RR vs PBKS IPL 2021 Preview and Predictions: Archer-less Rajasthan look for consistency under Samson
Punjab Kings' batting coach Wasim Jaffer wants skipper KL Rahul to bat in his natural style and not worry too much about batting collapses.
Leaving IPL 2020 behind
Both Punjab and Rajasthan did not have a great run in IPL 2020 and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
While Punjab Kings finished at the 6th spot with 6 wins and 8 losses, Rajasthan Royals had identical figures but an inferior net run rate as they finished with the wooden spoon.
Jofra Archer's unavailability
It was the first instance when a player from the bottom placed team won the Most Valuable Player of the season award, and it was none other than Jofra Archer, for his sensational bowling in IPL 2020. It comes as a big setback for Rajasthan that Archer is not available at least for the first four matches of IPL 2021.
Onus on Buttler, Stokes, Morris
However, that gives them an opportunity to try an extra overseas batsman which will provide stability to their middle order. Rajasthan are likely to go with Liam Livingstone who will partner Shivam Dube, Chris Morris and Rahul Tewatia in what looks like an impressive lower middle order.
Jos Butler, Sanju Samson and Ben Stokes will form Rajasthan Royals' top 3. Kartik Tyagi is the main Indian pacer for RR while they continue to bank on Jaydev Unadkat and Shreyas Gopal, both of whom have tasted success for the franchise over the years.
Rahul, Aggarwal, Gayle - Punjab's top 3
They will come up against Kings XI Punjab, now Punjab kings, who have had their own share of troubles. Punjab played some good cricket to begin with in IPL 2020 but could not close out on crunch situations, which is what cost them a playoff spot.
KL Rahul is expected to keep wickets and open the batting for Punjab Kings. The skipper will have Mayank Agrawal for company. The duo will try to reproduce their excellent batting performances of the last season.
Punjab have Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Mandeep Singh in the middle order. Big hitter Shahrukh Khan is likely to be their finisher.
Richardson and Shami to lead Punjab's bowling
Punjab also have Jhye Richardson as their big-ticket overseas pace bowler. The team can choose to play both spinners in Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin or play one of them and slot in either Chris Jordan or Riley Meredith in the XI. Mohd Shami and Arshdeep Singh are the leading Indian pace bowlers for the franchise.
Top Batsman - Runs Scored - Liam Livingstone (RR), Nicholas Pooran (PK)
Top Bowler - Wickets Taken - Chris Morris (RR), Mohammed Shami (PK)
Most Sixes - Liam Livingstone (RR), Nicholas Pooran (PK)
Here are the predicted playing XIs:
Rajasthan Royals – Jos Buttler (WK), Sanju Samson (C&WK), Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Liam Livingstone, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal & Kartik Tyagi.
Punjab Kings – KL Rahul (C&WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Mandeep Singh, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi/Murugan Ashwin, Chris Jordan/Riley Meredith, Mohammed Shami & Arshdeep Singh.
© Cricket World 2021