Where did PBKS Go Wrong This IPL: The IPL 2023 season of Punjab Kings, which held great promise, concluded on a disappointing note with a defeat against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Friday. PBKS managed to accumulate 12 points from 14 matches, placing them in eighth position among the ten teams in the league table.
It has been a long wait for PBKS to reach the playoffs, with their last appearance dating back to 2014. This record represents the longest gap between playoff berths in IPL history. Earlier this season, Punjab seemed poised to secure a playoff spot with 12 points from 12 matches. However, their hopes were dashed in the final two matches against Delhi Capitals and RR, echoing the same old tale of disappointment.
Investment in Sam Curran a Total Waste
Despite making significant investments, such as acquiring Sam Curran for a whopping Rs 18.5 crore, and appointing Shikhar Dhawan as captain, PBKS encountered various factors that led to their downfall.
Absence of Jonny Bairstow
The absence of Jonny Bairstow proved to be a major setback for PBKS. The dynamic English batsman was expected to lead the team from the front. Unfortunately, a leg injury prevented him from obtaining the NOC from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), leaving a significant void in Punjab’s batting lineup.
Dhawan emerged as PBKS’s top run-scorer, accumulating 373 runs. However, on the overall run-getters list, he currently occupies the 16th position. Additionally, the replacements for Bairstow, Matthew Short, and Bhanuka Rajapaksa, failed to adequately fill the void and Liam Livingstone’s absence in the first six matches added to the team’s misery.
Meagre Bowling Efforts
The pace bowling department also proved to be a weak point for PBKS. Arshdeep Singh, now a regular for India in T20Is, managed to claim 17 wickets but conceded runs at an economy rate of nearly 10, his worst performance since 2019. Nathan Ellis had an economy rate of 9, and Sam Curran leaked runs at 10. Even Kagiso Rabada, who played only six matches, had an economy rate of 10.
Positives for PBKS from IPL 2023
On a positive note, PBKS can take solace in the emergence of Prabhsimran Singh and Jitesh Sharma. The 22-year-old Prabhsimran received an opportunity to play more than two games in a season for the first time, and he made the most of it by smashing 358 runs in 14 matches at an impressive strike rate of 150. He also registered his maiden century in the IPL during this season.
Jitesh, on the other hand, proved to be a sensation as a finisher. Batting at the lower middle order, usually at number 5 or lower, he amassed an impressive tally of 309 runs from 14 matches at a strike rate of 156.
Overall, with the emergence of Prabhsimran and Jitesh, PBKS has discovered two talented stars who can serve the franchise well in the years to come. However, it is crucial for PBKS to address its batting lineup strategy. Deploying Sikandar Raza or Shahrukh Khan late in the order when the top-order batsmen were struggling to score runs did not prove to be the wisest decision.
Looking ahead, PBKS must rectify these issues in the next season. If they can have their key players available right from the start, PBKS has the potential to become a formidable unit. Hopefully, the fans will witness their team reaching the playoffs in the upcoming season.