PBKS and GT eye win with misfiring batting units

PBKS will host GT in Mullanpur. (Source: X)

When Punjab Kings and Gujarat Titans last met, Shubman Gill registered his personal best of the season. The visiting team found new heroes in Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, who led them to victory in that game in Ahmedabad. These two teams, in the bottom half of the table, go up against each other again in Mullanpur in Punjab.

The last time GT took the field, they were bowled out for 89 against Delhi Capitals on their home ground. That was their worst batting display ever since they came to existence in 2022. They would look to forget that night and move forward, as a tougher challenge awaits them.

The PBKS bowling unit has a lot of variety in Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Harshal Patel and Sam Curran. This is a well-rounded pace attack. In the last game, Harshal’s dipping yorkers were on point, as were Curran’s change-ups. If facing DC was tough, GT could well be up for another challenge on a pitch that has offered something to the seamers up front. With longer boundaries, spinners are also in the game.

GT have struggled with batting this season. Apart from Gill and Sai Sudharsan, nobody has consistently contributed with the bat. Rahul Tewatia is the only other batter with an aggregate of 100-plus runs. They have tried out various line-ups by bringing in Kane Williamson, Matthew Wade, Abhinav Manohar and Shahrukh Khan. None of these moves have yielded positive results.

PBKS have also faced batting woes, particularly in the top order. With captain Shikhar Dhawan sidelined due to a shoulder injury and Jonny Bairstow out of form, they sought a fresh opening pair. But the decision to try out Atharva Taide backfired. Rilee Rossouw, replacing Bairstow, failed to make an impact in his first match. Liam Livingstone against Mumbai Indians was also disappointing.

In such circumstances, the responsibility fell on Shashank and Ashutosh to stabilise the innings, and they delivered. Both have been exceptional in the lower-middle order, which highlighted the team’s struggles at the top and middle-order.

PBKS have been losing games in the final five overs. As Curran said after the last game, they must find ways to close out games. With half of the tournament completed and the playoff race on, they will be keen to outclass a struggling GT side. This match promises an exciting contest between two teams vying for a win. Given the struggle of the main batters of both sides, a low-scoring thriller starring the lower-order cannot be ruled out.