The Race to Playoffs in TATA IPL 2023 continues to get interesting as teams are making every possible effort to keep themselves in the hunt. With an aim to keep their outside chances of making it to the playoffs in the Toughest T20, Punjab Kings host Rajasthan Royals at their second home ground in Dharamsala.
The Shikhar Dhawan-led PBKS lost to Delhi Capitals in the previous game at the same venue while RR are also coming on the back of a morale-sapping 112-run defeat against RCB at their home.
Playing their last league game of the competition, both Punjab and Rajasthan will be aiming to bounce back and finish their campaign on a positive note even if it is their last match of the season.
Young and dynamic India batter Yashasvi Jaiswal will be once again the cynosure of all eyes as he arrives at the batting-friendly track in Himachal Pradesh. The left-handed opener – who is third in the Orange Cap leaderboard – will look to breach the 600-run mark in the season.
Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag lauded the young Mumbaikar for taking a leaf out of legendary Virat Kohli’s book as he looks to convert the fifties into hundreds.
Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Live, Sehwag said, “Yashasvi Jaiswal is a future star. He’s learnt the art of converting 50s into 100s from Virat Kohli. Several batters throw their wickets after scoring 13-ball 50 but Yashasvi looks to build on. He’s got that temperament to play big knocks.”
Another young talent in the match will be Punjab Kings’ all-rounder Sam Curran – who also happens to be the most expensive player of IPL 2023. The England all-rounder has been at the receiving end of the fans for not being to live up to the price tag but former India cricketer Mohammed Kaif downplayed the ‘price tag criticism’ and said Punjab Kings find themselves in such a position in the points table is due to their poor strategy.
Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Live, Kaif said, “Judging a player’s performance on his price tag isn’t correct. Sam Curran emerged as the costliest buy because of his performances in international cricket. But the problem with Punjab is that they are keeping a tested and proven bowler like Kagiso Rabada was made to sit in the dugout for the most part of the tournament.”
Rajasthan Royals’ star spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, meanwhile, will be aiming to put himself at the top of the Purple Cap leaderboard in this game. Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh has hailed the senior India wrist-spinner as a master of slow bowling.
Speaking on Star Sports Studio, Harbhajan said, “Chahal’s speciality is that he bowls like an original spinner. He has a different art. He is the master of variation. He’s different from the rest of the spinners because he makes good use of the crease and is also a master of slow bowling. It becomes more difficult to play him in the last five overs because he bowls very wide. Chahal is a brave bowler, a champion bowler.”
Earlier on Thursday, RCB kept their playoffs hopes alive with an emphatic eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. It was the first instance in the history of TATA IPL when a century was scored from either side.
Heinrich Klaasen’s solo effort with the bat and his maiden IPL ton took Sunrisers Hyderabad to a competitive 187/2 on a tough Hyderabad surface. But a masterclass from chase master Virat Kohli – who equalled Chris Gayle for most centuries in TATA IPL history – guided RCB home.
Commending the modern-day master for playing one of his best knocks, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar termed Kohli’s innings against SRH as unforgettable, considering the magnitude of this game.
Speaking on Star Sports’ Studio Manjrekar said, “Virat Kohli had slammed 5 centuries in IPL before this knock, but this innings will be unforgettable. He made a tough pitch look ridiculously easy and you need a player of a different calibre to play a knock like that.”