Having retained only a couple of players from the previous season, Punjab made their intentions clear at the auction table in February and went all out with the mantra of an ‘aggressive approach’. Desperate to shed the tag of perennial underperformers, the franchise for now can boast of having plugged the gaps in the run-up to the tournament.
MATCH 1️⃣ of #Mission2022 and the Royal Challengers are ready to #PlayBold. 😎🔥Let’s back our stars 12th Man Army… https://t.co/P2FaJf4nrC
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) 1648355400000
As the two sides prepare to take the field at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday, all eyes will be on how the two new skippers from either side — Mayank Agarwal and Faf du Plessis — can revamp their units.
The season also holds significance for former RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who will be seen only as a player for the first time in nearly a decade. With the baggage of captaincy past him, it will be interesting to see if the 33-year-old can rediscover his golden form from 2016 (900 runs with four centuries).
𝙄𝙩’𝙨 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙚-𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚! 🤩#SaddaPunjab #PBKSvRCB #IPL2022 #PunjabKings #ਸਾਡਾਪੰਜਾਬ @mayankcricket @faf1307 @RCBTweets https://t.co/mfFzpaVaAy
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) 1648351800000
With a few of their overseas stars missing for the first couple of games, both Punjab and RCB will be eager to test the backup options. For Punjab, Kagiso Rabada will miss the opener as he is yet to complete his quarantine period, while Jonny Bairstow is involved in England’s Test series in the West Indies.
RCB, meanwhile, will be without the services of the newly-wed Glenn Maxwell and fellow Aussies Josh Hazlewood and Jason Behrendorff, who were part of the Test team in Pakistan. Going into Sunday’s clash, Punjab will hope for their skipper to recreate the magic at the top with new recruit Shikhar Dhawan.
At No. 3, Bairstow’s absence is an opportunity for young Prabhsimran Singh to show his prowess.