IPL 2021 RR vs PBKS – Punjab Kings Playing XI: After yet another disappointing season last year, KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings will begin their IPL 2021 campaign against Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Monday. With Shahrukh Khan in as an exciting middle-order batsman, who could accelerate in no time, Punjab have a selection headache in terms of Chris Gayle — whether to stick with him or send World No 1 T20I batsman Dawid Malan at No 3 instead. As it seems, PBKS will keep their trust in the Universe Boss with the England batsman at No 4 when they face RR on Monday at the Wankhede Stadium.
According to PBKS batting coach Wasim Jaffer, Rahul, Agarwal was phenomenal last IPL and will get the nod in his opinion.
“Our opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul has been a phenomenon for Punjab Kings last year before Chris Gayle joined in. Gayle gave us a great impetus at no 3. It was something new for him and the team. Gayle coming in at number 3 put pressure on the opponent team’s spinners and bowlers in the middle overs. Mayank, KL & Gayle have scored runs heavily. The opening duo was in sublime form. They were our top player. I see no reason why the team would like to alter the batting order. Hopefully, we start with KL, Mayank & Gayle at no 3. I tend to believe we have one of the best top-order in the tournament,” Wasim Jaffer told Insidesport.co in an exclusive interview.
IPL 2021 RR vs PBKS – Punjab Kings Playing XI: Punjab to stick with Chris Gayle as No 3:
The No 3 spot was a big concern for Punjab last season but once Gayle was handed the responsibility the tides had turned in their favour. It is true that the West Indian is no longer his old self, but he still has the x-factor which keeps him going.
In seven games last season, Gayle scored 288 runs at a strike rate and average of 137.14 and 41.41 respectively. He led Punjab Kings to a five-match winning streak with his blitzkrieg of performance.
To put this in perspective, Here’s a quick look at Gayle’s impact in this tournament last year & mind it Punjab team was struggling for a victory till that time.
- vs RCB, Sharjah: 53 off 45 balls. Took his time, but made sure he hit the big sixes to help KXIP snap their losing run.
- vs MI, Dubai. 24 off 21 balls. A cameo in the run-chase followed by a statement six at the start of the second Super Over as KXIP won the match of the tournament.
- vs DC, Dubai. 29 off 13 balls. Went after Tushar Deshpande in the powerplay, knowing KXIP needed to target Delhi’s fifth bowler.
- vs SRH, Abu Dhabi. 20 off 20 balls. No real impact in this match but his wicket was a turning point for SRH to restrict the Punjab batting lineup.
- vs KKR, Sharjah. 51 off 29 balls. Came into bat when KXIP did not have momentum in the run-chase and turned the tables around completely.
What stood out for most of the tournament is how Gayle picked up the pace of the tournament even after joining late. And the Gayle Storm against Rajasthan Royals where he scored an impressive 99 bears testament to the claim.
IPL 2021 RR vs PBKS – Punjab Kings Playing XI: Who will open for PBKS against RR?
In KL Rahul, Punjab have a set opener who emerged as the top-scorer of IPL 2020 with 670 runs in 14 matches with a whopping 55.83 average. His opening partner and Karnataka teammate Mayank Agarwal too had a decent season, scoring 424 runs with an average of 38.54. Considering that, it is likely that Rahul will open for PBKS this time too, barring any late developments.
No 4: Dawid Malan: World’s No 1 T20I batsman is all set to make his debut in the IPL. While he has been impressive in T20Is, he hasn’t really shined in Indian conditions. In five innings during the India vs England T20I series, Malan scored just one half-century and managed a strike rate of 120.32. But he is still expected to get the nod with Punjab considering an Indian pace attack in place of Chris Jordan or Riley Meredith.
IPL 2021 RR vs PBKS – Punjab Kings Playing XI: What will be the middle-order?
No 5 – Nicholas Pooran: The West Indies wicket-keeper batsman is one to watch out for. Not only he can strike the ball from the word go, he is a valuable addition being a wicket-keeper. With 353 runs from 14 innings last season, Pooran was one of the top-scorers for PBKS and will retain his place in the Playing XI at No 5.
No 6 – Shahrukh Khan: The Tamil Nadu batsman was picked up for Rs 5.25 crore from the auction for his impressive batting skills. He is one who can get hammer bowlers all around the park without dropping a sweat. He has already impressed in Punjab nets and will make his IPL debut on Monday.
No 7 Jhye Richardson: Punjab’s most expensive pick in the IPL 2021 auction, the 24-year-old Australian speedster has already made a name in T20 cricket with his rich exploits in the Big Bash League. Furthermore, he has impressed with his bowling against New Zealand in the T20Is. With a little bit of batting skills, he is set to make his IPL debut as well.
IPL 2021 RR vs PBKS – Punjab Kings Playing XI: What will be the lower-order?
As for the rest of the positions, Ishan Porel, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami and Ravi Bishnoi are likely to complete the Playing XI. PBKS management will have tough time in deciding between Porel & Arshdeep Singh as pace partner for Shami.
IPL 2021 RR vs PBKS – Punjab Kings Likely Playing XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Dawid Malan, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, Ishan Porel, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi
Punjab Kings Full Squad: KL Rahul (c&wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar
IPL 2021 RR vs PBKS live on Monday at 7.30 PM, follow for LIVE Updates on InsideSport.co