IPL 2024: Punjab Kings win toss, elect to bowl first against Delhi Capitals on Pant’s return to cricket

Mullanpur:  Punjab Kings captain Shikhar Dhawan has won the toss and elected to bowl first against Delhi Capitals, who are seeing the return of their captain Rishabh Pant to competitive cricket action after 14 months at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Pant, the left-handed wicketkeeper-batter, makes his return to competitive cricket after fully recovering from a life-threatening accident in December 2022. Seeing him walk at the toss as DC’s captain was life-affirming, proving that willpower, determination and perseverance can make miracles happen in life.

The venue is making its IPL debut, becoming the 36th venue to be a host of the league’s matches. Dhawan said Liam Livingstone, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Kagiso Rabada are their overseas players for Saturday’s match.

“It is a new pitch. We will look to come up with new strategies. We have made some changes. We are used to this ground now. We had a practice match. We will look for some luck on this venue,” said Dhawan.

Pant said it was an emotional time for him to be returning to playing cricket after a long layoff, adding that David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Shai Hope and Tristan Stubbs are the side’s overseas players for this match.

“We would have batted first. The wicket looks a little on the slower side. It is a emotional time for me. I just want to enjoy every moment on the filed. Looking forward to my first match back. Excited for the season. We have been preparing well,” he said.

The straight boundary from the pitch is at 75 metres and the square boundaries are in mid-60s. The pitch, as per Matthew Hayden, is made of black soil, which does not have a lot of grass, implying there won’t be much turn for the spinners, with the breeze coming in an open-air stadium.

Before the toss, there was a cultural event in the stadium, where the Punjabi culture was exhibited in the form of dancers doing the bhangra folk dance and wearing traditional outfits, with a big logo in the centre.

Playing XIs

Delhi Capitals: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Shai Hope, Rishabh Pant (captain & wicketkeeper), Ricky Bhui, Tristan Stubbs, Axar Patel, Sumit Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed and Ishant Sharma

Substitutes: Abishek Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Vicky Ostwal and Praveen Dubey

Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma (wicketkeeper), Harpreet Brar, Harshal Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh and Shashank Singh

Substitutes: Rilee Rossouw, Prabhsimran Singh, Tanay Thyagarajan, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, and Vidhwath Kaverappa.

Also Read: IPL Match Today: PBKS And KKR To Lock Horns With DC And SRH

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