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Struggling Punjab Kings, Gujarat Titans in battle of cellar teams

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 20, 2024 16:23 IST
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Gujarat Titans are placed eighth, while Punjab Kings are a rung lower in the 10-team IPL points table.

Ashutosh Sharma and Shashank Singh

IMAGE: Punjab Kings will need Ashutosh Sharma and Shashank Singh to fire when they take on Gujarat Titans in the IPL match in Mullanpur on Sunday evening. Photograph: BCCI

Their campaigns wobbling after a string of defeats, bottom-rung teams Punjab Kings and Gujarat Titans will be desperate to arrest the slide and get back to winning ways in their Indian Premier League match in Mullanpur on Sunday.

Former champions GT have dropped to eighth position in the pecking order after an embarrassing defeat to Delhi Capitals at home, where they were bowled out for 89 and suffered their third defeat in four matches.


PBKS are struggling in ninth place following a nine-run defeat to Mumbai Indians away on Thursday night, the margin of defeat made respectable by an incredible rearguard act by the in-form young duo of Ashutosh Sharma and Shashank Singh after the team was tottering at 14/4 in a chase of 193.

Five losses and two wins in seven outings hardly inspire confidence and irrespective of the fact that their upcoming opponents are also struggling to get their act right, PBKS will have their task cut out in front of their fans, who had little to cheer about so far this season at the newly-inaugurated home venue.

The absence of their influential skipper Shikhar Dhawan in the last few matches has hit PBKS hard and doubts remain over the southpaw's availability for Sunday's fixture.

Dhawan is undergoing rehabilitation since sustaining a shoulder injury during the home fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 9, resulting in England all-rounder Sam Curran to fill in as the skipper.

While Dhawan hasn't had a great time with the bat in IPL 2024, scoring 152 runs from five innings at a strike rate of 125.61, his presence at the top of the order as well as in the field matters for a side that seems to have forgotten how to win matches.

Having finished eighth in the last edition following eight losses and six victories, the story hasn't changed for PBKS, whose biggest concern has been the failure of their specialist batters.

The likes of Prabhsimran Singh, Liam Livingstone and Rilee Rossouw have failed to live up to the expectations, something that has affected the team badly.

The only silver lining for PBKS this season has been resolute displays from their unsung Indian players Shashank and Ashutosh, who both bat lower in the order and have had to make up for the shortcomings at the top on more than one occasion, including their heroics that gave MI a massive scare the other night.

IMAGE: Gujarat Titans captain Shubman Gill with Umesh Yadav. Photograph: BCCI

PBKS' opponents GT, who have so far registered three wins while suffering four defeats, will need to pull up their socks after the horror show with the bat against Delhi Capitals.

With quality players like skipper Shubman Gill, Sai Sudharsan, David Miller and Rashid Khan in their ranks, complemented by a handy support cast comprising people like Rahul Tewatia, Mohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha and Noor Ahmad, GT would hope the show against DC was a mere blip.

As far as bowling is concerned, the absence of Mohammad Shami has hurt them badly while Umesh Yadav has leaked plenty of runs though he has also taken seven wickets.

Star spinner Rashid has been doing as well as he could in his primary role and is also chipping in with more than handy contributions with the bat.


Gujarat Titans: Shubman Gill (captain), David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan, Shahrukh Khan, Matthew Wade, Kane Williamson, Azmatullah Omarzai, Abhinav Manohar, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Spencer Johnson, Kartik Tyagi, Joshua Little, Darshan Nalkande, Noor Ahmad, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Mohit Sharma, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Sushant Mishra, Sandeep Warrier, Sharath BR, Manav Suthar.

Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (captain), Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Sikandar Raza, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Shivam Singh, Harshal Patel, Chris Woakes, Ashutosh Sharma, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Shashank Singh, Tanay Thyagarajan, Prince Choudhary, Rilee Rossouw.

Match starts: 7.30pm.

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