Written by: Ritam Chatterjee
Shikhar Dhawan has a job to do in the remainder IPL 2023.
With an injury-hit squad like no other, Punjab Kings had only managed to win two matches on the trot only once this season. Yet, Shikhar Dhawan and his boys are not eliminated from the IPL 2023 Playoffs race, albeit there are too many permutations and combinations in place to progress.
Punjab Kings’ ardent fans had little hope for their squad after the completion of the mini-auction, which took place on December 23 in Kochi. They had to cover a few bases, especially after releasing their former skipper Mayank Agarwal among many others. However, letting out numerous players helped them to go there with the second-biggest purse of INR 32.2 crore. However, all they brought were disappointment, leaving the table without utilizing INR 12.2 crore. Yet, the only move which brought joy to their supporters was bringing back Sam Curran for a record-breaking sum of INR 18.5 crore. With hindsight, Sikandar Raza being the only hardly popular addition made the squad look mediocre yet again.
To make matters worse, Punjab were dealt a massive blow ahead of the competition with Jonny Bairstow ruled out of the entire season due to a left leg injury. Liam Livingstone, who made headlines last season by tallying 437 runs at an explosive strike rate of 182.08, was not available during the first half of IPL 2023 either because of injury recovery, making their task even tougher. On top of that, Kagiso Rabada blowing hot and cold before eventually getting dropped, and Arshdeep Singh’s unfamiliar death over bowling have played pivotal roles in their six defeats over 12 matches thus far.
Despite all things going south, Punjab, in some way, have kept the hopes of qualifying in the playoffs alive. Let’s have a look at how they can break the jinx to advance to the next round, where they last played back in 2014.
Two wins out of the remaining two matches will take Punjab to 16 points, which means they don’t have any business with Gujarat Titans, who are already with 18 points. Now one of their fixtures will be against Rajasthan Royals, and a loss for Sanju Samson and his boys will guarantee their elimination, leaving Punjab to fight with Lucknow Super Giants, and Royal Challengers Bangalore for a place in the final four. If both RCB and LSG at least lose one of their remaining fixtures, the results will keep them with 14 and 15 points respectively to make way for the Punjab-based franchise to qualify automatically.
There is no chance for Punjab Kings to make playoffs if they lose both their remaining fixtures, against Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals. There is absolutely no way for any team to progress by bagging only 12 points this season.
First things first, Punjab can’t afford to lose against Rajasthan Royals to keep them in the race. So here, considering a loss against Delhi Capitals, a tally of 14 points means there are as many as four teams – Royal Challengers Bangalore, Lucknow Super Giants, Mumbai Indians, and Kolkata Knight Riders – against whom they have to fight for a solitary place.
The Shikhar Dhawan-led side first need LSG and RCB to lose both their matches, which means a victory for MI over LSG will take them through alongside Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings, who have already got more than 14 points. LSG and RCB, on the other hand, will remain with 13 and 12 points, and this will bring Kolkata Knight Riders into the mix, as they are scheduled to play LSG. At this stage, KKR have a slightly better net run rate than Punjab, thus, the margin of victories for both sides’ last league fixture will decide the feat. So, it is important for Punjab not just to beat the Royals, but the manner in which they get the result holds the key.
Growing useful from books. Currently working as a sub-editor at SportsCafe. Formerly at Cricketnews.com, Times Now Sports Desk, and the Statesman, Kolkata.
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IPL 2023 | How Punjab Kings can qualify for Indian Premier League … – SportsCafe
Written by: Ritam Chatterjee