IPL 2024: Pant's comeback steals the spotlight as Kings clash with Capitals in IPL's 36th venue debut

IPL 2024: Rishabh Pant's Remarkable Return Takes Center Stage as Kings and Capitals Battle in IPL's Historic 36th Venue Debut
Rishabh Pant's Remarkable Return Takes Center Stage as Kings and Capitals Battle in IPL's Historic 36th Venue Debut
Rishabh Pant's Remarkable Return Takes Center Stage as Kings and Capitals Battle in IPL's Historic 36th Venue Debut

The spotlight of the IPL 2024's inaugural afternoon fixture centers around Rishabh Pant's remarkable return. Following a car accident in December 2022, Pant underwent three surgeries on his right knee, demonstrating unwavering determination to return to the field ahead of schedule. Now poised to lead Delhi Capitals, his impending comeback on Saturday signifies an extraordinary journey of resilience.

However, amidst the anticipation, the lingering question persists: can Pant swiftly regain his match fitness? Despite rigorous preparation at the BCCI's National Cricket Academy, the challenges of recovering from such adversity are undeniable.

 Will Pant display the same bold approach that has characterized his cricketing career? While Saturday's match may not offer all the answers, it marks the onset of what promises to be an exceptional comeback narrative.

Meanwhile, for Punjab Kings, the occasion heralds their debut at their new home venue in Mullanpur, bidding adieu to the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. Their prior record at Mohali was lackluster, securing just one victory out of five matches in IPL 2023. 

In terms of head-to-head encounters, the Capitals have historically enjoyed the upper hand, clinching victory in 15 out of 32 matches against the Kings. However, recent trends suggest a more evenly contested rivalry, with Capitals emerging triumphant in five out of six encounters over the past two years.

IPL 2024: Punjab Kings vs Delhi Capitals - Team Update

Punjab Kings Boost:

  • Jonny Bairstow's return bolsters their batting lineup, especially after missing last season.

  • The Kings might choose between Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, both known for big hitting, to address the lack of a lower-order power hitter.

Delhi Capitals - Wicketkeeper and Injuries:

  • Rishabh Pant is likely to take on wicketkeeping duties based on practice sessions.

  • They have a choice to make between Jake Fraser-McGurk and Tristan Stubbs, with Stubbs impressing with his finishing skills in the recent SA20.

  • Jhye Richardson is out with a side strain and might miss initial matches. Anrich Nortje remains unavailable.

IPL 2024: Punjab Kings vs Delhi Capitals - Toss & Impact Player Strategy

Toss Matters:

  • Punjab Kings (PBKS): Likely batting first, they might bench young opener Prabhsimran Singh. An extra bowler (Ashutosh Sharma/Shashank Singh) could replace him, with Singh coming in as the Impact Player.

  • Delhi Capitals (DC): Their choice depends on the toss. Openers Khaleel Ahmed (bowling first) or Ricky Bhui (batting first) might be in the starting XI. Bhui could be the Impact substitute.

Key Players:

  • Punjab Kings:

    • Arshdeep Singh: Excellent death bowler with a low economy rate (8.48) in the last two IPL seasons.

    • Rahul Chahar: Effective spinner, but beware of Warner's strong record against him.

  • Delhi Capitals:

    • Axar Patel: Highly economical bowler since 2020, crucial for DC's bowling attack.

    • Ishant Sharma: Has Dhawan's dismissal under his belt, an interesting matchup to watch.

Pitch & Conditions:

  • High-scoring pitch expected at Mullanpur (average run rate - 8.51).

  • Long square boundaries (around 74 yards) might favor big hitters due to the two-bouncer rule.

  • Afternoon heat (around 30°C) could affect bowler performances.

Who to Watch?

  • Warner vs Chahar and Patel: Can Warner maintain his dominance against these bowlers?

  • Dhawan vs Ishant Sharma: Will Ishant's past success against Dhawan translate into a wicket?

  • Arshdeep Singh's death bowling: Can he continue his economical spell in the final overs?

ALSO READ: IPL 2024:Debutants and Rising Uncapped Indian Talents to Keep an Eye On


When Rishabh Pant will start playing cricket?


If you have watched Pant in numerous interviews recently, ever since it became clear he was returning to cricket starting with IPL 2024, returning to lead Delhi Capitals, he has echoed Bahutule's sentiment: gratitude at being alive


Why is Rishabh Pant not playing?


Rishabh Pant suffered a near-fatal accident in December 2022, which led to a year-long recovery phase.

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