The Indian Premier League is the highlight in the cricket calendar for thousands of fans across the world as the flamboyant and exuberant competition provides an excitement and intensity like no other.
Two new franchises have joined the 2022 tournament: the Gujarat Titans and Lucknow SuperGiants captained by Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul respectively. Not only is this their first year in the competition, but they are also leading the way in the league table with only 14 matches left in the group stage altogether.
Jos Buttler has been the standout performer in this year’s tournament so far, lighting up the stage with three centuries, three 50s and 37 sixes hit overall.
But as we prepare for the Royal Challengers Bangalore to take on the Punjab Kings, here is what their combined dream team could look like.
When is RCB v PBKS?
The two teams will meet today, Friday 13 May 2022 and the game is scheduled to begin at 3pm BST. The match will be available to watch on Sky Sports.
Faf du Plessis.
Despite being 37 years of age, Faf du Plessis is still one of the greatest fielders of all time and is currently his side’s top run-scorer.
Currently captaining the Royal Challengers of Bangalore, du Plessis has scored 389 runs at an average of 35.36.
He achieved a high score of 96 and has plenty of experience captaining a team. The 2019 South African Cricketer of the Year previously captained his country from 2017 until he announced his retirement in 2021.
The England all-rounder shot to fame during last year’s The Hundred tournament where he led his side - Birmingham Phoenix - to the final, becoming the tournament’s top run-scorer in the process.
He is currently the Punjab Kings second highest run scorer with 315 runs to his name and has also added value with his ability to bowl as both a leg and off spinner.
South Africa’s star bowler is proving to be just as destructive as his opponents’ feared. He has taken 18 wickets for the Punjab Kings in his 10 games and is a certainty to make things happen in the death overs.
He has an ability to bowl consistently at around 145 kph and currently sits on an IPL average of 17.94 for 2022.
At 36-years-old it seems Dinesh Karthik is at the top of his game in the limited-overs tournament.
Batting down at number five and standing as RCB’s wicket-keeper, Karthik has also scored 274 runs at an average of 68.50 - one of the highest averages at this year’s tournament.
If his openers slip up, he is sure to provide phenomenal backing for his side.
Jonny Bairstow has been omitted from this dream squad in favour of West Indian all-rounder Odean Smith.
Bairstow has been in a mixture of form in recent months but has proceeded to still score 136 runs in his eight matches.
Smith, however, can offer much more power and strength with both bat and ball. In the tournament so far, his best figures are 4/30 while also enjoying a batting average of 17.00.
Jitesh Sharma is also a conflicting case. He has performed outstandingly well for the Punjab Kings so far but his wicket-keeping counterpart Dinesh Karthik has the edge.
Sharma would be an excellent addition for the batting line-up if Shabhez Ahmed were to sustain an injury, but in terms of wicket-keepers, there was one very clear winner.
Shikhar Dhawan; Faf du Plessis; Virat Kohli; Liam Livingstone; Dinesh Karthik (wk); Shabhez Ahmed; Glenn Maxwell; Warindu Hasaranga; Odean Smith; Kagiso Rabada; Josh Hazlewood.