PBKS set for crucial clash against LSG


Let down by below-par batting in their recent twin defeats, Punjab Kings will want their batters to improve their dot-ball count when they take on a rampaging Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL here on Saturday.
After a flying start to the new season with two wins, Punjab endured two back-to-back losses following their failure to post good totals on the board.
If skipper Shikhar Dhawan was left to carry the team on his shoulders against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the day he failed the other batters could only manage 153 for 8 against Gujarat Titans, mainly because of Shahrukh Khan’s nine-ball 22.
The main reason behind PBKS’s underwhelming total was their failure to push the scoring in the middle overs between 10 and 15. They ended up playing 56 dot balls, an area where the team will have to get better.
“We did not put many runs on the board. We have to rectify that thing going forward. If you see the number of dot balls, if a team plays 56 balls, you end up losing the game,” Dhawan had said after the loss.
With scores of 40, 86 not out and 99 not out in his first three innings, Dhawan remains undoubtedly Punjab’s most impactful player but it is the inconsistency of the other batters that is a reason for worry.
Young opening partner Prabhsimran Singh exploded in the opening match but has failed since, whereas the other batters — Matthew Short and Jitesh Sharma, have not been able to consolidate on their starts.
While the batters disappointed, the bowling unit, led by young Arshdeep Singh, has looked in fine fettle.
It was Arshdeep and England’s Sam Curran, who took the game to the last ball while defending a modest total on a belter of a wicket before Rahul Tewatia intervened on Thursday.
Among spinners, Harpreet Brar has used his resources well, while Rahul Chahar remains a wily customer but to be fair to the bowlers, they just didn’t have enough runs to play with.
The Super Giants, on the other hand, have won their last two games, and another win on Saturday will take them to the top spot in the IPL standing.