Former Indian batter Aakash Chopra termed West Indian all-rounder Odean Smith as a weak link in the Punjab Kings (PBKS) bowling line-up that could hurt their IPL 2022 campaign.
Smith, 25, has had a mixed run in IPL 2022 so far. He conceded two sixes off the last two balls against the Gujarat Titans (GT) as Punjab were stunned in a thriller. However, he redeemed himself with figures of four for 30 in PBKS’ win over Mumbai Indians (MI) in their last match.
PBKS will take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their next IPL 2022 clash at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday. Previewing the game, Chopra said on his YouTube channel that Punjab’s fifth bowler is a matter of concern. He explained:
“PBKS’ batting is very strong and they go on an all-out attack, but their bowling suffers at times. Odean Smith’s bowling is a problem for them. Whether he is picking wickets or not, he is going for 40 in four, sometimes in three. Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh and Rahul Chahar are their main bowlers. Rahul was hammered in the last game, but that will not happen every time. Vaibhav Arora is doing alright.”
In five matches in the ongoing IPL season, Smith has claimed six wickets at a high economy rate of 12.14. He conceded 30 runs in an over against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as Andre Russell launched a brutal assault on him.
“Good signs for PBKS in the batting” – Aakash Chopra
According to Chopra, if Punjab can sort out their fifth bowler issue, they will be a stronger side since their batting has hit form. The franchise posted 198 for five against Mumbai in their last match. Analyzing PBKS’ batting riches, he said:
“Punjab are playing attacking cricket and they will keep playing that way. There are good signs for PBKS in the batting as Mayank Agarwal has hit form. Shikhar Dhawan has got a big score against his name. Jitesh (Sharma) has been impressive and has batted well. You would expect Liam Livingstone to score runs, but Bairstow will have to find form.”
Agarwal was the Player of the Match for his 32-ball 52 against Mumbai. Dhawan top-scored with 70 off 50 while Sharma contributed a vital 30* in 15 balls.