The Punjab Kings (PBKS) will take on the Gujarat Titans (GT) in match number 16 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. Punjab have made a good start to their IPL campaign this season, winning two and losing one of their three matches. They chased down 200-plus against Bangalore before going down to Kolkata in a low-scoring match. In their previous clash against Chennai, they trampled the defending champions by 54 runs. Gujarat have also been impressive in their first two matches in their debut season. They beat Lucknow by five wickets and got the better of Delhi by 14 runs. Here’s a look at five player battles to watch out for.
1. Mayank Agarwal vs Mohammed Shami: PBKS skipper Mayank Agarwal has not made a great start to his IPL 2022 campaign. He got a start in the first game but ended up being dismissed for 32. In the subsequent matches, he has registered single-figure scores. Agarwal needs to find his rhythm for he is a key player for Punjab at the top of the innings. When he fires, he gives the team much-needed momentum. At the start, Agarwal will be up against the canny Mohammed Shami. The GT pacer has excelled for his franchise with his versatile skills and experience. Agarwal will have to be careful against his guile.
2. Shubman Gill vs Vaibhav Arora: GT opener Shubman Gill was mighty impressive in the clash against Delhi. He looked in sublime form, hammering 84 in 46 balls with the aid of six fours and four sixes. It was the kind of knock the franchise was expecting of him. When he bats in the fashion that he did against DC, Gill looks among the most exquisite batters in the business. Punjab gave a chance to young pacer Vaibhav Arora in the match against CSK. He grabbed his opportunities and came up with a crucial spell of 2 for 21, dismissing Robin Uthappa and Moeen Ali. Arora has pace and swing with which he will look to trouble Gill.
3. Shikhar Dhawan vs Lockie Ferguson: Experienced PBKS opener Shikhar Dhawan will be keen to come up with a big knock for his new franchise. In the three games played so far, he has registered scores of 43, 16 and 33. He has been getting starts and has looked good as well. However, he has failed to carry on. Will he go one step ahead against Gujarat? The Titans will look to unleash the pace of Lockie Ferguson on Dhawan. The Kiwi fast bowler was brilliant against Delhi with figures of 4 for 28, blowing the opposition away. GT would be aware of the threat that Dhawan can pose. Hence, they would be keen for Ferguson to knock him over.
4. Hardik Pandya vs Rahul Chahar: Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya has looked in decent touch with the bat. He scored 33 against Lucknow and 31 against Delhi. As leader, Hardik will be keen to continue making an impact. It is no secret that he loves taking on the slow bowlers. However, the batter will face a massive challenge against Rahul Chahar. The leggie has been exceptional for Punjab in IPL 2022. He has claimed six wickets in three matches and has stifled opponents with his tight bowling. Hardik will look to go after him. This could be a key contest in the game.
5. Liam Livingstone vs Rashid Khan: After failing to fire in the first couple of games, PBKS’ batting all-rounder Liam Livingstone finally came up with a performance that was expected of him. He hit a blazing 60 against Chennai to ensure Punjab put up a good score on the board. When in the mood, Livingstone can play the most audacious of strokes. He knows only one way to bat but Rashid Khan could pose him massive problems. The cunning leg-spinner would be keen to win the battle against Livingstone.