PBKS stand-in captain Sam Curran, and Liam Livingstone IPL 2024.
PBKS stand-in captain Sam Curran, and Liam Livingstone IPL 2024. Image Credit: X

The Punjab Kings (PBKS) ended their last league of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, with a four-wicket defeat in the hands of the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

With that, PBKS end the league stage of the competition at the penultimate position in the points table with only five wins in 14 games, at a net run rate (NRR) of -0.353. On Sunday, against SRH, Punjab came with a team that had only one overseas player- Rilee Rossouw with their playing eleven.

They missed their three valuable players- captain Sam Curran, opener Jonny Bairstow and all-rounder Liam Livingstone. While the first two England players have flown back home due to taking part in the upcoming four match T20I series against Pakistan, Livingstone and South Africa pacer- Kagiso Rabada left the tournament midway due to respective injuries.

‘ECB had made it clear that all player will be available’ – PBKS coach Sanjay Bangar

With the IPL 2024 moving towards the business end, many teams have lost their England players due to the England Cricket Board (ECB) calling their players back for the T20I series, which will work as a preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

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Along with PBKS’s three players, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) also won’t get the services of Phil Salt for the last week of the tournament, while Will Jacks and Reece Tropley won’t be available for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB). The absence of Jos Buttler has already been a huge blown to the Rajasthan Royals (RR).

The PBKS coach Sanjay Bangar expressed that the ECB had assured them full availability of the England players for the entire Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, but given the extended period of the competition, the plans might have changed a little.

‘When we went to the auction, the ECB had made it clear that all the players will be available. It is just that it so happens that the tournament got slightly extended, I would say, because of multiple reasons. Everybody was in a similar position but we lost those English players,” PBKS coach Sanjay Bangar revealed at the post-match press conference.

PBKS was already down with their appointed captain Shikhar Dhawan, who missed more than half of the season due to injury. In his place, Sam Curran led the team, and when the latter returned back home, Jitesh Sharma, who came as the PBKS captain during the photoshoot on the eve of the tournament, took the captaincy for the last game of their season against SRH.

The former India all-rounder, Bangar said that the lack of their international players, who came with pedigree and experience hurt them in the season, while a few other factors like their poor batting and bowling also contributed in the disappointing season.

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‘For us, even losing Livingstone with a niggle around his knee, the ECB pulling him out. Even KG (Kagiso Rabada) had an infection and he had to go back (to South Africa).

“Those things coupled together meant that when we came to the last two matches, we were short of players of international pedigree and experience. That hurt us but that is not the sole reason why our season was below par,’  The PBKS coach remarked during the presser.

The Punjab Kings have now made their journey into the top four only twice in 17 seasons in its history.