IPL 2024: ‘They are just one knock away,’ PBKS' Sanjay Bangar backs top-order to fire soon

 - Sakshi Post

Chandigarh, April 16 (IANS) In the matches that they have played so far in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, the top-order batters have failed to fire for Punjab Kings (PBKS). It is a matter of concern as they get ready to take on five-time title winners Mumbai Indians at the PCA Stadium in Mullanpur on Thursday.

In their last match against Rajasthan Royals, PBKS were also without their injured skipper and opener Shikhar Dhawan. PBKS were unable to get past RR on Saturday at the new PCA Stadium in Mullanpur, losing the low-scoring thriller by three wickets.

Their bowling attack showed tremendous fighting spirit taking the match to the last over. High-intensity spells from Kagiso Rabada, who recorded 2-18 in his four overs, and the stand-in captain Sam Curran, who picked 2-25, ensured that the home side stretched the match till the final ball.

At the post-match press conference, Punjab Kings' Head of Cricket Development Sanjay Bangar praised the side for battling it out in the middle till the end. “We have been pretty consistent with the team that we have played. Most of our games have gone to the last over. We have been extremely competitive. Even tonight, at one point it felt that the game would be over soon. But the way the fielders hung on, and the bowlers kept pegging on, it just shows the character that the team possesses," Bangar said

"So yes, we are not getting the results, but it's the kind of character and the kind of fight that is being shown by the team that is exemplary," he added.

Punjab missed skipper Shikhar Dhawan on Saturday as the opener was ruled out due to an injury.

Bangar gave an update on Dhawan and said, "Well, unfortunately, we missed out on Shikhar because he has a shoulder injury. We will have to wait and see how he responds to the treatment. It seems that he could be out of action for at least 7-10 days." Curran led the side in Dhawan's absence and Bangar explained that the England allrounder was always Punjab Kings' first choice to be the stand-in captain in case Dhawan is unavailable for any reason.

“Our thought was always that because Sam has led the team in the previous year as well, he would be the stand-in captain. He was late to arrive from the UK because of this, he wanted to have a few sessions in before the start of the season. Hence, we could not send him to Chennai for the inauguration of the season and Jitesh Sharma was sent in his place as Dhawan's replacement for the photoshoot," Bangar said on the subject.

Punjab opener Jonny Bairstow has scored 96 runs in six games so far this season. On being asked about his form, the former Indian cricketer backed Bairstow and the top order to fire soon.

“Yeah, it is certainly a cause of concern that the top order is not making enough runs for us, but they are trying hard. They are applying themselves. All games in Mullanpur have been low-scoring games because of how the wicket behaves. In the first six overs with the new ball, the wicket tends to just lag a little bit and there is uneven bounce as well. That is another contributing factor because of which, not only for us but also for the visiting teams, the top order is facing issues here,” Bangar said.

“We are constantly having conversations about what are the scoring options on such tracks and that is where the boys are putting in a lot of effort. Currently, it's not coming off, but I am pretty sure that they are just one knock away," he added.

Bangar also praised Ashutosh Sharma, who scored an unbeaten 31 off 16 balls against Royals, helping Punjab post a challenging total, and also praised Jitesh Sharma, who had injured an eyebrow while training, but still batted and kept the wickets throughout the match on Saturday.

“Credit to Ashutosh for the way he has again batted in the last four or five overs. Jitesh Sharma, who fought through the injury that he had. He had 15 stitches on his eyebrow, so he also contributed at a crucial juncture of the game. So, these are boys of immense character, and we certainly look at those positives, when we look at this game and wait for the next one to come," he signed off.

Meanwhile, INR 35 lakh were raised during the match in Mullanpur on Saturday to the noble cause of girl child education. The M3M Foundation, in partnership with Shikhar Dhawan Foundation, has committed to support females for vocational education, and Rs 5 lakh will be donated for every 25 runs scored and 3 wickets taken by Punjab Kings during their home games.

Through the initiative, the organisation aims to provide vocational education support to 111 girls for up to Rs. 5 lakh, covering a total amount of Rs. 5.55 crore over the next five years.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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