After six games, Punjab Kings find themselves on the wrong end of the points table as they have managed to get just two wins under its kitty in the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League. Nevertheless, this could be a blessing in disguise for the franchise, who were in a similar position last year as well before they kick-started a late revival which almost got them through to the knockouts.
A revival which began with a thumping 8-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore, who just happen to be the next opponents for Punjab Kings in IPL 2021. Last time around, Punjab played Bangalore off the back of five consecutive defeats in a virtual do or die match, and this time too this situation isn’t very different.
Like with this year, in 2020 too Punjab went into the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore having lost a close match with Kolkata Knight Riders. In the 2020 season, Bangalore played Punjab Kings after winning five of their first seven matches and this time around too they have been victorious on four of the five they have taken the field.
Another parallel that can be drawn from the 2020 and 2021 seasons is that of venues. The Royal Challengers Bangalore played just their second game at the Sharjah International Stadium against Punjab, having won their previous match at that venue. Similarly, Punjab Kings were also playing their second game at Sharjah having lost their previous match at that venue. This time around, both sides will be playing their second games at the Narendra Modi Stadium, with RCB coming off a win while Punjab Kings were on the losing side last time around at this stadium.
Punjab Kings aren’t in the best of places at the moment, but their fans still have reason to keep their optimism given what transpired last season after their second game against Bangalore.
Big game prowess
Since KL Rahul became captain of Punjab Kings, the franchise seems to have found a knack of coming to the fore in the big games, against the toughest oppositions. Punjab Kings defeated all the four teams that made it to the knockouts last year at least once, while getting the better of Royal Challengers Bangalore on both occasions.
This time around too Punjab managed to defeat the defending champions Mumbai Indians, once again demonstrating that big game prowess. Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul too has a brilliant record against the big boys, as he averages 64.44 against Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Rahul got a big hundred last season against RCB, and Punjab Kings that kind of innings once again to kick-start a revival for his team in 2021.
“Every game from now on is going to be important for us, we as Punjab Kings have always been in that sort of position, we get to a point where we have to win everything. It is not a bad place to be in to be honest.”
KL Rahul had said this after losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad, and fortunately or unfortunately Punjab Kings find themselves in that sort of position now. Last time around, it was from this moment that Punjab Kings started a revival, winning four games on the trot after beating RCB that almost saw them get into the knockout stages of the IPL.
Punjab Kings already have two more points than they did last year at this time, two points which could make all the difference in the end if they can kick-start a comeback on Friday.