Friday’s action in the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League will see Punjab Kings take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Both those teams find themselves on different sides of the points table, as RCB have managed five wins so far while Punjab Kings have managed just two. Nevertheless, if recent history is anything to go by, one can expect a close contest when Punjab take on Bangalore.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Punjab Kings have the better head-to-head record against Virat Kohli’s side, and also won both games in the UAE in IPL 2020. Royal Challengers Bangalore however are the team in form this time around, having won five of their six matches in the competition thus far. Bangalore won their previous game against Delhi Capitals by just one run, and one can expect a similar, close contest on Friday when they play Punjab.
Batting de Baadshah
KL Rahul continues to top the charts for his team, with three fifties so far in IPL 2021. The 29-year-old got a start against Kolkata Knight Riders but couldn’t get a move on. Punjab Kings fans however will be optimistic for Rahul to get a big score on Friday, as he has got a fifty every alternate game in the IPL this year. Rahul was unbeaten on both occasions against RCB in 2020, scoring 193 in those two games.
Glenn Maxwell has made a good start to life with his new franchise, getting match-winning knocks against Kolkata and Delhi. The former Punjab Kings player seems to have slotted well into the middle-order at Royal Challengers Bangalore, but his erstwhile franchise would hope he has an off day on Friday.
Bowling de Kings
Mohammed Shami has been the leading wicket-taker for Punjab Kings since the past two seasons, and looks well on course to make that a hat-trick. The Indian fast bowler has delivered wickets early on for his side on three of the five occasions this season, and his franchise would be optimistic for him to deliver another strong performance on Friday.
Harshal Patel is the current Purple Cap holder in the IPL, with 17 wickets to his name. The 30-year-old has proved to be very deceptive with his changes of pace this season, and has delivered breakthroughs for Bangalore on almost all occasions in those middle overs. Patel has however proved to be expensive at times, conceding 37 runs off just one over in that game against Chennai Super Kings. Punjab Kings would therefore be hopeful of scoring some runs against the medium pacer in their next game.
Mudde di Baat
This game will be more important for Punjab Kings than their opponents, as they seek to get back to winning ways and climb up the table once again. If KL Rahul’s side lose on Friday, they would be under a lot of pressure to turn things around from that point onwards in the second half of the competition.
RCB are sitting pretty with five wins out of six, but will look to strengthen that position even more with another good performance on Friday. Virat Kohli’s team have the winning momentum with them and wouldn’t want to part with it now, with games coming thick and fast in IPL 2021.
- KL Rahul wasn’t dismissed even once against RCB in IPL 2020.
- Chris Gayle has a strike rate of over 259 against Mohammad Siraj.
- Mohammed Shami has dismissed Virat Kohli four times in seven games so far in the IPL.
Kl Rahul (c and wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Dawid Malan, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Chris Jordan, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.
Punjab Kings could make a few changes in their overseas players department, with Dawid Malan getting a game instead of the misfiring Nicholas Pooran. On the bowling front, the team management would be tempted to get Jhye Richardson back into the side with the pitches of Ahmedabad assisting pace, with Moises Henriques dropping out.
NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.