IPL 2023 – 2 Big Problems PBKS Must Solve To Qualify For Playoffs: The Punjab Kings have started their IPL 2023 campaign on a bright note with a tight 7-run victory (DLS) in a rain-marred encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders in Mohali.
Arshdeep Singh starred in the match with a 3-wicket haul and was named the Player of the Match for his figures of 3/19, after Bhanuka Rajapaksa had smashed a terrific half-century taking Punjab Kings score to 191.
Punjab Kings have not qualified for the playoffs since 2014, when they reached the final and lost it. They have often revamped their squad after the IPL, gone into the auction with a heavy purse, and made some goof-ups there which resulted in disappointing performances in the tournament year after year.
This time, in the IPL 2023 auction, they splurged INR 18.5 crore over Sam Curran, making the England all-rounder the most expensive player in IPL history. They had released their captain of last season, Mayank Agarwal, and named Shikhar Dhawan as their new skipper for IPL 2023.
These overseas players when blend with the Indian core, PBKS can really make it into the semis.
For that, though, Punjab Kings need to correct two things that plagued them last season:
PBKS batters need to find balance between offensive and defensive batting
Last season, the Punjab Kings batters had the go-big or go-home approach. That reflected in their batting throughout the season -whether it was being able to chase down 206 vs RCB and in the next match get bowled out for 137 vs KKR; in piling up scores of 189 and 198 and then getting bundled for 151 and 115 in the next two matches.
Such patterns continued throughout the tournament, and eventually, Punjab finished with 14 points, just 2 points, that is 1 victory, shy of the qualifying for the playoffs.
This implies that while the gung-ho batting approach works in some cases, in other cases, the PBKS batters need to be smarter in their approach and mindset.
PBKS need more potency while bowling in the powerplay
This was one of the key reasons for PBKS’ disappointments last season – Punjab Kings’ bowling in the powerplay was amongst the worst in the tournament.
In the powerplay in IPL 2022, PBKS bowlers conceded at a high economy rate of 9.11 – which was the worst economy in the first 6 overs among all 10 teams. This is a shock, despite having Rabada, Arshdeep, and Rishi Dhawan.
On the contrary, they had the best death bowling economy rate of 9.97 – the best in the tournament courtest of the outstanding bowling displays from Rabada and Arshdeep.
It is a well-renowned fact that the earlier a wicket is taken, the better for the bowling team. And no better time to take the wickets of the top-order than with the new ball.
So, PBKS needs their bowlers to do better in the powerplay and they will be on the right track for the playoffs.