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IPL-2024: Gujarat Titans to take on Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad: PBKS opt to bowl

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In IPL, Gujarat Titans will face Punjab Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The match will start at 7.30 PM. Punjab Kings have won the toss and have opted to field.

Scoring just 75 runs across three games may not be considered poor in T20 cricket, but for Shubman Gill, a batting average of 25 falls short of his lofty standards. As Gujarat Titans gear up to face Punjab Kings in their fourth match of the season, all eyes will be on their newly appointed captain. The question looming large: is the burden of captaincy affecting Gill’s performance?

“He is batting superbly,” stated Mohit Sharma, the Titans’ paceman, coming to the defense of his captain. “Yes it is a fact that the stats have not been converted into big ones but he looks in superb rhythm. He is batting very well at the nets. A big knock from him not too far away.” Gill’s contributions in the three matches so far have been 31, 8, and 36 runs, but greater numbers are certainly expected from him.

The challenge for Gill lies in the relentless scrutiny he faces, particularly from Gujarat’s passionate fans who are accustomed to the team’s high standards. With two finals appearances and one title in the first two years, their success rate exemplary. This season, especially with the mega auction looming next year, presents a big test for the 24-year-old Indian batting sensation.

With Gary Kirsten (batting coach and mentor) and Ashish Nehra (head coach) among the highly-organised support staff, Gill has the right environment and set-up to grow as a cricketer. “We as a franchise, as a support staff, are really excited to help him grow as a person more than as a captain. If he grows as a person, then he will definitely be a better captain going forward,” Nehra had said before the start of the season. Gill endorsed his coach’s advice. “No one is perfect. There is a lot to learn,” he had said.

A big knock certainly from the captain is round the corner. If he gets one, it could spell trouble from the Punjab, incidentally, Gill’s home state. With Sai Sudarshan and David Miller in good form, and Rahul Tewatia to follow, batting is not a worry. Bowling, of course, is never a concern for the Titans, what with Mohit, Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmed taking care of 12 overs. Azmatullah Omarzai has managed to keep highly talented Josh Little out of the XI and Umesh Yadav’s experience is always handy for any side. The Titans side looks in sync.

Same though cannot be said of Punjab, who went off track after winning their first game of the season (vs Delhi Capitals). As their bowling coach Trevor Gonsalves said, their problem has been losing wickets in a cluster. Besides, the Shikhar Dhawann side needs to sort out their bowling strategy. Arshdeep Singh was not given his quota of four overs in the previous game in which Krunal Pandya took the game away from them with a blistering knock. Harshal Patel and Rahul Chahar have not been as effective this season.

T20 can produce unexpected results but if Punjab Kings manage to beat the Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium here in Ahmedabad, it will be a real upset.


Punjab Kings Squad: Shikhar Dhawan(c), Jonny Bairstow, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma(w), Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Shashank Singh, Harpreet Brar, Harshal Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh, Rilee Rossouw, Tanay Thyagarajan, Vidhwath Kaverappa, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Sikandar Raza, Ashutosh Sharma, Atharva Taide, Nathan Ellis, Shivam Singh, Prince Choudhary, Vishwanath Singh

Gujarat Titans Squad: Wriddhiman Saha(w), Shubman Gill(c), Sai Sudharsan, Vijay Shankar, David Miller, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Umesh Yadav, Noor Ahmad, Mohit Sharma, Darshan Nalkande, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Sharath BR, Manav Suthar, Abhinav Manohar, Matthew Wade, Kane Williamson, Jayant Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, Shahrukh Khan, Joshua Little, Kartik Tyagi, Spencer Johnson, Sushant Mishra

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