IPL 2023: Livingstone's return, Dhawan's form, five key factors in Punjab-Gujarat match

The Gujarat Titans will be hoping to bounce back from the shock defeat to the Rinku Singh-inspired Kolkata Knight Riders

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Punjab Kings' Liam Livingstone during a training session. — Punjab Kings Twitter
Punjab Kings' Liam Livingstone during a training session. — Punjab Kings Twitter

Published: Wed 12 Apr 2023, 8:14 PM

Rejuvenated Punjab Kings faces defending champion Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.

Punjab will go into its home game in front of its home supporters in Mohali with two wins from three matches.


The Gujarat Titans, on the other hand, will be hoping to bounce back from the shock defeat to the Rinku Singh-inspired Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.

Here are the five key factors that could decide the match.


Livingstone returns

Liam Livingstone’s return is a big boost for the Punjab team. The England international is one of the most dangerous players in white-ball cricket, capable of decimating any bowling attack. Punjab will hope the 29-year-old Livingstone will start his IPL campaign in style on Thursday against Gujarat.

Dhawan’s form

Dropped from the Indian team, Shikhar Dhawan has a point to prove. The 36-year-old is certainly making a big statement in the IPL this season. The left-handed opener is currently leading the top-scorer’s table with 225 runs from just three matches. These runs have come at a staggering strike rate of 149. Can he deliver another sumptuous innings tonight against the Titans?

Who can bounce back?

Both teams lost their previous matches. While Rinku’s five sixes in the last five balls stunned Gujarat which failed to defend 29 runs in the final over, Punjab was comprehensively beaten by Sunrisers Hyderabad. A victory will be the perfect tonic to lift the spirits as the teams now battle for the top four positions in the points table.

Rashid’s form

There was one positive for Gujarat in its shock defeat to Kolkata in the previous game. Rashid Khan, the Afghan leg-spinner, took a brilliant hat trick that put the Titans in the driver’s seat until the last year’s champion was silenced by Rinku’s fireworks. Rashid will nevertheless be a threat again tonight. But the champion leg-spinner has never quite managed to tame Livingstone, who has taken 119 runs off his bowling at an astonishing strike rate of 173.

Hardik back

According to the team news, Hardik Pandya, who missed the Kolkata match, will return for the game against Punjab. Gujarat certainly missed his presence in the middle when Rinku launched a brutal assault on Yash Dayal in that famous last over of its last match. Pandya is now a proven leader of men. His return will inspire a team that is looking to bounce back from a shock defeat.

Thursday’s match

Punjab Kings vs Gujarat Titans

6 pm UAE Time

Mohali

Head-to-head

Matches 2

Punjab won 1

Gujarat won 1

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