Punjab’s Performance in Indian T20 League
Expected Playing XI
Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Shahrukh Khan, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Harpreet Brar, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh
Players to watch out for
Liam Livingstone – The Englishman was one of the more successful Punjab batters in the last year’s Indian T20 League and his six-hitting abilities make him a very dangerous batter to bowl to. His consistency last year was extremely impressive and much more would be expected of him this year.
Shikhar Dhawan – The southpaw had a good season at the top of the order last year but with his India career almost over, it’s expected that he will play more freely and his role in development of certain youngsters will be quite important since he’s not only a senior batter in the team but also as a leader.
Kagiso Rabada – The South African pacer has been outstanding in the Indian T20 League and with two left-armers in Arshdeep and Curran to support him, it would make batters even more uncomfortable to face his pacey yorkers.
Punjab Team Schedule for Indian T20 league 2023
Squad Analysis of Punjab
The team had a fabulous auction in 2022 and seemed to tick all the boxes before the tournament began. The tournament didn’t go their way but they were not the worst team either with just one win less than Bangalore who managed to make it to the playoffs. The management possibly realised the same and decided to resist the temptation of making wholesale changes to the squad. They instead decided to remove an under-performing captain from the equation and brought in two all-rounders who had a fabulous T20 World Cup last year – Sam Curran and Sikander Raza. It remains to be seen though who comes in as a replacement for Jonny Bairstow who was supposed to be one of the marquee players for the team, especially at the top of the order.
Strengths – The team looked like a strong batting unit on paper last year as well and will have teeth added to their batting with the addition of Sam Curran, who will try to combine with Liam Livingstone for late order fireworks. The stability that Dhawan provides at the top of the order will be quite important for the team and in the absence of Bairstow, the management would expect someone like Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who had a great 2022, to take up the aggressor’s role.
Weaknesses – The spin department of Punjab looks unimpressive, especially since Rahul Chahar failed to replicate his Mumbai form for Punjab last year and Harpreet Brar also didn’t impress much. Although the team has added Sikander Raza but with all-rounder Sam Curran already in the equation, it’s difficult to see him getting a lot of matches, unless he is used as an impact player in the team. The team would also be a little worried about the form of Sam Curran who looked completely off-color in the South African T20 League earlier this year. Besides, there are also question marks on Dhawan’s leadership abilities.
Punjab Team in Indian T20 League 2023
Punjab’s story in the Indian T20 League has somewhat mirrored the story of their other neighbors from the North – Delhi. The team began the league in 2008 as one of the strongest units and even enjoyed a smooth run to the semi-finals before failing to progress to the finals. It took them another six years to put up a performance similar to the one they had in the inaugural edition of the tournament. In 2014, after years and years of disappointing performances, they made it to the finals, only to be upstaged by Kolkata in a high scoring chase. That, almost a decade ago, however was their last hurrah. Since then they have gone 9 seasons without making it to the top four, which only goes on to show how consistently disappointing the franchise has been to its fans despite trying out multiple captains over the years.
In 2022, Punjab began with retaining pacer Arshdeep Singh and opening batter Mayank Agarwal and went on to build a very strong side in the mega auctions by picking English power-hitters like Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone along with South African pacer Kagiso Rabada. They even got Shikhar Dhawan who had six back to back seasons where he had managed to score more than 450 runs. Even then, very little changed for the team under the captaincy of Mayank Agarwal as they finished 6th out of the 10 teams. They have been sixth for four consecutive seasons, although the three years before 2022, they finished 6th out of the 8 teams. Post the 2022 disappointment, the management got rid of Agarwal as well as head coach Anil Kumble and announced Shikhar Dhawan as the skipper and brought Trevor Bayliss on board. In the auctions, they broke the bank for Sam Curran, making him the most expensive player bought in an Indian T20 League auction ever. Beyond that, they didn’t do much in the auctions, baffling many since they entered the auctions with the second biggest purse, a big part of which remained unused.
They were struck a massive blow a few weeks before the league when it was announced that Jonny Bairstow would be unavailable for the 2023 edition owing to an injury.
Punjab’s stats in Indian T20 League
- Punjab skipper Shikhar Dhawan sits on the second place in the list of highest run scorers across the history of the Indian T20 League. He has scored 6244 runs from 206 matches.
- KG Rabada has the best strike-rate among bowlers with more than 50 wickets in the league. The South African has taken 99 wickets at a strike rate of 14.4 from 63 matches.
- Rabada also sits on the verge of a record as he is set to become the bowler who will upstage Lasith Malinga as the fastest to 100 wickets in the IPL. Malinga completed the feat in 71 matches and Rabada has 99 wickets.
- Liam Livingstone was one of the top performers for Punjab in Indian T20 League 2022 and he was the second on the list of most sixes hit in the season with 34 sixes.