, he has been dismissed for 7 and 0. Dhawan will be keen to come to the party against RR.

Trent Boult did not play the last match for RR. It wouldn’t have made much of a difference as they were bundled out for 59 by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Before that, he starred with 2/15 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Can he get rid of Dhawan early?

#2 Jos Buttler vs Nathan Ellis

After a brilliant first half of IPL 2023, Jos Buttler has gone completely off the boil. Barring the 95 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), he hasn’t done much of note lately. In fact, he has been dismissed without scoring in the last two matches. Time for the real Buttler to stand up and deliver.

Nathan Ellis has been a surprise success hero for PBKS, with Kagiso Rabada failing to deliver the goods. The pacer has come up with some consistent performances. In nine matches, he has 12 wickets at an average of 25.42 and an economy rate of 8.97. He will look to dislodge Buttler cheaply.

#3 Liam Livingstone vs Yuzvendra Chahal

Liam Livingstone played a stupendous knock in a losing cause against DC in Punjab’s last match. Even as the rest of the team struggled in a chase of 214, Livingstone was exceptional with his big-hitting as he hammered 94 off only 48 balls, with five fours and nine sixes.

Record-breaker Yuzvendra Chahal has been extraordinary for RR in IPL 2023. In 13 matches, he has claimed 21 wickets at an average of 18.67 and an economy rate of 8.03. He has three four-fers in this edition. The tussle between the aggressive Livingstone and canny Chahal should be interesting.

#4 Shimron Hetmyer vs Arshdeep Singh

After a string of low scores, Shimron Hetmyer found some rhythm against RCB. While the entire team were bundled out for 59, Hetmyer contributed 35 of those runs, which came off 19 balls. He slapped four sixes and a four before being dismissed. Can Hetmyer build on his regained form?

PBKS pacer Arshdeep Singh has had a mixed IPL 2023. In 13 matches, he has picked up 16 wickets at an average of 28.31, but at a very high economy rate of 9.67. He has been wicketless in Punjab’s last three matches. Can he lift himself up and pose a challenge to Hetmyer?

#5 Jitesh Sharma vs Sandeep Sharma

The PBKS vs RR battle could witness a clash of Sharmas at the death. Jitesh Sharma has played a few terrific cameos for Punjab at a rapid pace. He has clubbed 265 runs in 13 matches at an average of 22.08 and a strike rate of 155.88. He has had a couple of failures recently, but Punjab will be expecting a good knock from him.

Sandeep Sharma has won a game for RR at the death out of where. He has also lost them a game from a winning position, bowling a no-ball against SRH. With his experience, though, the pacer has been a key component of the bowling attack. Can he stop an onslaught from Jitesh?

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