The Gujarat Titans (GT) will meet the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in game 48 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday. Gujarat will be clear favorites going into the contest. They are leading the points table, with eight wins from nine matches. In their last game, they got the better of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) with ease. As for Punjab, their IPL 2022 campaign is in troubled waters. After a good start, they now find themselves at the No. 8 position in the points table, with only four wins and five losses. In their previous match, they failed to chase down 154 against the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), going down by 20 runs. On that note, let’s take a look at five player battles to watch out for in the GT vs PBKS clash.
1. Wriddhiman Saha vs Sandeep Sharma: GT have found an excellent replacement for Matthew Wade in Wriddhiman Saha. The Aussie struggled to get going in the opportunities he was given, but Saha has come in and taken to the opening role like fish to water. In almost every match, he has come in and made a significant contribution. He has ensured that the run-rate does not dip even a Shubman Gill has been below part at the other end. Punjab pacer Sandeep Sharma is adept at keeping things tight at the start of the innings. He bowls a near-immaculate line and length, hardly giving anything away. Can he frustrate Saha and force him into a poor stroke?
2. Shikhar Dhawan vs Mohammed Shami: PBKS opener Shikhar Dhawan has played two good knocks in IPL 2022 so far, but hasn’t been able to do much apart from that. When he has looked good, he has carried on and played impressive knocks. On other days, he has looked totally out of rhythm. Punjab will need the senior batter to be at his best, particularly with skipper Mayank Agarwal struggling for runs. While Dhawan has been inconsistent, Mohammed Shami has been top-notch. He has bowled exceptional line and lengths and has claimed the early wickets more often than not, forcing batters to commit fatal mistakes. Can he induce a false shot out of Dhawan?
3. Hardik Pandya vs Rahul Chahar: Hardik Pandya against spinners is always an interesting battle. The Gujarat Titans skipper loves to go after slow bowlers and uses his reach to great effect to play the big strokes. He may have failed in the last two matches but will undoubtedly be confident of putting up a good show when he comes up against Punjab. Leggie Rahul Chahar has done a more than decent job for the franchise, picking up some crucial wickets. His variations have been on display, although his impact has been reduced due to PBKS’ batters failures. He will be up for the challenge against Pandya.
4. Liam Livingstone vs Rashid Khan: Punjab’s most destructive batter against Gujarat’s spin magician promises an enticing contest. Although Rashid Khan has grabbed more eyeballs for his Liam Livingstone-like batting in this IPL, his bowling has still been decent enough. He will be keen to make a great impact with the ball as well. After all, that’s his primary skill. Whether or not the others rein themselves in, Livingstone will bat only one way. He will take on Rashid for sure. But, can he emerge on top in the battle? That’s the big question.
5. Rahul Tewatia vs Arshdeep Singh: Both Rahul Tewatia and Arshdeep Singh have been absolutely sensational at the death for their respective franchises. The only difference is that Tewatia has done it with the bat and Arshdeep with the ball. If they come face to face on Tuesday, Arshdeep will undoubtedly look to fire in the yorkers while Tewatia will look to unsettle him with some cheeky strokes. The stage is set, but who will conquer this challenge is what remains to be seen.