Dushmantha Chameera can be expensive at times, but he has the ability to claim the early wickets. Can he unsettle Dhawan with his pace?

The Punjab Kings (PBKS) face the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in game 42 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune on Friday. Punjab have had an inconsistent season. Out of eight games, they have won four and lost four. They were impressive in their last match, getting the better of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 11 runs. LSG have done slightly better than PBKS. From eight matches, they have won five and lost three. They have met the Mumbai Indians (MI) twice recently, and, on both occasions, they have eased to victory. In their last match, they thumped the five-time champions by 36 runs. Here are five player battles to watch out for in the PBKS-LSG clash.

1. Shikhar Dhawan vs Dushmantha Chameera: After a few low scores, PBKS opener Shikhar Dhawan hit form with a brilliant half-century against CSK. He looked in sublime touch and played a key role in an important win for the franchise. What Dhawan does well when he posts a big score is pace his innings to near-perfection. This is what he did against Chennai as well. Having said that, the left-hander remains vulnerable early on in his innings. LSG would look to send him back cheaply. Dushmantha Chameera can be expensive at times, but he has the ability to claim the early wickets. Can he unsettle Dhawan with his pace?

2. KL Rahul vs Kagiso Rabada: LSG skipper KL Rahul has been in sublime form. He has notched up two hundreds in IPL 2022 so far. Rahul has had a big role to play in Lucknow’s success in their debut season so far, leading from the front. He would want to carry on his good run. Having said that, PBKS would be aware that both of Rahul’s tons have come against a weak MI bowling attack. His batting in other games has been a bit susceptible. Kagiso Rabada has the ability to knock over batters early with his pace and accuracy. He is in fine rhythm as well. The KL vs KG tussle will be a key contest at the top of the order.

3. Liam Livingstone vs Ravi Bishnoi: PBKS batter Liam Livingstone has been in exceptional big-hitting form in IPL 2022. Almost every time he has come in, he has taken on the bowling and gotten on top of the opponents. Even in the last match against Chennai, he played a crucial cameo that helped Punjab finish the innings on a high. The mandate for the England batter seems simple. Go out there and take on the bowling. Lucknow leggie Ravi Bishnoi could pose a challenge to Livingstone. He is a smart young bowler, who is always ready for a fight. Can Bishnoi find a way to get past the PBKS dangerman cheaply?

4. Marcus Stoinis vs Rahul Chahar: If PBKS have Livingstone, LSG have Marcus Stoinis. Except in his first match against the Rajasthan Royals, the Aussie big-hitter hasn’t done a lot with the bat. But everyone knows his ability with the willow, and he is more than capable of performing the role that Livingstone does for PBKS. In the middle and end overs, Stoinis could face a challenge from leggie Rahul Chahar. The Punjab spinner has had a mixed time in the tournament so far, but has not lost the ability to pick up key scalps. Stoinis will be a big one.

5. Jitesh Sharma vs Jason Holder: PBKS keeper-batter Jitesh Sharma has played some fine cameos for the team at the death. He is unconventional and has frustrated opponents with his cheeky strokeplay. It will not be easy to pull off the same against Jason Holder. The canny medium-pacer has multiple tricks in his bowling back. Given his experience and Sharma’s lack of it, Holder holds the upper hand in this battle.

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