Key top-order batters returned to rip-roaring form for both the Punjab Kings (PBKS) and the Delhi Capitals (DC) in their respective previous 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) games.
Jonny Bairstow followed up a scratchy 56 with a blazing 66-run knock that completely took the game away from the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Meanwhile, Mitchell Marsh overcame a dull start to his campaign with an unbeaten 89 and even scalped a couple of wickets against the Rajasthan Royals (RR).
When the two IPL teams meet in Match 64 of IPL 2022 at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Monday, May 16, they will do so with renewed confidence in their respective top orders. PBKS and DC each have six wins from 12 games, and a loss would massively decrease their odds to qualify for the playoffs.
With the Gujarat Titans (GT) being the only team to have mathematically sealed qualification, PBKS and DC are battling it out with a host of other sides as the IPL 2022 league stage draws to a close. A cracking contest that could shape the top-four picture is on the cards.
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IPL 2022 Match Prediction: PBKS vs DC
DC's bowling has the versatility and depth to challenge PBKS' batting lineup, which hasn't clicked consistently enough in IPL 2022. But with Bairstow firing alongside Shikhar Dhawan and Liam Livingstone channeling a version of himself that can construct an innings before teeing off, things are looking good for the Kings.
Khaleel Ahmed could return to the DC playing XI in a welcome boost for the Capitals, with his pace, bounce and early swing being aspects that could trouble Bairstow, Dhawan and Bhanuka Rajapaksa. Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav have a few positive match-ups in the PBKS middle order, but neither bowler has been able to produce wickets regularly over the last few games.
KS Bharat has failed twice in a row at the top of the order for DC, and his place in the side is under serious question as Prithvi Shaw continues to recover from illness. DC won't be too worried, though, since David Warner and Marsh complement each other brilliantly. Marsh might not be at home against Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar, but Warner could counter them easily if he survives the powerplay.
Rishi Dhawan is stepping into his role as a supporting bowler quite ably, while Arshdeep Singh and Kagiso Rabada have strung together a crucial bowling tandem for PBKS. So despite a few concerns regarding clicking in unison, Punjab will be confident of breaking up the DC top order and posting a good total.
While a close encounter is bound to transpire given the stakes of the game and the form the two teams come into it with, PBKS appear to be slight favorites. Not only are they better-equipped in the batting department, but their bowlers have settled into their tasks quite comfortably. We could see DC's playoff hopes take a massive hit on Monday, although the toss could play a big role.
Prediction: PBKS to win Match 64 of IPL 2022
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