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ENG v PAK (W) (1)
37th Match (N), Mullanpur, April 21, 2024, Indian Premier League
(19.1/20 ov, T:143) 146/7

GT won by 3 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)

Player Of The Match
Cricinfo's MVP
82.28 ptsImpact List

Clash of misfiring top orders as Titans and Kings seek crucial points

The two sides have the slowest scoring top three in the competition, and find themselves near the bottom of the table

Alagappan Muthu
Alagappan Muthu
Shubman Gill wears a dejected look, Gujarat Titans vs Delhi Capitals, IPL 2024, Ahmedabad, April 17, 2024

Shubman Gill is the only Titans player to manage a half-century so far in the tournament  •  AFP/Getty Images

Match details

Punjab Kings (P7 W2 L5; 9th) vs Gujarat Titans (P7 W3 L4; 8th)
Mullanpur, 7.30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big picture - Top-order troubles

In an IPL season where batting has reached new heights, both Punjab Kings and Gujarat Titans are circling the drain, their top-order performances in particular letting the team down on various occasions.
Even after seven matches, Shubman Gill is the only half-centurion in his team. Sam Curran, though he was addressing the incredible rise of Ashutosh Sharma, couldn't help but voice his disappointment at the lack of support.
Big scores, of course, aren't always necessary in T20 cricket. Rapid 20s and 30s are often enough to put up a team on top. But Kings (SR 128.80) and Titans (130.54) aren't even managing that. In fact, they have the slowest scoring top three in the competition.
Rashid Khan, Shashank Singh and Ashutosh have each bailed their sides out of trouble coming in down the order a fair few times but sooner or later, the others are going to have to start pulling their weight.

Form guide

PBKS LLLWL (Most recent match first)

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Punjab Kings
Last Sunday, Kings said Shikhar Dhawan would need a week's time to recover from a shoulder injury. So this game might be coming a touch too early for him. They also dropped his opening partner Jonny Bairstow after a poor run in the previous game. Will they stick to that or bring him back considering top-order muscle is where they're most lacking?
Probable XII: 1 Sam Curran (capt), 2 Prabhsimran Singh, 3 Rilee Rossouw, 4 Liam Livingstone, 5 Shashank Singh, 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Ashutosh Sharma, 8 Harpreet Brar, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Arshdeep Singh, 12 Harpreet Singh
Gujarat Titans
Titans are likely to continue using R Sai Kishore or Shahrukh Khan as their Impact Sub depending on the need of the hour. They may also consider bringing in Azmatullah Omarzai or Josh Little for Noor Ahmad given the lack of help for spin in Mullanpur.
Probable XII: 1 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 2 Shubman Gill (capt), 3 Sai Sudharsan, 4 David Miller, 5 Abhinav Manohar, 6 Rahul Tewatia, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Mohit Sharma, 9 Azmatullah Omarzai/Josh Little, 10 Spencer Johnson, 11 Sandeep Warrier, 12 R Sai Kishore/Shahrukh Khan

In the spotlight - Jitesh Sharma and David Miller

When the IPL began, Jitesh Sharma might have considered himself as India's first-choice wicketkeeper. Now, after seven innings in which he has been unable to cross 30, and showing worrying signs of regression against pace bowling (average of 11.8 and strike rate of 109.2 in 2024 as opposed to 33.7 and 182.4 in his breakout year in 2022), he might have dropped down the pecking order. Can he pick himself up and dust himself off in time for the squad announcement for the T20 World Cup in May?
Titans looked half the side in the games that David Miller missed out this season due to injury. A lot of their success has been down to the South African's consistency, which he was able to provide without sacrificing on his strike rate. Now that he's fit again, the team will be looking to him to take control of their middle order.

Pitch and conditions - Pace vs spin

The average first-innings score in Mullanpur this IPL is 187. The conditions, as much as they have lent themselves to the batters, have also allowed fast bowlers to prosper. They have picked up 47 wickets - roughly five times as many as the spinners (9) have managed in four games so far.

Stats that matter - The Ashutosh and Shashank show

  • Rashid Khan has dismissed Liam Livingstone three times in four innings in the IPL, while giving away 26 runs in 19 balls. But expand that to all T20s and Livingstone holds his own with a strike rate of 172. Among batters who have faced at least 50 balls of Rashid, no one hits him longer or harder.
  • Ashutosh and Shashank have contributed 343 runs at a strike rate of 190 and average of 57. The rest of Punjab have contributed 820 runs at a strike rate of 127 and an average of 20.
  • Titans have slowed down in every phase of play this season when compared to the last one - powerplay (7.42 vs 8.54), middle overs (7.47 vs 8.54) and death (10.21 vs 11.86).
  • An IPL team's premier strike bowler typically tends to operate in the death and that's how Kagiso Rabada had been used previously. He did nearly 30% of his work during overs 17 to 20. This season, however, it's gone down to 10%, potentially because Punjab rely on Arshdeep Singh in that stage of the innings.
  • Rabada has benefited from this switch. He's still contributing wickets. He's got 10 this year which puts him joint-fifth, and his economy rate is 8.32 - only in 2019 and 2021 has he been more miserly.


"We would like him back as soon as we can. He is an experienced head at the top of the order, so we're hoping that he is available for selection soon. He has started to progress well. We have seen some good signs over the last couple of days. We will decide on Sunday morning."
Punjab Kings assistant coach Brad Haddin on Shikhar Dhawan's availability

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Over 20 • GT 146/7

GT won by 3 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
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