The Punjab Kings are of those 3 unfortunate teams in the IPL who’ve never been able to lift the prestigious trophy in the 14 seasons of the league that have been played so far. They’ve managed to take a handful of seasons by storm with their thunderous performances but have never been managed to cross the line on any of those occasions.
Their major problem has been a lack of consistency from the majority of players in the squad. The team often used to be over-dependent on one or two important players who used to carry the entire burden throughout the season. All of this used to result in nothing but disappointment for the Kings in most of the situations.
In spite of all the bitter failures that they’ve had to face in the past, the Punjab Kings will definitely be looking forward to making a mark in this season of the IPL with a fresh-looking squad filled with new vigour and energy. The mega auction provided the side with an opportunity to rebuild the squad in a totally different manner from that of the earlier seasons.
The team management made the most of this opportunity and drafted in a certain amount of world-class players in the squad. Thanks to their good executive of plans during the mega auction, they have an abundance of options to chose from and fill the various positions in their lineup. One of the most vital positions shall be the opening slots which will be the first topic of discussion to be taken up the team management.
Given below are three of the most possible opening pairs that the Punjab Kings might be using in the upcoming IPL season:-
1. Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan
The first possible opening combination that the Punjab Kings will be going within this IPL season shall be of Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agrawal. Shikhar Dhawan who had been purchased at a price of 8.25 crores in the mega auction is definitely going to be e a player to watch out for this season.
Is fantastic performances while opening the batting in the past few seasons for his previous franchise, Delhi Capitals is one of the major proof of his red hot current form in the league. He has been the top run-scorer for his side in several past seasons, thereby hadn’t shown signs of slowing down with age.
Mayank Agarwal on the other hand who was retained by the Kings ahead of the auction certainly is going to be a first-choice opener for the side, just like the previous few seasons. Thus the Dhawan-Agarwal duo is surely going to be a good opening pair option for the Kings to use this season.
Mayank Agarwal (IPL Stats):-
Matches – 100, Runs – 2131, Average – 23.4, Strike Rate – 135.5
Shikhar Dhawan (IPL Stats):-
Matches – 192, Runs – 5784, Average – 34.8, Strike Rate – 126.6
2. Mayank Agarwal and Jonny Bairstow
Another possibility is that the team management will ask Jonny Bairstow to open the batting with Mayank Agarwal. The English wicket-keeper batsman has had several experiences of opening the batting in IPL earlier for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
His unique hard-hitting style shall be a big threat to the opposition bowlers during the early stages of the innings which might come handy to the Punjab Kings. The cautious and careful strokeplay of Mayank at one end is surely bound to ably assist a rampant Bairstow who shall take on the bowlers right from the powerplay thereby putting the pressure on the opposition without any ado.
The combination mentioned above is expected to provide suitable starts to the team without any undue risks towards the beginning. Hence Punjab may very well be adapting to this opening pair for this season of the IPL.
Jonny Bairstow (IPL Stats):-
Matches – 28, Runs – 1038, Average – 41.5, Strike Rate – 142.2
3. Shikhar Dhawan and Liam Livingstone
A third probable opening pair shall be between Shikhar Dhawan and Liam Livingstone. Living stone who was a part of the Rajasthan Royals in the previous seasons has been involved in the Punjab squad now.
His failures while opening the batting for his earlier side brought in an overall downfall in his performances and thus forced his exclusion from the side. Punjab Kings may provide Liam with another similar opportunity and expect the hard-hitting batsman to live up to the worth on this occasion for his new team.
Liam Livingstone who holds the record for the fastest T20I ton by an Englishman has got enough abilities to fulfil the responsibilities entrusted upon him and might end up forming a wonderful opening pair with Shikhar Dhawan. The left-right combination shall also be a tough one to face for the opposition bowlers. Thus this opening duo might also be a good option to think about for the Punjab Kings this season.
Liam Livingstone (IPL Stats):-
Matches – 9, Runs – 112, Average – 14.2, Strike Rate – 125.8
Our Prediction: Although each of the above-mentioned opening pairs is equally available and important to the Kings, the most suitable and feasible of them all in our opinion is the one consisting of Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan.
Since the departure of K.L Rahul who had earlier been amassing runs for fun with Punjab in the league, the proper replacement was always being thought about by everyone in the team management. Shikhar Dhawan who has also been having similarly successful seasons in the past whole batting at the same position shall possibly be the most perfect match to fit the opening slot for the Kings this season.
His consistent performances and big scores in the shorter format shall be a good thing for the Kings. Mayank Agarwal who also has been a very improved player in the past few seasons for the Kings will expectedly be provided with extra responsibilities this season, one of which is to open the innings with equal efficiency as he did in the past seasons for his side.
This opening combination of Dhawan and Agarwal in our opinion shall be the best option for the Punjab Kings in IPL 2022.