Rajasthan Royals are set to host Punjab Kings in their first match at their ‘second’ home i.e. Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati on Wednesday.
Both teams are coming on the back of wins and on the back of some solid performances in their opening games of TATA IPL 2023.
The highly anticipated encounter will redefine the rivalry between the two teams from the North in the North-Eastern State. Both teams are being led by dynamic captains and the battle between a young RR skipper, Sanju Samson, against a seasoned campaigner like Shikar Dhawan – the captain of Punjab – makes the game more interesting.
Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan believes the ‘Gabbar of Indian Cricket’ Shikhar Dhawan – who is mentally very strong – will be looking to prove his mettle as a batter, as well as the captain.
Speaking to Star Sports, the official TV broadcaster of TATA IPL, Irfan Pathan, “Shikhar Dhawan is a senior player in TATA IPL and has been very consistent with the bat too. He’s a very powerful player who possesses a very strong mind. He has to prove himself as a captain this year and for that his batting is essential. Being in and out of the Indian team must have bothered him and that’s why he would like to prove that he is still the real Gabbar of Indian cricket.”
Senior Australia cricketer Steve Smith spoke highly of Rajashthan Royals’ captain Sanju Samson for he has witnessed his journey in TATA IPL up close.
Speaking to Star Sports, the official TV broadcaster of TATA IPL, Steve Smith said, “Sanju Samson is a young player, but he’s not a youngster in terms of the experience he’s had. He’s leading the side from the front. He led the Royals really well last year and the team made it to the final. He’ll take the confidence from the campaign last season. He’s powerful and takes the game head-on. If he keeps doing that, I think, RR will keep doing well in this season as well.”
Meanwhile, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar heaped praise upon young Gujarat Titans batter Sai Sudharshan for his match-winning half-century against a quality Delhi Capitals bowling attack. The legendary India opener went on to say that the talented left-handed batter has all the ingredients of a future India player.
Speaking to Star Sports, the official broadcaster of TATA IPL, Sunil Gavaskar said, “He looked very composed all through his innings. He was watchful at the start and gave Anrich Nortje the respect and when his eyes were set, he played his shots against Nortje. He played smart cricket. With this performance, he’s shown that he is ready for bigger challenges. But he should tell himself that he needs to replicate such performances more often. He still needs to take those steps to reach to that top level but he’s got all the makings of being a great player. His temperament is good. He’s also an outstanding fielder, which is a big plus.”