Sam Curran stood in for Shikhar Dhawan as captain of Punjab Kings in today’s IPL fixture against Rajasthan Royals, with Jos Buttler and R Ashwin also ruled out of the match with fitness concerns.

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Sam Curran stepped out to contest the toss for PBKS, with Sanju Samson calling correctly and electing to bowl first. Regular captain Shikhar Dhawan picked up a niggle following Punjab’s last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and was replaced in the side by Atharva Taide.

Liam Livingstone also came into the XI for Sikandar Raza. Curran had stepped in for Dhawan in 2023 as well, but his selection as captain here is slightly surprising given Jitesh Sharma (also in the XI) is PBKS official vice-captain.

Buttler and Ashwin will also not take part in the fixture, with Samson confirming neither was 100 percent fit. Buttler scored a century against Royal Challengers Bengaluru last week, while Ashwin has gone wicketless in his last four matches for RR. Tanush Kotian and Rovman Powell came into the side to replace the two senior players respectively.

Rajasthan Royals currently sit at the top of the 2024 IPL table, having won four out of their opening five games. They are two points clear of Kolkata Knight Riders who have a game in hand.

Punjab Kings on the other hand have had a tricky start to their 2024 campaign. They currently sit in eighth position in the table having lost three of their first five games.