IPL 2023: Punjab Kings banks on home advantage against RCB

With three wins under its belt, including a morale-boosting two-wicket victory over a strong Lucknow Super Giants just five days ago, Punjab looks like the team to beat

by

Leslie Wilson Jr

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Virat Kohli during a practice session. — RCB Twitter
Virat Kohli during a practice session. — RCB Twitter

Published: Wed 19 Apr 2023, 10:28 PM

Punjab Kings will be brimming with confidence as it hosts Royal Challengers in Match 27 of the Indian Premier League.

With three wins under its belt, including a morale-boosting two-wicket victory over a strong Lucknow Super Giants just five days ago, Punjab looks like the team to beat.

RCB picked up good wins against five-time champion Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals but faltered at the final hurdle when it failed to chase down Chennai Super King's total of 226 at home on Monday.

Both PBKS and RCB’s coaching and analytics staff will have done their homework ahead of the 31st match between the two outfits in the IPL, with the former having won 17 of them.

Here at five key points to the match.

History favours Punjab

Punjab has won five of the last six matches that the two sides have played since 2022 including both matches last season.

More importantly, it is how those wins came.

In the first of those, Punjab chased down a daunting target of 206 to secure a comfortable five-wicket victory and then repeated the feat in the return match, this time comfortably defending a score of 209 to restrict RCB to 155 for nine in 20 overs.

Huge home advantage

It is a proven fact that playing at home is a big advantage and Punjab has driven this point home emphatically having won 31 games at the I.S. Bindra Stadium in Mohali. Statically, this is the highest success any team has enjoyed at this compact venue.

With the par score for the stadium around 150 plus, anything above that will give the team a huge advantage. Because the climate is generally hotter in this part of India, the pitch is generally dry and helps spinners as the match progresses.

Big hitters can shine

As Mohali is a small ground, batters can attack the bowling and look to build a high score with the help of boundaries.

If RCB’s big-hitting opening partnership of Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli can fire then they can put their team in the driver’s seat, irrespective of batting first or second.

Curran vs Kohli

But for his unlucky dismissal in RCB’s most recent match against CSK, Virat Kohli has looked in sensational form in the tournament so far. With 220 runs in five games, Kohli will be the man that Bangalore will look to for another big score.

However, England all-round Sam Curran will be targeting the IPL Orange Cap contender, The aggressive 24-year-old all-rounder was both effective and economical with three wickets from 31 runs in Punjab’s last outing.

Shikhar Dhawan’s toss

Statistics show that team’s batting second have won 32 of 57 matches at Mohali and Punjab’s returning captain Shikhar Dhawan will be hoping that the flip of the coin will favour his team.

Given the dynamics of this season’s IPL and the way the pitches have played out choosing to bowl first will be a smart decision.

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