With Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad out of reckoning for the IPL 2022 playoffs after Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated table-toppers Gujarat Titans, the immediate aim for both teams will be to now finish their tournament on a high in their final league match at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
While Hyderabad endured a five-match losing streak after winning as many matches by overcoming first two losses in the tournament, Punjab Kings oscillated between the highs and lows, summed up by the fact that they could never string back-to-back wins.
From Punjab's ultra-aggressive batting line-up which was tipped to do well in IPL 2022, only Shikhar Dhawan, Liam Livingstone and Jitesh Sharma have been the bright spots. Dhawan is the leading run-getter for Punjab with 421 runs in 13 innings at an average of 38.27 and strike-rate of 122.74, including three fifties.
On the other hand, whenever Livingstone has found runs, he has been a delight to watch, including slamming the monstrous 117m six. With 388 runs in 13 innings at a high strike-rate of 177.98, one would feel that Punjab could have done better if Livingstone was more consistent.
Jitesh, one of the uncapped Indians unearthed in the tournament, has been providing Punjab with the finishing sparks, amassing 215 runs in nine innings at an average of 30.71 and strike-rate of 158.08.
With the ball, Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh have been the standouts for Punjab. Rabada has again proved his credentials as a top bowler of the tournament, picking 22 wickets with an average of 16.72 and economy rate of 8.36. Arshdeep, meanwhile, has 10 scalps but has everyone with his ability to bowl yorkers at will and maintaining an economy rate of 7.31 in the death overs, the best by any bowler in the tournament.
At the other end, Hyderabad were able to put away the disappointment of first two defeats and get a five-match winning streak, which kept them in reckoning for the playoffs. But injuries to T Natarajan and Washington Sundar meant the bowling attack lacked the cutting edge and slumped to losing five consecutive matches, which proved to be costly in their quest to reach the playoffs.
In batting, they had found new heroes in their first three wins while chasing. But they were hampered by Kane Williamson's lack of runs and despite Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran showing their capabilities, Hyderabad never got the batting returns they needed from the skipper, who flew back home after a narrow three-run win for the birth of his second child.
Their silver lining in IPL 2022 was Jammu's tearaway pacer Umran Malik, who kept the speed gun busy by clocking 150kmph deliveries consistently and bagged 21 wickets at an average of 20 and economy rate of 8.93. Hyderabad will be hoping that Malik comes good for them one last time in IPL 2022.
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma, Prabhsimran Singh, Odean Smith, Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Sandeep Sharma, Atharva Taide, Vaibhav Arora, Ansh Patel, Raj Angad Bawa, Benny Howell, Rishi Dhawan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Baltej Singh, Writtick Chatterjee, Nathan Ellis and Prerak Mankad.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Nicholas Pooran, Aiden Markram, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Washington Sundar, Marco Jansen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jagadeesha Suchith, Shreyas Gopal, Kartik Tyagi, T Natarajan, Umran Malik, Sushant Mishra, Shashank Singh, Sean Abbott, R Samarth, Romario Shepherd, Vishnu Vinod and Glenn Phillips