IPL 2023, Punjab Kings (PBKS) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Top Performances: Arshdeep Singh's 3-19, Bhanuka Rajapaksa's 50, Andre Russell's 35 are top performances. Punjab Kings beat KKR in rain-affected game.
Brief Scores: PBKS 191/5 (Rajapaksa 50, Dhawan 40, Southee 2/54) beat KKR 146/7 (Russell 35, V Iyer 34, Arshdeep Singh 3/19) by seven runs (DLS method)
Player of the Match: Arshdeep Singh (3/19)
After a thrilling curtain raiser of the sixteenth season of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, hosts Punjab Kings (PBKS) and two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) locked horns for the second game of the tournament at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.
Punjab had won nine out of their last 11 T20s on this ground, while Kolkata had an upper hand with 20 victories in their head to head clashes with Punjab who have won 10 games against KKR in the IPL.
Knight Riders’ baseless decision with Anukul Roy besides poor batting show
Whenever he has got his chances, Anukul Roy has bowled decently for his team in the IPL but Kolkata Knight Riders decided to not give him the ball even after other bowlers were sent all around the park. To increase volume of this curious game plan, he was sent at number three in the batting order only to get four runs in five balls.
KKR didn’t bat well in the powerplay too. They lost 27 wickets in the powerplay in IPL 2022 - the most for any side and even in their season opener, they lost three. Even though they were aggressive, someone was required to stay till the end in this huge run chase.
Inspiring bowling form Punjab Kings opened their account with a win
Kolkata Knights Riders captain Nitish Rana on winning the toss opted to field first on a track with a good covering of grass which was expected to remain same for the whole duration of the game. Kolkata Knight Riders handed Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz a debut IPL cap while Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza also made his IPL debut for the Punjab Kings.
Some aggressive batting from all Punjab batters, especially their opener Prabhsimran Singh and Bhanuka Rajapaksa pushed them to 56/1 at the end of the powerplay before reaching 100/1 at the halfway mark of the first innings. The 89-run partnership between captain Shikhar Dhawan and Rajapaksa carried them to 153/4 in 15 overs. Sam Curran later on cracked some boundaries but with 38 runs coming in the last five overs, Punjab Kings could reach 191/5 in their allotted 20 overs.
Kolkata Knight Riders had a mixed bag of timing during the powerplay as along with some crazy and aggressive shots, they kept on losing some vital wickets to be placed at 46/3 after three overs. The story continued even in the middle phase of the game: batters were nailing boundaries but Punjab were keeping themselves in the game with regular wickets as KKR reached 136/6 after 15 overs.
With rain coming in an intense mood, the game came to a halt when KKR were on 146/7 in 16 overs. With the game not being able to restart, Punjab Kings earned two crucial points with a seven-run victory by Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method.
Let’s scan the top three performances from the game between PBKS and KKR in IPL 2023.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa counter-attacked with maiden IPL half-century
With 23 runs coming in the first two overs before the dismissal of Prabhsimran Singh, someone was required to continue the momentum for Punjab and Bhanuka Rajapaksa decided to take control. He lifted Sunil Narine over long-off for a beautiful boundary before going inside out over extra cover for the same result; he finished the over with a six over the head of the bowler. Rajapaksa now has scored unbeaten 28 runs in 14 balls against Narine with the help of three boundaries and one six.
The left-handed batter then drove Shardul Thakur over long-on for a four before clearing the fine-leg region for a six. He dabbed the same bowler to the short fine leg for a boundary to now have 22 runs in 11 balls against Thakur in T20s besides one dismissal.
With a couple of runs, Bhanuka Rajapaksa celebrated his maiden IPL half century in 30 balls. He finished on 50 in 32 balls with the help of five boundaries and couple of sixes to now have 256 IPL runs in 10 games.
Arshdeep Singh punctured KKR with 3/19
Arshdeep Singh had a decent IPL campaign last year with just 10 wickets in 14 games and he had a great chance to display his calibre this year. On his very first ball of the season, Arshdeep sent back Mandeep Singh on 2 with a bouncing delivery onto the stumps which was drilled straight into the hands of the deep square leg fielder. On the last ball of the same over, Arshdeep bagged the wicket of Anukul Roy on 4 who nailed it straight to the mid-wicket fielder.
Coming back for his third over during the 16th over of the game, he pocketed the wicket of Venkatesh Iyer on 34 who slapped the short ball straight into the hands of backward point fielder. Iyer now has just eight runs in nine balls against Arshdeep besides being dismissed once.
He finished with 3/19 in his three overs to now have 43 IPL wickets in 38 games.
Russell kept Knight Riders in the chase with exciting 35 runs
When Andre Russell walked out to bat, Kolkata were struggling at 80/5 after 10.1 overs but they were seriously keeping their hope on the Caribbean power.
Russell took five balls before drilling a good length delivery with extreme power straight down the ground for a boundary before smashing Rahul Chahar over long-off for a huge six. He then muscled a fullish delivery from Nathan Ellis wide of mid-off. Sam Curran was dislodged over mid-wicket for a six by Russell before he was smacked for a four over backward point. Russell now has 30 T20 runs against Curran in 15 balls besides being dismissed twice.
Andre Russell ended with 35 runs in 19 balls with the help of three boundaries and couple of sixes at a strike rate of 184.21.
Points Table scenario & What’s Next
Punjab Kings now stand in the second place of the points table with a net run rate of +0.438.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will take on Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad in the afternoon of April 2, while in the evening Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will meet Mumbai Indians (MI) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.