KL Rahul’s side will hope to make a winning start to their season, like they did in 2019 against the same opposition.kxp
It is finally time for Punjab Kings to enter the fray in the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League, as the KL Rahul led franchise look all set to start their new campaign against familiar foes, Rajasthan Royals. The two sides lock horns on Monday, April 12 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium to start off their IPL seasons.
While the road ahead in IPL 2021 would be long and treacherous, both franchises would be hoping to make a winning start to the season to build the right momentum from the get go.
Rajasthan Royals have a marginally better head-to-head record over Punjab Kings, but the latter won both games the last time the IPL was played in India. These two teams played the opening game against each other in 2019 as well, when Punjab managed to breach the Sawai Mansingh Stadium for the first time in their history. KL Rahul’s side would hope for a repeat of such a performance come Monday to start off on a good note.
Batting de Baadshah
Sanju Samson was the leading run getter for Rajasthan Royals last season. The 26-year-old has been handsomely rewarded for his performances last season by the franchise, as he will now captain them in 2021. Samson started off IPL 2020 in great form, and played a match-winning innings against Punjab Kings as well early on; and fans of Rajasthan Royals would hope for a repeat of history on Monday.
KL Rahul claimed the Orange Cap in IPL 2020 with 670 runs, finishing more than 50 runs ahead of anyone else last season. Captain Punjab has been the leading run getter for his franchise in his last three seasons, delivering the goods more often than not. Rahul amassed 115 runs in the two games against Rajasthan last season, and Punjab Kings would be optimistic for this rich vein of form to continue in 2021.
Bowling de Kings
Jofra Archer was the leading wicket-taker for Rajasthan Royals last season, but will be unavailable for the first part of this year at least due to injury. Second best for Rajasthan in 2020 was all-rounder Rahul Tewatia. The former Delhi and Punjab player bowled with a decent economy in the middle overs for the Royals last year, and his teammates would be hoping for more of the same in 2021.
Mohammed Shami has been Punjab Kings’ leading wicket-taker for two consecutive seasons, and started off last season with figures of 3/15 in the opener- his best ever in the history of the IPL. This season Shami could be aided by the arrival of new signings Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, both of whom performed brilliantly in the Big Bash League.
Mudde de Baat
Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings have the advantage of starting their seasons having watched the other six teams play their first games. Both team managements would have paid keen attention to the Delhi vs Chennai which was also played at the Wankhede Stadium, picking on their ideal teams for the surface and stadium.
The IPL is a long competition but nevertheless both Punjab and Rajasthan will want to start off with a win to build the right confidence and momentum for the coming games.
- Punjab have won the last two games played against Rajasthan in India.
- Punjab have won their opening game in three of their last four seasons, with the only loss coming last year in a Super Over.
- KL Rahul is just 78 runs away from getting to 2000 IPL runs for Punjab Kings.
KL Rahul (c and wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Jhye Richardson, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh.
Punjab Kings would want to shuffle around their very successful top-order, and will most likely stick to opening with Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. New recruits Shahrukh Khan and Moises Henriques could help strengthen that middle-order, and their all round abilities would be handy to give the skipper more options.
Jhye Richardson, Shami and Arshdeep Singh could be preferred on a seam friendly track in Mumbai, with Ravi Bishnoi possibly being the only frontline spinner for Monday.
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.