The Punjab Kings (PBKS) will face the Delhi Capitals (DC) in game 64 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Monday. This game will be crucial for both sides to stay in the hunt for the playoff race. Delhi and Punjab both have earned 12 points each after 12 matches. Only the net run rate separates the teams. While Delhi are fifth, Punjab are seventh. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are in the sixth position with the same number of points, but they have played one game extra. Both franchises won their respective previous matches by handsome margins. PBKS beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 54 runs, while Delhi crushed the Rajasthan Royals (RR) by eight wickets. Here are five player battles to watch out for.
1. Jonny Bairstow vs Anrich Nortje: After an indifferent start, Jonny Bairstow has found form for PBKS just in the nick of time. In the last match against RCB, he went absolutely berserk, smashing 66 in 29 balls. What Bairstow does when he fires is that he demoralizes the opposition. He will need to carry on the great run with the team in a do-or-die situation. DC pacer Anrich Nortje is not at his best yet, but he is slowly beginning to rediscover form. He has claimed six wickets in the last three matches. If Delhi want to do well against Punjab, they will have to knock over Bairstow early. Can Nortje do the same?
2. David Warner vs Kagiso Rabada: The clash of two class players. David Warner has been absolutely brilliant for DC, just like he had been for SRH all these years, barring IPL 2021. He has played perfectly according to the situation. On days, he has single-handedly taken the team over the line. Other times, he has been happy to play second fiddle to Prithvi Shaw and Mitchell Marsh. Either way, his consistency has been outstanding. If Warner settles in, PBKS could be in trouble. Kagiso Rabada has been constantly providing early breakthroughs for Punjab. He has bowled with pace and accuracy. His tussle with Warner at the top of the order could set the tone of the game in many ways.
3. Mitchell Marsh vs Rahul Chahar: Mitchell Marsh was superb in the last match for Delhi. He came out and batted with the kind of intent that has made him an extremely dangerous T20 batter over the last year and a half. Having found rhythm, Marsh will want to make up for his failures earlier in the tournament. Can he carry on his form, which will be vital for DC? Punjab leggie Rahul Chahar has not been consistent but the only thing he has very well is that he has claimed key wickets. Marsh will be a big one, for sure. Can Chahar produce a ripper to send back Marsh early.
4. Liam Livingstone vs Kuldeep Yadav: PBKS have been massively aided by Liam Livingstone’s superb big-hitting form in IPL 2022. In the last game as well, he came in and cracked a stellar 70 in 42 deliveries. The ball is meeting the middle of Livingstone’s bat, which is great news. After a brilliant first half, DC left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav has not been as effective. However, since this is crunch time, Yadav will be expected to lift his game. He will look to produce a magical delivery to fox the England clean striker.
5. Rovman Powell vs Arshdeep Singh: Rovman Powell has done an excellent job for DC at the death, finding the crucial big hits. He will be expected to carry on in the same vein in the remaining matches as well. Arshdeep Singh has done an equally good job for Punjab with the ball in hand. The clash between the two in the end overs will be intriguing. Arshdeep will know that he cannot err, while Powell would be aware that if he misses, the left-armer will hit.