Mayank Agarwal-led Punjab Kings (PBKS) are looking solid on the paper. The Punjab-based franchise were one of the most active teams during the IPL mega auction and they operated intelligently and have covered most bases. The opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and Shikhar Dhawan, followed by Mayank Aggarwal and Liam
Livingstone, form an enviable top-order. Add Tamil Nadu’s hard-hitting batter Shahrukh Khan and West Indies’ all-rounder Odean Smith; Punjab Kings certainly has one of the most exciting batting line-up in the tournament. The Punjab Kings also have a stellar support staff with former India captain Anil Kumble at the helm. Jonty Rhodes is their fielding coach, while Damien Wright is the bowling coach. The middle-order is unsettled as well as brittle. It will be interesting to see where Livingstone and Shahrukh will bat. If they bat at 4 and 5, then they will lack a finisher down the order. Punjab Kings’ pace attack does not look convincing. In Kagiso Rabada, they only have one genuine pace bowler. Odean Smith is nippy but can go for plenty in the death overs. The Punjab Kings will be banking on the Indian pace batteries off Arshdeep Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Ishan Porel, Raj Angad Bawa, Baltej Singh, Vaibhav Arora and Rishi Dhawan.