IPL: Punjab Kings batters to face different challenge against GT

IPL: Punjab Kings batters to face different challenge against GT

d: Bruised by Mayank Yadav’s scorching pace, Punjab Kings’ batters will face an altogether different challenge when Gujarat Titans’ bowling unit tries to take the pace off deliveries on a slightly tricky Motera track in their IPL match here on Thursday.

The Kings have lost their last two away games and another slip-up against Titans will lead to further loss of momentum which tends to shift very quickly due to lack of turnaround time. Titans, on the other hand, are brimming with confidence after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad comprehensively by seven wickets in their last game.

In the previous match, Kings were completely undone by Mayank’s speed and most of their top-order batters looked ill-equipped to face the fast bowler, who was regularly clocking 150 clicks and more importantly, aiming to bowl into the body of the batters.

However, the scenario will be completely different when veteran Mohit Sharma comes calling at the back-end, presenting a palate of variations.

Mohit uses knuckle balls, slow bouncers and wide yorkers to good effect and this year’s IPL trend has shown that save Mayank, all speedsters, who have been able to take pace off their deliveries, have been more successful. It will pose a different kind of challenge for the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Jonny Bairstow and Jitesh Sharma, all of whom like the ball to come on to the bat. If Liam Livingstone is unavailable for Thursday’s match after sustaining a hamstring niggle in the last game, it will spell doom for Punjab as they would then happen to lose their key enforcer during the death overs. Punjab will also have to deal with the accuracy of the incomparable Rashid Khan and the guile of Noor Ahmed, former’s left-arm alter-ego. The third Afghan in the line-up, Azmatullah Omarzai’s all-round skills will also be a challenge for the team.

More than Punjab’s batting, it is their bowling, especially at the death, that has been a cause for concern. Harshal Patel, one of their million dollar buys, has had a pathetic season so far going for an economy rate of 11.41 runs per over, having bowled his quota in all three games.

Equally disappointing has been leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, who has conceded runs at an economy rate of 11.37, and hasn’t been able to complete his quota of overs. Arshdeep Singh, India’s designated death overs yorker specialist, has also been profligate to a certain extent and it has once again compounded Kings’ worries.

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