PBKS vs DC Preview: Punjab, Delhi aim to start the season on a positive note

Punjab Kings (PBKS) are set to take on Delhi Capitals (DC) in match 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 on Saturday, March 23 at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium in Mullanpur.

The highlight of this encounter is going to be the much-awaited return of Rishabh Pant. The wicketkeeper-batter will be back in competitive cricketing action for the first time since suffering a terrifying car accident in December 2022.

Last year, Pant was unavailable to play and the leadership responsibility fell on David Warner. The Australian batter led Sunrisers Hyderabad to the title in 2016 and the franchise became very consistent during his tenure. However, his captaincy innings for the Capitals didn’t turn out to be as memorable because the team won just five and lost nine out of their 14 matches, and finished ninth on the points table in IPL 2023.

At the IPL 2024 auction, the Delhi-based franchise bought some exciting foreign players like Harry Brook and Tristan Stubbs. Interestingly, four out of the nine players that the Capitals roped in at the auction can keep wickets. They already have Abhishek Porel and Pant on the side. Jhye Richardson’s services have also been acquired and he could play a crucial role, especially with Anrich Nortje’s fitness being a concern.

Prithvi Shaw had a wretched run last year. He will look to bounce back this season and push his case for a selection to India’s side for the T20 World Cup 2024. Warner and Mitchell Marsh will have to play a key role if Delhi are to compete for the title. Punjab Kings will be led by Shikhar Dhawan once again. The left-handed batter has gone out of favour as far as selection to the Indian team is concerned. However, he still has a lot to offer with his experience, especially in a team comprising quite a few young players.

The Kings finished eighth last season on the points table after winning six and losing eight out of their 14 matches. Bowling was a major cause of concern last season as proven performers like Sam Curran, Arshdeep Singh, and Kagiso Rabada conceded a lot of runs. The management bolstered the bowling department by spending heavily on Harshal Patel. England all-rounder Chris Woakes was also roped in. Rilee Rossouw will also be representing the side for the first time this season and he could be a destructive option at the top of the order.

Head to Head

Pitch and conditions

The Mullanpur stadium has hosted a few domestic games but is set to be officially inaugurated in the upcoming IPL clash. The surface is expected to assist the slower bowlers. With this being a day game, the toss-winning team might prefer chasing.

Probable XI

Punjab Kings

Shikhar Dhawan (C), Prabhsimran Singh (WK), Jonny Bairstow, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma (WK), Sam Curran, Harshal Patel, Rahul Chahar, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh

Delhi Capitals

Prithvi Shaw, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Rishabh Pant (c/wk), Yash Dhull, Tristan Stubbs, Axar Patel, Anrich Nortje, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar