Punjab Kings vs Gujarat Titans: Preview and Prediction
Punjab Kings will host Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat Titans at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday. The fixture will be the 18th match of this bombarding season of IPL.
Both sides started their campaign in the Indian Premier League quite well. However, coincidentally the two sides suffered their first respective losses in their recent fixtures. Hence, both sides will try their best to return to the winning path.
What they have done so far?
Punjab Kings started their campaign with a win over Nitesh Rana’s Kolkata Knight Riders. The result of the match was concluded with the DLS method, however, one can’t deny the heroics of Punjab’s line-up. Firstly, Bhanuka Rajapaksa scored a half-century to help his side reach a good score. Then, Arshdeep Singh took three crucial wickets.
Later, Shikhar Dhawan’s side locked horns against Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan Royals. Winning the toss, Royals decided to bowl first. Punjab’s opening pair of Prabhsimran Singh and Shikhar Dhawan gave their side a brilliant start. Kings got a great start to their innings, however, the middle order failed to capitalize on the opportunity.
Punjab posted a 198-run target for the Royals, which turned out to be a difficult task for the inaugural champions. Surprisingly, Ravichandran Ashwin opened the innings for Samson’s side but following a series of consecutive wickets, Rajasthan eventually came up 5-run short.
In their third match, they faced Sunrisers Hyderabad. Hence, Prabhsimran Singh lost his wicket for a duck. Following the first wicket, King’s middle order of Matt Short, Jitesh Sharma, Sam Curran, and Sikandar Raza also went to the pavilion for cheap bucks.
An individual effort from skipper Shikhar Dhawan kept the Kings alive in the game. The opening batsman played a 99-run inning in just 66 balls. He also smashed 5 sixes and 13 fours, consequently, with his priceless innings, Punjab posted a respectable target of 143.
However, the total was not enough to stop the Sunrisers from chasing it. Rahul Tripathi and Aiden Markram’s innings helped Hyderabad chase down the total with 17 balls remaining.
Gujarat Titans played their first match against Chennai Super Kings. Without facing any such troubles, Shubman Gill’s 68-run innings helped Hardik Pandya’s side record their first win in the new season.
In the second match, they were up against Delhi Capitals. Winning the toss, GT decided to bowl first at the Arun Jaitley stadium. It’s fair to say that they made the right decision. The Capitals failed to give the Titans a decent target as no batsman other than David Warner and Axar Patel played a respectable inning.
Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan took three wickets each and annihilated Capital’s batting line-up. When they came to bat, Sai Sudharsan, Vijay Shankar, and David Miller’s innings decided the fate of the match and made sure the Titans go home with two more points.
Their most recent fixture was against Kolkata Knight Riders. Everything was going fine for the Titans. With the help of innings for Vijay Shankar and Sai Sudharsan, Gujarat gave Knight Riders a strong target of 205.
Kolkata lost their two initial wickets early in the chase. However, Venkatesh Iyer and Nitesh Rana scored 83 and 45 runs respectively to build the chase for the Riders. Later to put Titans in the driver’s seat, Rashid Khan took a hat-trick as his victims were Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Shardul Thakur.
In the last over, the Riders were 29 runs behind the target. Surprisingly, Rinku Singh scored five consecutive sixes and ended the match in favor of the Kolkata Knight Riders in a never seen fashion.
Head to Head Record
Gujarat Titans and Kolkata Knight Riders have faced each other a couple of times, and that happened last year. In their first match, Subhman Gill’s 96-run innings helped Gujarat take down the Punjab Kings’ challenge.
On the second occasion, Kagiso Rabada picked up four wickets and destroyed Gujarat’s batting line-up. Titans eventually managed to give only a target of 144 runs. Hence, the target was easily chased by Kings.
Shikhar Dhawan (Punjab Kings): Punjab Kings’ captain, Shikhar Dhawan has been carrying the side on his shoulders for the last two matches. He has scored two consecutive 80+ scores in his last couple of innings.
Interestingly, he has been doing the role of the opening batsman as well as the finisher. Hence, being the captain, Dhawan’s shoulders are filled with responsibilities.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s injury was also a huge blow for the side as he showed good signs in the first match. Other than him, all the batsmen from Punjab Kings’ line-up have suffered until now. Therefore, Dhawan again has a huge role to play against Gujarat Titans.
Sai Sudharsan (Gujarat Titans): Sai Sudharsan has been the underdog for Hardik Pandya’s side. The young uncapped Indian players perform an important role in the IPL and with two consecutive half-centuries, the southpaw has cemented his place in the side.
He found himself in the playing XI following Kane Williamson’s departure. Consequently, he has been doing a great job by filling the boots of expectations Titans had from the Kiwi skipper Williamson.
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan ©, Prabhsimran Singh, Matthew Short, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sam Curran, Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Nathan Ellis, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh
Gujarat Titans: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Subhuman Gill, Sai Sudharsan, Hardik Pandya ©, David Miller, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, Joshua Little
Gujarat Titans are comparatively in a better form than Punjab Kings. Except for Shikhar Dhawan, the batting line-up of Punjab has been dismal and Hardik Pandya’s side could outclass Punjab Kings owing to the balance in their side.