Match Preview – Punjab Kings vs RCB, Indian Premier League 2022, 3rd Match

Agarwal’s men have plenty of power-hitting talent, but will have to do without Bairstow for their season opener

big picture

Many IPL teams spend a lot of time going to auction to buy back the players they should have let go. And it makes for fun to watch because their rivals are always pushing the price. However, Punjab Kings did things a little differently.

They kept two, bought back five and said #okbai to 17. Then, with money to burn, they built a brand new team and it bursts with power-hitting talent. Their former captain admitted openly that he couldn’t play the way he wanted because he was concerned about what would happen if he fell cheaply. Mayank Agarwal will have no such concerns.

Royal Challengers Bangalore will be the first team to take on the challenge to feature a lineup with Shikhar Dhawan at the top, Liam Livingstone in the middle and Odean Smith at the end.

In the news

Faf du Plessis is the man charged with leading the Royal Challengers transition and he can breathe a little easier, if only for now, as Jonny Bairstow and Kagiso Rabada will not be with the opposition on Sunday due to national commitments.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t other problems. Glenn Maxwell – one of RCB’s best players in 2021 – will not be available for the first two matches and Josh Hazlewood, who won the title with Chennai Super Kings just a few months ago, will arrive late after a successful tour of Pakistan.

probable XIs

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Faf du Plessis (capt), 2 Anuj Rawat, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Shelfane Rutherford, 5 Mahipal Lomror, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Shahbaz Ahmed/Karn Sharma, 10 Mohammed Siraj , 11 David Willey

Punjab Kings: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Mayank Agarwal (capt), 3 Liam Livingstone, 4 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 5 Shahrukh Khan, 6 Prabhsimran Singh (wk), 7 Odean Smith, 8 Nathan Ellis/Harpreet Brar, 9 Sandeep Sharma, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Rahul Chahar

Strategy point

  • David Willey is a power play expert. His record – 81 wickets in 139 innings – suggests he almost guarantees you an early wicket. And with Hazlewood out, he could be the perfect new ball bowler for RCB. Plus, since the DY Patil stadium actually aids bowling, there’s even a chance the English left arm will do something that’s been impossible lately: swing the white cricket ball.

  • Many teams may resort to slowing down the pace to keep the Royal Challengers lineup in check. Of the 20 players who scored more than 100 runs against spin last season, Kohli had the lowest hitting percentage (100 out of 10 innings) and du Plessis the third lowest (108.08 in 12 innings). Dinesh Karthik’s 20 average against spin was the fourth lowest for a batter in IPL 2021 (minus 10 innings). Punjab will be happy to exploit this weakness, especially since they don’t have to worry about Maxwell throwing a spanner in the works.

Statistics that matter

  • The DY Patil stadium has hosted 17 IPL matches so far (none in the past two years though). Ten of those were won by the chasing team and you’ll know why when you see the first innings average score: 147.
  • Agarwal will captain a senior level cricket team for the fourth time in his career. And while such lack of experience can be a challenge to overcome, it should help that the 31-year-old now knows his game inside out. Agarwal has especially gotten good at the pace of his innings and is an absolute threat in the middle overs (7-16) with a strike rate of 158.68. Of those with at least 50 runs in this period since IPL 2019, only four others are doing better.
  • du Plessis likes to play against Punjab. His average – 61 – and number 50 – 7 – are both much higher (42 vs KKR and 3 vs RCB) than his records against any other IPL team.
  • Sandeep Sharma has rejected Kohli seven times an IPL record.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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