58th Match (N), Dharamsala, May 09, 2024, Indian Premier League
(17/20 ov, T:242) 181

RCB won by 60 runs

Player Of The Match
92 (47)
Cricinfo's MVP
105.1 ptsImpact List

PBKS and RCB meet with playoff hopes hanging by a thread

Both teams are on eight points with only three games left

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan

Match details

Punjab Kings (PBKS, eighth) vs Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB, seventh)
Dharamsala, 7:30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big picture: RCB's batting unit clicks into gear

The winner of Thursday's contest will keep their slim hopes of making the playoffs alive, the loser will join Mumbai Indians as the second side to be eliminated this season.
RCB in their first six matches and in their last five matches are two different teams. Their batters have flicked a switch ever since they lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by a mere 25 runs in a chase of 288. RCB's lowest score in the last five games is the 152 they made chasing 148 against Gujarat Titans in Bengaluru. What's helped them is Faf du Plessis coming back to form and a stable top four - comprising Virat Kohli, du Plessis, Will Jacks and Rajat Patidar.
Du Plessis has hit two fifties in the last five matches, and as a result, enabled RCB to score quicker in the first six overs. Their run-rate in the powerplay in the last five matches (12.3) is far superior to what it was in the first six (8.27). This has allowed them to have the likes of Jacks and Patidar batting in the middle overs, because additional risks early on do sometimes result in wickets but those have worked in RCB's favour, which again reflects in the run-rate. With better spin-hitters at the crease, they're going at 11.03 in the middle overs in matches since April 15 as opposed to 8.41 in the games before that.
The other effect of this batting resurgence is that Kohli, who has been consistent from the start of IPL 2024, is free to play as he wishes - evidenced by the jump in his strike rate from 141.77 (first six games) to 158.15 (last five matches). Which is all part of why this match against PBKS comes at perhaps the right time for RCB.
PBKS are superb travelers but do not find much solace at home. They have had three home venues in the last two seasons - Mohali, Dharamsala and the newest addition Mullanpur - the most for any team. In IPL 2024, they have won three out of the five away games but only one in six at home. PBKS have the lowest percentage of home wins in the last two seasons, and their clash against RCB is their last in Dharamsala in IPL 2024.

Form guide

Punjab Kings LWWLL (last five completed games, most recent first)
Royal Challengers Bengaluru WWWLL

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Punjab Kings
Shikhar Dhawan has not travelled with the side to Dharamsala, so expect them to play the same combination that has helped them win two of their last three games.
Probable XII: 1 Prabhsimran Singh, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Rilee Rossouw, 4 Shashank Singh, 5 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 6 Ashutosh Sharma, 7 Sam Curran (capt), 8 Harpreet Brar, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Rahul Chahar, 12 Arshdeep Singh
Royal Challengers Bengaluru
Glenn Maxwell returned to action after a long break and contributed a wicket in RCB's win over Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad and wasn't required with the bat. But in the reverse fixture, he fell for a duck to continue his lean run. RCB could persist with him or consider getting Reece Topley and his variations in on a surface which had assistance for the slower bowlers in the PBKS-CSK match. Patidar and Yash Dayal look to be the likely Impact Sub swap again.
Probable XII: 1 Virat Kohli, 2 Faf du Plessis (capt), 3 Will Jacks, 4 Rajat Patidar, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 8 Swapnil Singh, 9 Karn Sharma, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Vijaykumar Vyshak, 12 Yash Dayal

In the spotlight: Will Jacks and Harpreet Brar

Before his IPL debut, Jacks had played 131 of his 155 T20 innings as an opener. But at RCB, he has batted at No. 3 and made that spot his own even though he has had mixed returns. Four of his six innings have been single-digit scores while the other two knocks saw him score a 55 and a 100 not out. He'll have his task cut out for him against a bowling attack that has been the second-most economical (8.33 to Chennai Super Kings' 8.07) in the first 16 overs (powerplay and middle overs), and the most economical in the first ten overs in IPL 2024.
The last time PBKS played RCB, Brar was their most economical bowler, with scarcely believable figures of 2 for 13 in a game where the batting side scored at over nine an over. He nipped out two of RCB's best players of spin in Patidar and Maxwell bu they hadn't put enough runs of the board for that to really matter. Only Gujarat Titans (strike rate of 111.87) score slower than RCB (119.33) against left-arm orthodox in IPL 2024. And Brar has one-third of his 24 IPL wickets against RCB. He is a big threat to their playoff hopes.

Stats that matter

  • Kagiso Rabada has dismissed Kohli and du Plessis four times each in all men's T20s. While Kohli strikes him at 106.25, du Plessis does much better with 66 runs off 47 balls at 140.42.
  • Among bowlers who have bowled at least 60 balls at the death in IPL 2024, Arshdeep Singh's economy rate of 12.35 is the second-worst. However, no PBKS bowler has more than his eight wickets in this phase. Now among batters who have faced at least 60 balls in the last four overs, Dinesh Karthik's strike rate of 231.42 is the second-best. Arshdeep has managed to dismiss Karthik three times in 27 balls for 45 runs.
  • Jonny Bairstow strikes at 177.55 against RCB, his best against any opposition in the IPL. He also enjoys the upper hand in the duel with Mohammed Siraj: 54 runs in 25 balls for one dismissal in all T20s
  • Pitch and conditions

    In Dharamsala, captains winning the toss have opted to bowl in the three IPL matches since last year and only once have gone on to win the match. Even in the first game at the venue this season - PBKS' previous outing - Chennai Super Kings managed to defend 167 successfully. The temperature in Dharamsala is forecast to be in the early twenties.


    "We go to Delhi after this [RCB game] for a couple of days, before we go to our next game in Guwahati [against Royals on May 15], and Shikhar will be assessed. Hopefully we can have some more positive news on the last couple of [league phase] games but we will assess him when we get to Delhi."
    Punjab Kings assistant coach Brad Haddin offers an availability update on injured captain Shikhar Dhawan

    S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7

    Win Probability
    RCB 100%
    100%50%100%RCB InningsPBKS Innings

    Over 17 • PBKS 181/10

    Harshal Patel c Ferguson b Mohammed Siraj 0 (1b 0x4 0x6 5m) SR: 0
    Arshdeep Singh c Sharma b Mohammed Siraj 4 (3b 1x4 0x6 4m) SR: 133.33
    RCB won by 60 runs
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