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Reviewing Punjab Kings’ IPL 2024 Season: Positives, Negatives and Who Should They Retain Ahead of The 2025 Mega Auction

Where They Finished in This Cycle

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Punjab Kings. Image Credits – BCCI
  • 2022: 6th
  • 2023: 8th
  • 2024: 9th

Read More: Reviewing Mumbai Indians IPL 2024 Season: Positives and Negatives and Who Should They Retain Ahead of The 2025 Mega Auction

Punjab Kings’ Season at a Glance

IPL 2024 marked a full decade since Punjab Kings last made it to the playoffs, with their inconsistency once again to blame. On days when their top-order faltered, which was quite often in the first half of the season, PBKS struggled to post a par score. However, there were also standout days, such as when they chased down a target of 262 set by the eventual league toppers with eight balls to spare. Incidentally, their uncapped Indian batters, initially considered inexperienced and a weak link, were the ones who shone brightly in another season of close misses.

Skipper Shikhar Dhawan’s tournament-ending shoulder injury early in the season put a spanner in the works, leaving PBKS short on captaincy experience and in the openers’ role. This, coupled with the lack of returns from the foreign stars, a new home venue that took some getting used to, several last-over finishes that never went in their favor, and inconsistent bowling performances, meant Punjab’s season never really gained any steam.

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Punjab Kings’ Player of the Season: Shashank Singh

Unfazed by the auction room drama, Shashank Singh let his bat do all the talking. In a team plagued by inconsistencies in the batting order, Shashank emerged as their most reliable batter and the leading run-getter of the season with 354 runs in 14 innings at an average of 44.25 and a strike rate close to 165. As the team’s designated finisher, he began with a first-ball duck but quickly turned things around, taking his team over the finish line in three of their most memorable wins in IPL 2024, eventually earning a promotion to number 4 in the beleaguered batting order.

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Shashank Singh. Image Credits – BCCI

Shashank struck a 29-ball 61* in PBKS’ stunning 200-run chase in Ahmedabad, coming in at 111/5, and proved it was no fluke by hammering 68* in 28 balls at the Eden Gardens, helping Punjab register the highest ever chase recorded in T20 cricket. Although he only bowled one over in the 14 games, he showed he could be a handy option by dismissing Abhishek Sharma with the first ball in Hyderabad.

Punjab Kings’ Best Game

The historic chase at Eden Gardens stands out as Punjab Kings’ best game of the season. When the Narine-Salt led attack saw KKR plunder a jaw-dropping 261/6, not many gave Punjab Kings a chance, especially after they had just dropped four games in a row at their home in Mullanpur. However, Jonny Bairstow and Prabhsimran Singh decided to flick the switch and turn around their indifferent season thus far.

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Prabhsimran led the charge with a blistering 20-ball 54 in a 93-run opening stand, while Bairstow scored a fine century, remaining unbeaten with 108 off just 48 deliveries, laying into the KKR attack. Providing the finishing touches was Shashank Singh, who came in at a crucial juncture—178/2 with the visitors still needing 84 off 7.3 overs—and made 68 of those himself, laced with eight towering sixes. Shashank’s heroics propelled PBKS to the finish line with 1.2 overs to spare as they wrote and rewrote several records that night.

Positives- A Move That Worked For Punjab Kings

Backing the Indian uncapped talent proved to be a successful strategy for Punjab Kings. Sanjay Bangar, the Director of Cricket at PBKS, encouraged Ashutosh Sharma at the pre-season camp to embrace his talent rather than seeing himself merely as a slogger. This mindset shift was pivotal for Sharma, who credited it for his success as the team’s hard-hitting finisher, particularly highlighted by his debut knock in Ahmedabad.

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Ashutosh Sharma. Image Credits – BCCI

Shashank Singh also benefited from clear role definition and support despite a poor start in his debut game, leading to a breakout season that positioned him as a top contender for retention. Prabhsimran Singh transitioned from being an impact substitute to the team’s opener after Dhawan’s injury, rewarding the team’s faith with explosive half-century knocks against KKR and SRH. Additionally, Harpreet Brar, while only picking up 7 wickets, maintained an impressive economy rate of 7.97, the best among Punjab’s regular bowlers.

Negatives- A Move That Didn’t Work For Punjab Kings

The performance of the overseas batters was a significant drawback for Punjab Kings. Jonny Bairstow, despite scoring a century, only contributed around 40 runs in his other innings. Sam Curran, who stepped in as captain for much of the season and did improve the bowling department, struggled with the bat, delivering low returns that hurt PBKS.

Liam Livingstone faced hamstring and knee troubles, which led to him being in and out of the team frequently, and when he did play, he failed to meet his usual high standards in the shortest format. Bairstow managed 298 runs, Curran contributed 270, and Livingstone added just 111 in his seven appearances, making the overseas batters the biggest flop of the season for Punjab Kings.

Stars of This Cycle For Punjab Kings

One consistent strength for Punjab Kings throughout this cycle has been their finishers. Whether it was Jitesh Sharma in 2022 and 2023, who eventually made his India debut in T20Is, or Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma in the 2024 season, PBKS’s finishers consistently stepped up. Despite Jitesh having a forgettable year in 2024, which potentially cost him a World Cup berth, Shashank and Ashutosh Sharma maintained the momentum, delivering crucial runs at the backend of innings.

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Kagiso Rabada. Image Credits – BCCI

Shashank, in particular, was impressive. Despite two poor outings with the bat towards the end of the season, he finished the league round fourth on the list of the best strikers at death, amassing 135 runs off 61 balls at a staggering strike rate of 221.31. This remarkable performance ensured that PBKS continued to have reliable finishers throughout the cycle.

Who Should They Retain Ahead of The 2025 Mega Auction

Ahead of the 2025 Mega Auction, Punjab Kings face crucial decisions regarding player retention. Among the candidates, Arshdeep Singh stands out as a reliable bowler whose consistent performances have been instrumental for the team. Shashank Singh’s breakout season in 2024 showcased his prowess as a dependable finisher and top-order batsman, making him a strong contender for retention. The choice between Prabhsimran Singh and Jitesh Sharma is pivotal, with Prabhsimran’s explosive innings as an opener and Jitesh’s track record as a consistent finisher and India debutant in T20Is both adding weight to their retention prospects.

*Retention/RTM rules ahead of the mega auction haven’t been finalized by the IPL GC. This is just a hypothetical case.

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