He may not have got a lot of wickets, but he has been deadly accurate. Can he be the one to crack the DK code?

The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will face the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in game 60 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. The match will be crucial for both sides as the battle for the playoff spots is heating up. Bangalore have 14 points from 12 games. They will have to win at least one of their remaining two matches to stay in the hunt. They will go in with confidence, having defeated the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 67 runs in their last match. Punjab have 10 points from 11 matches. They will need to win all three games to have hopes of qualifying. In their last game, they went down to the Rajasthan Royals (RR) by six wickets, failing to defend 189. Here are five player battles to watch out for in the RCB vs PBKS clash.

1. Faf du Plessis vs Kagiso Rabada: RCB skipper has either been brilliant or pedestrian. In Bangalore’s last match against SRH, he led the way with an unbeaten 73 off 50. It was a typical Du Plessis knock as he picked the boundaries with ease without looking in trouble. RCB would be glad to see their skipper play such an innings at a crucial stage in the tournament. He needs to carry on his form, though. Kagiso Rabada has been Punjab’s standout bowler this season. He, however, had a bad game against Rajasthan in which he went for plenty. He would be keen to be back at his best. Can he get the better of fellow South African Du Plessis cheaply?

2. Shikhar Dhawan vs Mohammed Siraj: PBKS will need a significant contribution from senior opener Shikhar Dhawan to stay alive in the contest. When Dhawan has scored big, Punjab have won. It’s as simple as that. What the left-hander does when he scores is that he gets a big one and guides the team along. It will be important for RCB to see the back of Dhawan early. Mohammed Siraj has had an erratic time for Bangalore in IPL 2022. He will need to lift his game to give his franchise a boost. Getting the early scalp of Dhawan will be of big help to the franchise.

3. Glenn Maxwell vs Rahul Chahar: RCB swashbuckler has given glimpses of his brilliance but, unlike last year, hasn’t set the tournament on fire. He will be expected to lift his game, being one of the senior batters. To his credit, he has played a few important cameos even though he hasn’t got the big scores. Depending on the situation, Maxwell will need to deliver. PBKS leggie Rahul Chahar began IPL 2022 in an impressive fashion. His form has taken a bit of a dip of late. However, the leggie is someone who loves rising to the big occasion. With Punjab in a do-or-die situation, will Chahar lift himself and keep Maxwell under check?

4. Liam Livingstone vs Wanindu Hasaranga: This will be one intriguing battle to look forward to. Liam Livingstone will look to go after the bowling, irrespective of the situation of the match. However, he will not have it easy at all against Wanindu Hasaranga. The RCB leggie will be high on confidence, having claimed a five-wicket haul in his recent match. In case the two come face to face, both players will be confident of outdoing the other. It remains to be seen who wins this enticing battle.

5. Dinesh Karthik vs Arshdeep Singh: Without an iota of doubt, Dinesh Karthik has been the finisher of IPL 2022. In the previous match against SRH as well, he made a huge difference, coming in at the end and slamming 30* off 8 balls. He will be looking to continue his amazing form with the willow. At the same time, PBKS’ Arshdeep Singh has arguably been the death bowler of the season. He may not have got a lot of wickets, but he has been deadly accurate. Can he be the one to crack the DK code?

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