Punjab Kings' Road to IPL 2024: What Challenges Lie Ahead for Shikhar Dhawan & Co To Clinch Their Maiden Title?

Punjab Kings' Road to IPL 2024: What Challenges Lie Ahead for Shikhar Dhawan & Co To Clinch Their Maiden Title?

Punjab Kings are among the three original IPL teams to have not won the title of the cash-rich franchise T20 league since 2008.

Hrishikesh DamodarUpdated: Friday, March 15, 2024, 09:56 PM IST
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Punjab Kings | Credits: Twitter

Punjab Kings (formerly Kings XI Punjab) is one of the seven teams that have been part of Indian Premier League since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2008. In the first edition of the IPL, Kings XI Punjab reached the semifinal but lost to eventual finalists Chennai Super Kings.

Punjab Kings are among the three original IPL teams to have not won the IPL title. PBKS made it to the IPL final for the first time in 2014 but lost to Kolkata Knight Riders. Since then, Mohali-based team never qualified for the playoffs.

In IPL 2023, under the leadership of Shikhar Dhawan, Punjab Kings finished 8th in the league stage. Despite the change in captaincy over the last six seasons, the fortune of the Punjab Kings has never changes. Dhawan set to lead PBKS in the upcoming IPL season and will look to turn the tables around this time to clinch their maiden title of the tournament.

How PBKS performed at the IPL 2024 Auction?

Punjab Kings did well at the IPL 2024 Auction in Dubai in December last year. The Mohali-based franchise shelled out a whopping 11.75 crore to acquire the services of former Royal Challengers Bangalore Harshal Patel. South African batter Rilee Rossouw was bought for 8 crore while England pacer Chris Woakes was acquired for 4.2 crore.

Apart from overseas players, Punjab Kings signed in Ashutosh Sharma, Shashank Singh, Tanay Thyagarajann, Vishwanath Pratap Singh and Prince Choudhary at the IPL 2024 Auction.

Punjab Kings managed to bring balance to the squad by strengthening the bench by adding overseas players and targeting Indian domestic cricketers, who could come handy in the Indian conditions. However, there are challenges lie ahead for Shikhar Dhawan and the boys ahead of IPL 2024.

Middle-order conundrum

One of the takeaways of Punjab Kings from the previous IPL season was the lack of stability in the middle-order. Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone did perform well in the crunch situations but weren't consistent. Curran, who was acquired for 18.5 crore at IPL 2023 Auction, scored 276 runs, including a fifty and picked 10 wickets.

While, Livingstone amassed 279 runs, including two fifties and picked two wickets. Both England cricketers are crucial for Punjab Kings to bring stability in the middle-order of the batting line-up. Another challenge for PBKS is that they don't Indian talent in the middle-order.

Having an experienced Indian batter in the middle-order is crucial in Indian conditions and not having it would pressure on overseas players. Talented Vidarbha batter Atharva Taide showed his promise in the last IPL season but doesn't have enough required experience. Wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma was entrusted the task of hard hitter but may not offer the stability during the middle overs, where batsmen needed to accelerate the innings.

The middle-order has been an issue for Punjab Kings and the team need to address it in a bid to attain glory in IPL 2024.

Overseas players need to step up

Punjab Kings have been grappling the issues with inconsistent performances from overseas players over the last several seasons. The inconsistent performances from Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone in the IPL season hit the aspirations of Punjab Kings.

Jhonny Bairstow's form has become a bit of concern for Punjab Kings as he has not been performing well of late, especially in the recently concluded Test series against India. Overseas players' form are crucial not just for PBKS for all the teams participating in the IPL 2024.

Chris Woakes could be an X-factor for Punjab Kings as he is handy with the bat apart from his bowling. Kagiso Rabada is an experienced overseas bowler in the line-up and his consistency is crucial for Punjab Kings. The addition of Rilee Rossouw is likely to bring stability in the team.

The overseas players need to step up for the team during the crunch situations as it will release the burden on Indian players.

Lack of experienced spin bowlers

Apart from Rahul Chahar, Punjab Kings don't have an experienced spin bowler in the line-up. Harpreet Brar, who made his debut IPL with PBKS in 2019, haven't yet prove his mettle in the tournament as he scalped 18 wickets from 28 matches thus far.

Tanay Thyagarajan and Prince Chaudhary are set to play their debut IPL season this year. Chahar might lead the spin bowling attack but other specialist spin bowlers need to complement him in crucial situations rather than putting entire pressure on him.

What to expect from Punjab Kings in IPL 2024?

Punjab Kings have a balanced squad, with top overseas players and talented Indian domestic cricketers for IPL 2024. However, the Mohali-based team to iron out certain issues like middle-order conundrum and lack of spin bowling options.

PBKS might have to rely on Indian domestic players, whose experience on the Indian conditions will come handy. In the initial stage of the tournament, Punjab Kings might go through a lot of experiment in order to understand the team but they have to build the momentum early on in the tournament.

Arshdeep Singh will look to perform well in the upcoming IPL season as he is aiming for a place in the India squad for the T20 World Cup 2024.

Punjab Kings will begin their campaign against Delhi Capitals in Mullanpur on March 23, Saturday.

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