Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) play in their tournament opener in IPL 2023 at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on April 1, Saturday. This match will be the first of the two game scheduled in the Saturday double-header. Punjab Kings will be led by new captain Shikhar Dhawan while KKR are being led led by Nitish Rana. One common factor between these two sides is both their squads have some key players missing due to injuries. KKR’s regular captain Shreyas Iyer is down with a recurring back injury while Punjab Kings will miss England’s Jonny Bairstow.
The England wicketkeeper and batter was not given the clearance by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as the cricket board does not want to take any risk with his leg injury. Bairstow had broken his leg while playing the golf last year ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. He has recovered from the injury but with Ashes 2023 and ICC ODI World Cup scheduled to take place later this year, ECB wants Bairstow fit and ready.
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— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) April 1, 2023
ECB is yet to give clearance letter to Liam Livingstone as well. As per reports, Livingstone has not got the NOC after recovering from a knee injury he suffered in December last year.
India all-rounder Shardul Thakur is likely to make his KKR debut in this match. Thakur has earlier played for CSK and DC in the past. Sikandar Raza, the Zimbabwean player, will also be making his IPL debut. PBKS will take heart from the fact that England’s star all-rounder and IPL’s costliest player Sam Curran will be available for selection from th first match itself.
PBKS Probable Playing 11: Shikhar Dhawan, Prabsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Brar, Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Rahul Chahar
KKR Probable Playing 11: Venkatesh Iyer, N Jadgadeesan, Nitish Rana, Mandeep Singh, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Chakaravarthy, Vaibhav Arora
PBKS Likely Impact Player: Rishi Dhawan
KKR Likely Impact Player: David Weise