Punjab Kings once again are in a situation where they seem to be ticking many boxes, but still end up at the lower part of the table. In fact, in their last game against SunRisers Hyderabad, PBKS were at rock bottom in terms of their batting, leaving their bowlers with precious little to defend. It is imperative for their big guns, not least skipper KL Rahul, to come good quickly if they want to recover in time to be viable for the knockouts. Punjab’s next match is against defending champions Mumbai Indians, and PBKS will need to bring their A game to the party.
Here are some players critical to Punjab Kings’ success:
KL Rahul finds himself in a strange position for the second IPL on the run. In 2020, he was one of the top run-getters in the tournament, but 2021 has been up and down. He has 161 runs from four matches, with 91 of them coming in PBKS’ only win, against Rajasthan Royals.
Barring that 91, Rahul’s other big knock was against Delhi Capitals (61) so 152 of his runs have come in two matches and the other two total just nine runs. PBKS’ totals resonate Rahul’s show – 106 for 8 against Chennai Super Kings and 120 against SRH. So, Rahul needs to score big at the top of the order, and there is no time left.
Mayank Agarwal possibly is the most unsteady of the PBKS top order. He has one solid score of 69 against DC but barring a 22 against SRH, has largely underachieved. He and Rahul need to make the most of the fielding restrictions at the beginning of the inning to ensure that PBKS have a fighting chance.
Agarwal has 105 runs from four innings in IPL 2021, much lesser than what Punjab Kings would be expecting of him. He, along with Rahul, hold the keys to PBKS’ success.
Mohammad Shami is the senior most regular bowler in the Punjab Kings line-up and his contribution is crucial to their performance. Shami has been unsteady so far, and that is reflecting on the results.
PBKS barely managed to beat RR while defending 220 runs and failed to defend 198 against Delhi. So, the bowling is struggling, as is reflected by Shami’s record. Four wickets from four matches at an economy of 8.78 doesn’t inspire much confidence. He needs to get his act together urgently.
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