Punjab Kings (PBKS) will take on Rajasthan Royals (RR) in match number 66 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on Friday, May 19. This will be the last league-stage game for both teams in the tournament and a must-win encounter at that.
Punjab Kings have blown hot and cold in IPL 2023 in what has been another disappointing year for them. They began their campaign on an impressive note with close wins over Kolkata Knight Riders (seven runs – D/L method) and Rajasthan Royals (five runs). However, things have mostly gone downhill for them since then.
PBKS have only won two of their last six matches in IPL 2023. Some hopes were raised of a revival when they beat Delhi Capitals (DC) by 31 runs in the away game. However, in their last match, they went down to the same opponents by 15 runs at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. The loss dealt a massive blow to their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.
PBKS need a near-miracle to qualify for IPL 2023 playoffs
After 65 league matches in IPL 2023, Punjab Kings are eighth in the points table, with 12 points from 13 games. They also have a poor net run rate of -0.308.
If Punjab beat Rajasthan in their last league match, they will finish on 14 points, but due to their inferior net rate, it will be next to impossible for them to end in the top four after the conclusion of the league stage.
To have even a slim chance of qualifying, PBKS will need to hammer RR by a mammoth margin and then hope that Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI) lose their last league games by very big margins, by such an extent that their net run rates fall below that of PBKS.
That doesn’t sound like a realistic possibility though, at least not in the case of RCB, who have an impressive net run rate of +0.180. MI, on the other hand, have a net run rate of -0.128.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will also finish on 14 points if they beat Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in their last league game on May 20. However, with a net run rate of -0.256, they are unlikely to move into the top four even with a big win.
IPL 2023: Remaining league fixtures
May 19: Punjab Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, 66th Match, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala, 7:30 PM (IST)
May 20: Delhi Capitals vs Chennai Super Kings, 67th Match, Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi, 3:30 PM (IST)
May 20: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Lucknow Super Giants, 68th Match, Eden Gardens, Kolkata, 7:30 PM (IST)
May 21: Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 69th Match, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, 3:30 PM (IST)
May 21: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Titans, 70th Match, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, 7:30 PM (IST)