Punjab Kings’ six-wicket defeat against the Gujarat Titans at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali was its second consecutive loss of IPL 2023.
It will take on a high-flying Lucknow Super Giants next on Saturday. But before this away fixture, Shikhar Dhawan’s men need to address their high dot-ball count.
Against the Titans, Punjab had a staggering 54 dots in its innings, that’s nine out of 20 overs gone without scoring. Gujarat, meanwhile, had 34 dot balls.
The missing link for PBKS were the ones and twos once the field spread out, and those boundaries were not readily available. PBKS had 38 singles compared to GT’s 52 and five twos to GT’s 10.
What’s interesting is Punjab’s boundary count of 21 (16 fours and five sixes), which was more than Gujarat’s 18 (17 fours and one six). Had Punjab managed to convert even half of those 54 dots into ones and twos, it would’ve ended up with an above-par score.
Punjab has currently faced the highest number of dot balls in this year’s IPL, at 203, and has also faced the highest number of dots between overs 7 and 16 (93), which puts into perspective its batting woes when the top-order struggles to get off to a flying start.
Even if one takes into account the premise that there will be varying degrees of difficulty in strike rotation based on the venue, PBKS’s high dot-ball percentage against GT was hard to justify given that the match was played on pitch number 5 – there are eight pitches on the Mohali square – which meant there was a large square boundary on one side (74m) for the batters to place the ball in the gaps and run.
The running between wickets will assume more significance on Saturday if Lucknow produces a tricky, two-paced black-soil surface where shot-making is difficult.