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27th Match (N), Mullanpur, April 13, 2024, Indian Premier League
(19.5/20 ov, T:148) 152/7

RR won by 3 wickets (with 1 ball remaining)

Player Of The Match
27* (10)
Cricinfo's MVP
81.86 ptsImpact List

Fast bowlers in focus as Royals look to return to winning ways

There is still no clarity on Livingstone's fitness for Punjab Kings or Sandeep Sharma for Rajasthan Royals

Ashish Pant

Match details

Punjab Kings (PBKS) vs Rajasthan Royals (RR)
Mullanpur, 7.30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big Picture - Pace the way to go in Mullanpur?

It is still early days this season, but the surfaces in IPL's newest venue Mullanpur have given all the indications of being a a fast bowler's ally. In the two matches so far, 30 wickets have fallen - 27 picked by the bowlers and three run-outs. Out of these, 23 wickets have been picked up by the quicks. There was significant movement and carry noticeable under the lights when Punjab Kings played Sunrisers Hyderabad at this venue on Tuesday, with run-scoring not as easy initially. That is reflected in the numbers, too.
Among all the venues so far in IPL 2024, Mullanpur has the best average for fast bowlers (19.7) and the lowest run rate (7.7) in the powerplay. Nine wickets have fallen in the first six overs here in two games, joint second with Mumbai. Only Jaipur has seen more wickets fall in the powerplay this season, but four games have already been played there.
Will this concern Rajasthan Royals, who are coming into the game having just been beaten for the first time in IPL 2024 on Wednesday? Nope. On the contrary, they might be the happier side. The Royals' quicks have picked up nine wickets in the powerplay at an average of 24.3, the best among any team in the tournament. Kings are also not too far behind averaging 26.6 runs per wicket in the powerplay and that could make for an interesting battle up top.
The other thing Royals will need to be wary of is not letting history repeat itself. They had a great start to their IPL 2023 losing just one of their first five games and a playoff spot seemed imminent. But, they won just three of their next nine matches and failed to qualify for the knockouts. In IPL 2024, they've again lost one and won four of the first five games, but this time will hope to right their wrongs of last season.

Form guide

Punjab Kings: LWLLW (IPL 2024; most recent matches first)
Rajasthan Royals: LWWWW

Team news and Impact Player Strategy

Punjab Kings
With Liam Livingstone unfit, Kings went with an unchanged line-up in their last game against SRH. Fast bowling coach Charl Langeveldt didn't shed much light on Livingstone's availability stating that they "will make a decision tomorrow". If fit, he could replace Sikandar Raza in the XII.
Kings have been consistent in subbing out Arshdeep Singh for Prabhsimran Singh or Ashutosh Sharma and vice-versa and that is likely to remain unchanged.
Likely XII: 1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Prabhsimran Singh, 4 Sam Curran, 5 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 6 Shashank Singh, 7 Sikandar Raza, 8 Ashutosh Sharma, 9 Harpreet Brar, 10 Harshal Patel, 11 Kagiso Rabada, 12 Arshdeep Singh
Rajasthan Royals
Nandre Burger was out injured in Royals' previous game against Gujarat Titans, while Trent Boult bowled just two overs and was not brought back in the death. While that could just be down to match-ups, Boult's fitness will also be one to watch out for. Royals had brought in Keshav Maharaj as an Impact sub for Yashasvi Jaiswal in the previous match, but that is likely to change considering the surface in Mullanpur has more in it for the fast bowlers.
If Royals bat first, Jaiswal could start and be subbed later for one of the fast bowlers or vice-versa. Kuldeep Sen is likely to keep his place after a good showing in the previous game. If Burger is fit, he is likely to walk back into the XII and be one of the Impact Player options. There is no clarity on Sandeep Sharma's availability as well, though he has been training with the squad.
Likely XII: 1 Jos Buttler, 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 3 Sanju Samson (capt & wk), 4 Riyan Parag, 5 Dhruv Jurel, 6 Shimron Hetmyer, 7 R Ashwin, 8 Trent Boult, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Nandre Burger, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal, 12 Kuldeep Sen

In the spotlight - Shashank Singh and Yuzvendra Chahal

Shashank Singh has twice shown his calibre as a finisher. After his heroics against Gujarat Titans, he almost took Kings to another improbable win in their last game against SRH. While Kings fell narrowly short, he proved his innings against Titans was no flash in the pan. Kings have been going at a run rate of 11.33 so far in the death overs this season and Shashank has been a major contributor. His strike rate of 195.71 is the third-highest for any batter who has faced 35 balls or more in the tournament. Shashank is also yet to be dismissed since his first-ball duck against Delhi Capitals in Kings' first game. Do his numbers warrant a move up the order?
Yuzvendra Chahal is just three shy of becoming the first bowler in the history of IPL to reach 200 wickets. He is the joint-highest wicket-taker (10) this season along with Jasprit Bumrah and has picked up at least a wicket in every game so far. Eight of those have come in the middle phase, more than any other bowler in IPL 2024. His economy rate of 7.50 during the middle overs also stands out. Chahal has been unafraid to take risks and has often been Samson's go-to bowler once the powerplay is done.

Stats that matter

  • Jonny Bairstow averages 17.33 against Chahal in T20s and has fallen to him three times in seven innings.
  • R Ashwin has removed Dhawan four times in 14 T20 innings. Dhawan strikes at only 84.4 against the spinner.
  • Arshdeep has dismissed Yashasvi Jaiswal twice in 15 balls in T20s. Jaiswal averages just 7.50 against him and strikes at 100.
  • Shimron Hetmyer has crashed Sam Curran for 45 runs in 18 balls in T20 cricket, striking at 250.00.
  • Jos Buttler strikes at 157.35 against Kagiso Rabada in T20 cricket, while averaging 53.50.

Pitch and conditions

The surface in Mullanpur has aided pace, bounce and carry and that's likely to remain unchanged come Saturday. The temperature is expected to be in the mid-30s in the afternoon but is likely to drop down to mid-20s by the time play will get underway. There is also likely to be a 90% cloud cover and some chances of rain.


"We want him to take wickets for us. The other night he started well. His mindset is very positive, he is a wicket-taker for us. He has hit the intensity and I will not be worried about it."
Kings bowling coach Charl Langeveldt isn't worried about Rabada's lack of wickets
"If you look at the [Royals] team, you always want leaders within the team. Obviously, Sanju bhai is the leader of the team and he entrusts certain people. It is always good in a cricket team whether you are young or old, if you have good advice, nothing wrong with passing on the information because you never know when it may help."
Keshav Maharaj on the positive mood in the Royals camp

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

Win Probability
RR 100%
100%50%100%PBKS InningsRR Innings

Over 20 • RR 152/7

RR won by 3 wickets (with 1 ball remaining)
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