Punjab Kings don’t have too long to rest on their laurels following Friday night’s win over Kolkata Knight Riders, as they will be in action once again on Sunday, this time against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their first afternoon game of the UAE leg of the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League. The equation remains the same for KL Rahul’s side, they need to win on Sunday at the Sharjah Stadium to keep in contention for a playoff berth heading into their final group game.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Punjab Kings hold the advantage in the head-to-head record and also won the previous encounter between the two sides in this season. KL Rahul’s team would fancy their chances once again too, given their impressive performance against KKR still fresh in their minds.
RCB however cannot be taken lightly. Virat Kohli’s side are just one win away from qualifying for the playoffs and would like to get with games to spare by putting on a spirited performance against Punjab Kings on Sunday. Bangalore won their previous two games in UAE, and will be high on confidence heading into this weekend’s clash.
Batting de Baadshah
Glenn Maxwell looks like a man transformed in the IPL this season. After a couple of underwhelming seasons in the IPL, the Australian all-rounder has found his footing with a new franchise. Maxwell has four fifties already this year and has a healthy strike rate of over 140. The RCB man was out without scoring in the previous encounter against Punjab Kings, and would look to make amends this Sunday.
KL Rahul reclaimed the Orange Cap on Friday, as his sublime half century helped PBKS claim their fifth win of the competition. The 29-year-old is now against one of his most preferred oppositions in RCB, as he has two fifties and a century in his last three games against Virat Kohli’s team. Rahul would also be encouraged by Mayank Agarwal and Shahrukh Khan’s return to the franchise, allowing him to play more freely in these crucial games for his franchise.
Bowling de Kings
Harshal Patel seems to be running away with the Purple Cap this year, with 26 wickets to his name after just 11 matches. The medium pace bowler claimed the first hat-trick of IPL 2021 less than a fortnight ago, and will be full of confidence heading into Sunday. Patel has used his variations and slower balls to great effect, making it difficult for batsmen to hit him and picking up crucial wickets in the bargain.
Arshdeep Singh pipped past teammate Mohammed Shami on Friday as the leading wicket-taker for Punjab Kings this season. The left-arm pacer has been an answer to Punjab’s death bowling problems of the past, and has stood up to the task whenever called upon. Arshdeep has nine wickets in his last three games, and will be backing himself for another big performance come the weekend.
Mudde di Baat
Royal Challengers Bangalore sit pretty on 14 points after 11 games, and need just one more win from their remaining three matches to qualify for the playoffs. Punjab Kings on the other hand however have everything to play for this Sunday, as they need to win both their remaining games to stay alive in the competition.
KL Rahul’s team have already beaten RCB once this season, and will be optimistic to do the double come Sunday.
- Punjab Kings have won their last three games against RCB in the Indian Premier League.
- KL Rahul has scored 284 runs in his last three games against Bangalore without being dismissed even once.
- Mohammed Shami has 11 wickets at Sharjah which is the most by any bowler at that venue in the IPL.
KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Shahrukh Khan, Fabian Allen, Nathan Ellis, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh.
Punjab Kings wouldn’t want to tinker much from a winning combination, however Mandeep Singh could be reinstated to the team for this match with Deepak Hooda given some time out. The bowling unit seems well oiled, complimenting each other and it would be unlikely to see any changes there.
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.