Ahmedabad: The Punjab Kings (PBKS) will battle formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the 26th match of IPL 2021 on Friday, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Both the teams have had contrasting opening in IPL 2021. On one side, PBKS have just managed two wins in six games while RCB have won five out of six.
It seems nothing is working that great for Punjab Kings, neither a change of the club nor the change in the team. While skipper KL Rahul continues to lead from the front, no other player in the team has managed to impress.
PBKS' batting weaknesses were already on the display when they played against CSK, SRH and KKR, where they collapsed after KL Rahul got dismissed early. Rahul has scored 91, 5, 61, 4, 60 not out and 19 so far in the tournament. Apart from the captain KL Rahul, every other batsman in the playing XI has failed to score an impressive knock. Universe Boss Chris Gayle hasn't got runs under his belt while opener Mayank Agarwal and Deepak Hooda got a few scores recently but the team haven't seen three or four of their key stars score big together in one match. Punjab’s power-hitter, Nicholas Pooran is having a woeful season. Punjab fans will definitely love to see some shuffle in the team. It’s time that club will bring in Dawid Malan into the team to provide some stability to their middle-order.
Coming to the bowling, PBKS are pretty decent but top T20 bowlers, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith and Chris Jordan haven’t delivered with the ball so far. Mohammed Shami, Arshadeep Singh, Ravi Bishnoi managed to bag wickets but they are not proving as any match-winning factor.
On the other hand, RCB led by Virat Kohli will be high on confidence after they held their nerves to defeat Delhi Capitals by one-run. The likes of Devdutt Padikkal, Glenn Maxwell and Ab de Villiers are in stellar form. PBKS on Friday will not discount the threat posed by Virat Kohli, who has been surprisingly quiet so far. The team has big batting lineup and can also see Rajat Patidar at No 3 showing his mettle while Kyle Jamieson can also hit a few down the order.
RCB's bowling unit would have got a lot of confidence after they managed to ruin a late attack from Delhi Capitals and the likes of Kyle Jamieson and Mohammed Siraj would benefit from the outing. The in-form RCB bowler, Harshal Patel, will get another chance to add more wickets in his bag, especially against an out-of-form batting lineup.
On paper it's a match between two balanced sides but if we look at the form, RCB holds the upper hand. On Friday, the Punjab club needs to win desperately to enter the second phase of the tournament on a high.
PBKS: KL Rahul (C and WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami
RCB: Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Washington Sundar, Daniel Sams, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Siraj