The Punjab Kings (PBKS) have four points less than the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL), but with a game in hand, they will know that the margins between playoff qualification and an embarrassing league-stage capitulation are minimal.
Despite an excellent auction that saw them end up with a power-packed batting lineup and a decently well-rounded bowling attack, PBKS find themselves on the verge of elimination. They haven’t been able to strike the right balance between attack and defense for most of their IPL 2022 campaign, while the batting and bowling units have refused to fire in unison.
RCB, on the other hand, have seven wins despite most members of their batting department failing to contribute on a regular basis. Virat Kohli has been in a terrible run of form, while Glenn Maxwell and Faf du Plessis have been decent if unspectacular. The bowling seems to be coming together, though, with Wanindu Hasaranga scalping five wickets in the previous game against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
RCB are in a better position to qualify for the playoffs and are on the back of two wins on the trot. But they cannot take anything for granted against a PBKS side that will be out for blood.
IPL 2022 Match Prediction: RCB vs PBKS
RCB’s new-ball bowlers have a decent record against Shikhar Dhawan and Jonny Bairstow, the latter of whom made a welcome return to form in the previous game. Mohammed Siraj and Josh Hazlewood, along with the spin options at Bangalore’s disposal, will be wary of the threat posed by the PBKS openers, who will want to set a platform for the explosive middle order to tee off.
Liam Livingstone and Jitesh Sharma have been among Punjab’s best performers this year, but RCB are excellent in the middle overs owing to Hasaranga and Harshal Patel. The post-powerplay battle could well determine the fate of the RCB vs PBKS encounter.
Can the Punjab bowlers dismiss Kohli and Du Plessis early? Sandeep Sharma clearly has the wood over the former, while the RCB skipper has had his share of shortcomings against the moving ball in IPL 2022. If Sandeep and Kagiso Rabada can strike early, they would allow Rahul Chahar and Arshdeep Singh to operate with freedom in the middle overs and at the death respectively.
Overall, RCB seem to be coming together as a unit, while PBKS are yet to truly find their footing in IPL 2022. Du Plessis and Co. can be backed to come away with the two points, although a highly competitive encounter is on the cards.
Prediction: RCB to win Match 60 of IPL 2022