The third match of Indian Premier (IPL) 2022 will witness Punjab Kings (PBKS) locking horns with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). These two sides are still in search of their maiden IPL titles. RCB made it to the Eliminator last season but they suffered a loss against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). On the other hand, Punjab Kings ended their journey at the sixth spot on the points table last season. Both the teams have built completely new squads, with new captains.
Faf du Plessis will lead the Bangalore-based franchise while Mayank Agarwal will lead the Punjab Kings side. Virat Kohli will continue to be a part of the RCB as a player. Bangalore’s bowling looks pretty solid with the presence of Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood, and Harshal Patel. Faf du Plessis, Maxwell, and Kohli form the base of their batting. The batting attack of Punjab looks heavy, with the inclusions of Shikhar Dhawan, Jonny Bairstow, and Liam Livingstone apart from Mayank himself.
Apart from Kagiso Rabada and Odean Smith, PBKS will depend a lot on the Indian bowlers in their bowling department. Both the teams have met a total of 28 times in the history of IPL, where Punjab Kings have made a narrow lead by 15-13 in the head-to-head records. The contest is anticipated to be an evenly poised one, with star cricketers from both teams.
Punjab Kings (PBKS)
Two big selection headaches for PBKS ahead of the first match are the unavailability of Jonny Bairstow and Kagiso Rabada. However, to accommodate these changes, PBKS need to make 3 changes to their squad given there’s no other overseas keeper available with Punjab Kings. Prabsimran Singh will be expected to be the primary keeper of the squad in place of Jonny Bairstow, and he should play at 3 with Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan expected to open.
Livingstone and Rajapaksa will be batting in the middle order, whole finishing duties will be shouldered by Shahrukh Khan, Odean Smith, and Harpreet Brar. Both Smith and Harpreet will also double up as bowlers. From the bowling standpoint, PBKS would be expected to go with Nathan Ellis. Apart from him, Arshdeep Singh and Rahul Chahar shall complete the rest of the bowling line-up.
Probable XI: Mayank Agarwal (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Prabsimran Singh (WK), Liam Livingstone, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Shahrukh Khan, Odean Smith, Harpreet Brar, Nathan Ellis, Rahul Chahar & Arshdeep Singh
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
Just like Punjab Kings, RCB also face a big headache ahead of the first match. Their two star overseas players, Glenn Maxwell and Josh Hazlewood along with Jason Behrendorff shall not be available for the initial couple of matches. In place of the former two, RCB will most-likely play Sherfane Rutherford and David Willey with the other two overseas being Wanindu Hasaranga and Captain Faf du Plessis. From the batting-order standpoint, Faf du Plessis shall open alongside Anuj Rawat with Virat Kohli playing at 3. These three should be followed by Mahipal Lomror and Dinesh Karthik at 4 and 5 respectively.
Sherfane Rutherford, Wanindu Hasaranga & Shahbaz Ahmed shall play as finishers with the latter two also giving good spin bowling options. The pace bowling should once again rely on the Indian contingent of Harshal Patel and Mohammed Siraj. These two would be supported by David Willey. Overall, the combination of 3 pacers and 3 spinners looks good for RCB. Once Josh Hazelwood is back, there’s no stopping to this bowling attack.
Probable XI: Faf du Plessis, Anuj Rawat, Virat Kohli, Mahipal Lomror, Dinesh Karthik, Sherfane Rutherford, Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, David Willey, Harshal Patel & Mohammed Siraj
Fantasy Suggestion #1:
Anuj Rawat, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Shahrukh Khan, Faf du Plessis, Liam Livingstone, Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Odean Smith and Arshdeep Singh.
Fantasy Suggestion #2:
Anuj Rawat, Virat Kohli (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal (c), Sherfane Rutherford, Liam Livingstone, Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Rahul Chahar and Arshdeep Singh.