New Delhi: After holding their nerves to beat Mumbai Indians in a high-scoring clash in IPL 2023, Punjab Kings will be aiming to get another win under their belt when they host Lucknow Super Giants at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium in Mohali on Friday.
When these two teams last met in the ongoing season, Punjab defeated Lucknow by two wickets in a thrilling encounter at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium.
While they will be sweating over the fitness of their skipper Shikhar Dhawan, who is nursing a shoulder injury, former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh thinks Punjab still look strong due to the all-round depth in their squad, led by stand-in skipper Sam Curran.
“Sam Curran has handled the captaincy well in Shikhar’s absence. Along with the ball, he also looked impressive with the bat. The Punjab team looks strong because of players like Sam Curran,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Star Sports.
On Thursday, Rajasthan Royals continued their unbeaten streak against Chennai Super Kings by defeating the M.S. Dhoni-led side for the second time in the tournament by 32 runs and climbed to the top of the points table.
Yashasvi Jaiswal’s explosive 77 off 43 balls took Rajasthan to 202/5, and later skipper Sanju Samson utilised his three spinners — Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Adam Zampa — to perfection in getting a victory at their home ground, the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Hailing Jaiswal and Samson, former India cricketer Irfan Pathan said beating a team like CSK twice is no mean feat in the IPL.
“Yashasvi Jaiswal’s batting and Sanju Samson’s captaincy have taken RR to the top. Samson deserves all the praise. It is not easy to beat a strong team like CSK twice in a season, but Sanju achieved a 2-0 score against this side on the basis of tremendous preparation and excellent strategy.”
Former India cricketer Ravi Shastri also hailed Samson for his maturity and said the way he rotated his spinners against an in-form Chennai batting line-up was commendable.
“Sanju Samson has matured as a captain. He uses his spinners very well. Only a good captain can play with three spinners and use them smartly.”