Can struggling Punjab Kings ward off Gujarat Titans’ lower-order magic?


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The final time Gujarat Titans confronted Punjab Kings, Rahul Tewatia hit back-to-back sixes with 12 wanted off two balls to pull off a miraculous victory. Since then, such wins have grow to be Titans’ signature.

If Tewatia will not, David Miller will. If Miller will not, Rashid Khan will. If Rashid will not, another person certainly will. “The best way they’re batting, it provides me the arrogance that even our No. 8, 9 and 10 can win us the sport,” their captain Hardik Pandya stated after their newest heist towards Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Whereas these come-from-behind wins say rather a lot in regards to the workforce’s self-belief and never-say-die perspective, in addition they whisper that every one is probably not rosy if matches so usually come all the way down to the final over.

A glance past the factors desk tells us that Shubman Gill has managed solely 80 runs in Titans’ final six video games, at a strike charge of 98.76. That they’re but to determine who their greatest No. 3 batter is. That with uncertainty round Pandya’s bowling health, they’ve been pressured to play an additional bowler and compromise their batting.

The upside of being on the high of the desk with eight wins from 9 video games is that they’re going to have a foot within the playoffs in the event that they choose up two extra factors. That they’ve sufficient video games in hand to fine-tune their XI. That the temper within the camp is optimistic and the gamers are all optimistic.

Kings, then again, are languishing at seventh on the factors desk. They might very properly be eighth by the point they take the sector on Tuesday. With solely 4 wins from 9 video games, their high-risk method hasn’t fetched them excessive rewards. Maybe that is the rationale they appear to be shifting in direction of a extra balanced mode of operation.

However have they found out their greatest XI? In that case, is it robust sufficient to take them into the playoffs, which for the time being appears like an uphill job? In contrast to Titans, they do not have a lot time left to search out out the solutions.

Within the information

After hurting his hamstring towards Rajasthan Royals, Hardik Pandya did not bowl within the subsequent three video games. When requested in regards to the motive at a press convention, he gave a cryptic reply: “I have not been bowling as a result of I haven’t got to. At any time when it comes, it comes.”

Yash Dayal missed Titans’ final recreation with a niggle. In his absence, Pradeep Sangwan, taking part in his first IPL match in 4 years, picked up 2 for 19, but when Dayal is match, Sangwan might have to take a seat out once more.

Probably XIs

Gujarat Titans: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Sai Sudharsan, 4 Hardik Pandya (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 Rahul Tewatia, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Alzarri Joseph, 9 Lockie Ferguson, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Yash Dayal/Pradeep Sangwan.

Punjab Kings: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Mayank Agarwal (capt), 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Rishi Dhawan, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Sandeep Sharma.

Technique punt

  • Rashid would not normally bowl within the powerplay however Titans might use him towards Shikhar Dhawan. Rashid has dismissed the opener four times in 44 balls whereas conceding solely 41 runs. Mayank Agarwal, Kings’ different opener, has scored solely 23 runs off as many balls towards Rashid with one dismissal.
  • Miller has performed a key function for Titans within the center order, scoring 276 runs at a mean of 69 and a strike charge of 150.81. However Kagiso Rabada can hold him quiet. In 30 balls he has bowled to Miller, Rabada has conceded only 32 runs whereas dismissing him as soon as.
  • A barely left-field alternative, however with Jonny Bairstow struggling – he has scored solely 79 runs off 70 balls in six innings – Kings might exchange him with Odean Smith. Other than providing Agarwal an additional bowling choice, Smith might play the function Rashid is taking part in with the bat for Titans.

Stats that matter

  • Rabada has dismissed Gill twice in 32 balls whereas giving freely solely 20 runs.
  • Dhawan has taken Mohammed Shami for 108 runs off 69 balls with out getting out.
  • Liam Livingstone has scored 86 runs off 52 balls towards Rashid however has additionally been out 4 occasions.
  • Miller and Tewatia have added 236 runs in six innings this season at a mean of 59 and a run charge of 10.48. The place each companions are non-openers, their tally is second solely to Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma’s 276 in seven innings.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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