The IPL for the first time had to be played across two phases. Punjab and Rajasthan are closely contesting for a spot in the playoffs. KL Rahul’s Punjab are currently at 6th position while Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan are at 5th position. Both the teams will be keen to start off their UAE campaign on a winning note in IPL 2021: PK vs RR.
Punjab Kings: Form
Punjab Kings have made plenty of changes to their setup yet have landed in the exact same place. They have won 3 games out of the 8 matches. Punjab last made the playoffs in 2014. It has been 6 years since that they haven’t made the playoffs. Punjab have been over-reliant on their openers. KL Rahul has been forced to play with restraint owing to their brittle batting order. Their bowling has worn a thin look as well. It is primarily their balance that has robbed them of momentum. The addition of Harpreet Brar has provided some spunk to the team. It will be interesting to see how Punjab fares in UAE.
Rajasthan Royals: Form
Rajasthan Royals are surprisingly not in such a bad position that people think they might be in. They have won the exact number of games as Punjab but in one lesser game. Their overseas stars have pulled out from the tournament for various reasons. But Royals to their credit have added quality replacements. The signing of Tabraiz Shamsi is sure to bolster their spin department. Even Lewis, Liam Livingstone are expected to add solidity to their batting. But a lot rests on their captain, Sanju Samson to shoulder the responsibility. He is the only prominent Indian figure in their setup. His form will make or break RR’s campaign in UAE.
IPL 2021: PK vs RR: Favourites?
The Royals seemed to have added solid replacements to their depleted squad. Tabraiz Shamsi’s signing especially is a good shot in the arm to their spin department. The Kings on the other hand continue to rely on their openers especially Rahul for a good outing. Royals hold a slight edge in this encounter.
Which players will be match-winners in this game?
KL Rahul has been a consistent force for the Punjab Kings in the last 3 years. He has had a great tour of England. Rahul will be wanting to bat with a bit more freedom in the UAE leg. A solid Rahul knock ensures a Punjab win.
Sanju Samson is at the crossroads of his international career. He has had a decent IPL to be honest but a middling Sri Lanka tour has put him down the pecking order. But an inspired batting campaign from Samson’s blade will bring great joy to not just his fans but the Royals contingent too.
Nicholas Pooran had a poor first half of the season in IPL 2021. But he looks in good touch owing to his CPL exploits. Punjab will be desperately looking for Pooran’s heroics in UAE.
Liam Livingstone is the toast of the season. He is already talked up as England’s next big thing. The royals will be hoping for a breakthrough season from him.
What do stats say about IPL 2021: PK vs RR?
RR and PK have played 22 IPL games against each other.
PK have won 10 games. RR have won 12 matches.
PK’s highest score against RR is 223. RR’s highest score against PK is 226.
PK’s lowest score against RR is 124. RR’s lowest score against PK is 112.
Probable playing XI:
Punjab Kings predicted XI:
KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Deepak Hooda, Harpreet Brar, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mohammad Shami, Ravi Bishnoi
Rajasthan Royals predicted XI:
Evin Lewis, Manan Vohra/Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (WK), Liam Livingstone, Shivam Dube, Riyan Parag, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya
The Dubai pitch does offer a bit for everyone. The batsmen can trust the true bounce. There will be swing early on. The early movement was quite evident in the match featuring MI and CSK. But if the openers are able to ride the early challenge then they might be in for a big knock. Batting big can add scoreboard pressure at this venue.
A high of 38 degrees and a low of 31 degrees is expected. There are no chances of rain. Dew might not play that big a factor here.
A total of 62 matches has been played at this venue. Teams batting first have won 35 games while chasing teams have won 26. The average scoring batting first at this venue is 144. On the other hand, the average 2nd innings score is a paltry 122. Anything above 160 will be a par score.
Even though it’s a battle between two lesser popular teams, the entertainment quotient is always right up there. RR look a more balanced outfit and go in with a slight advantage in this contest.