IPL 2024: 'We will play fearless cricket to win,' says PBKS skipper Jitesh ahead of final game

Hyderabad, May 18 (IANS): With Sam Curran returning home to England for international duties and Shikhar Dhawan still not fit, Punjab Kings (PBKS) wicketkeeper-batsman Jitesh Sharma will don the captain's hat for their final game of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday.

While Punjab has not been able to progress further in the competition, Jitesh insisted that his side will display fearless cricket on Sunday and will aim to finish off the season with a victory.

"The mood is more positive in the dressing room than before because we have nothing to lose now. The season has been inconsistent for us. But we played really good cricket and we had many positives throughout the season. The way Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma have played was excellent, and Harpreet Brar and Prabhsimran Singh have also been in good form throughout the season. In cricket, things can change in an instant. We just missed out on some luck," Jitesh summed up the season for his side at the pre-match press conference.

"Punjab Kings is famous for fearless cricket and we will be more fearless in the last game. Everyone will play with correct intent and we will be playing to win," the 30-year-old added.

Along with Curran, explosive opener Jonny Bairstow has also returned to England while Liam Livingstone, who suffered a knee niggle during the season, and speedster Chris Woakes, who left the season early due to personal reasons, will also not be available for the final game. But Jitesh believes the absence of England players will not affect his side's morale against Hyderabad.

"We have selected a few players for different reasons and have a good bench. It's a good opportunity for us and Punjab Kings to test our ability and our talent. There is no loss or anything bad that English players are not there."

Punjab Kings have had tough Power-play sessions with the bat this season, as the franchise lost early wickets in a few games. But Jitesh defended the top order and said that he is proud of the batting unit for always showcasing the right intent.

"I do not believe in numbers. I believe in good intent. The openers have shown good intent in each game. It's fine that the top order could not score more runs. But whenever they came to bat, they came to bat for the team, and not for themselves. You can see clearly, that they tried to give us a good start. That is more important," Jitesh said.

On being asked to sum up his season, the right-handed batter said that he has learned a lot and is confident of showcasing improvement in the coming years.

"I am such a player who is never happy. But I love it when the team wins. I agree that I have had ups and downs this season. My intent was good. I want my team to win. Personal goals are different for me. I had a very good learning his year. Now I have seen this phase, it will be better in the coming years," Jitesh signed off.

Punjab Kings will play their final game of the season against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.



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Title: IPL 2024: 'We will play fearless cricket to win,' says PBKS skipper Jitesh ahead of final game

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