Punjab Kings (PBKS) will take on the Gujarat Titans (GT) in the 16th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. Punjab have made a good start to their campaign, having won two of their first three matches. They were dominant against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in their last outing, registering a comprehensive 54-run win.
Gujarat have also been impressive in the two matches they have played in their debut IPL season so far. They started with a clinical five-wicket win over the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and followed it up with a 14-run victory against the Delhi Capitals (DC). In both games, GT overcame pressure situations to emerge victorious.
PBKS vs GT: The key clashes
Since both the sides for Friday’s game are well-matched, we can expect a tight encounter. Here are three key player battles to watch out for in the PBKS vs GT clash.
#1 Shikhar Dhawan vs Mohammed Shami
PBKS opener Shikhar Dhawan has not had a great start to his IPL 2022 campaign. In three matches, he has notched up scores of 43, 16 and 33. He has looked in decent touch, but the big scores are missing. The experienced left-hander will thus be keen to make an impact against GT. If he gets the team off to a rollicking start, Punjab have the big hitters in their ranks to capitalize on the same.
It won’t be easy for Dhawan at the start though. Gujarat pacer Mohammed Shami has been in excellent form in the first two matches. He ripped through Lucknow’s batting in GT’s first match, claiming three for 25. Against Delhi as well, he chipped in with a couple of wickets while also being economical. Shami has got the ball to dart around a bit and if he manages the same on Friday, he could trouble Dhawan.
#2 Shubman Gill vs Kagiso Rabada
GT opener Shubman Gill looked in sublime form against Delhi in the franchise’s previous match. After Gujarat were sent into bat, he almost single-handedly lifted the team to a competitive total. Gill played some handsome strokes and ended up scoring 84 off 46 balls, a knock which featured six fours and four sixes. The elegant batter will be high on confidence following his match-winning effort.
Against PBKS, Gill will face stiff opposition from Kagiso Rabada, who will be keen to knock him over cheaply. The South African speedster has made a sedate start to IPL 2022. He claimed one for 23 against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and one for 28 against CSK. Having warmed-up, Rabada will now be keen to make a greater impact. If he can get rid of Gill early, the Proteas pacer could give Punjab an early edge in the IPL 2022 clash.
#3 Liam Livingstone vs Rashid Khan
On paper, this looks like an enticing prospect. Liam Livingstone doesn’t have a great record in the IPL. However, in Punjab’s previous match against Chennai, he was the team’s standout performer with the willow. The aggressive right-hander slammed 60 off only 32 balls, whacking five fours and as many sixes. It was exactly the kind of performance PBKS had in mind when they purchased the England cricketer at the auction for ₹ 11.50 crore.
Having tasted success, Livingstone will now be keen to build on the same. However, he is likely to come across a massive barrier in the form of GT leg-spinner Rashid Khan. While the versatile Afghan cricketer has not done anything sensational in IPL 2022 so far, he has kept things tight in both matches. Being an aggressive batter, Livingstone will look to attack Rashid as well. Depending on the match situation, this tussle can have a game-changing impact