For how long do you trust a high-risk process if it doesn’t produce high rewards? Punjab Kings face that question as IPL 2022 moves into the second half.
In the last couple of games, they made tweaks to their XI and approach to find the optimum point where they can operate. Against Delhi Capitals, they picked five frontline bowlers but were bundled out for 115. In their next game, against Chennai Super Kings, despite going back to an allrounder at No. 7, their batters didn’t unleash an all-out attack. They teed off but not recklessly, and posted a match-winning 187 for 4. Kings’ batting consultant Julian Wood has also talked about being “aggressively smart”. So is this the approach we will see from them in the upcoming matches?
On Friday, Kings will be up against Lucknow Super Giants, who are currently fourth with ten points from eight games. A side brimming with allrounders, Super Giants are showing there are many ways to ace this format. With the likes of Jason Holder, Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda in the XI, they have depth in batting as well as bowling.
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There has been no update on the availability of Avesh Khan, who missed Super Giants’ last game with what captain Rahul described as a “small niggle”. If fit, Avesh should replace Mohsin Khan in the XI.
Lucknow Super Giants 1 KL Rahul (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Marcus Stoinis, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Ayush Badoni, 8 Jason Holder, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Avesh Khan/Mohsin Khan
Punjab Kings 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Mayank Agarwal (capt), 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 4 Liam Livingstone, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Rishi Dhawan, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Sandeep Sharma
In the middle overs, Super Giants can keep Shikhar quiet by pairing him against Pandya. Even though Pandya turns the ball in to Dhawan, the batter has managed only 29 runs off 26 balls against him. On the other hand, Shikhar has taken Ravi Bishnoi, a legspinner who mostly bowls sliders and googlies, for 36 runs off 19 balls. Neither spinner, though, has dismissed him so far in T20 cricket.
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Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo