IPL 2021: PBKS' predicted XI against RR - Can a newly-recruited all-rounder solve Punjab Kings' middle-order issues?
KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings are set to begin their campaign in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Monday in match No 4 against Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. The Punjab-based franchise will enter the league with a new name, a revamped squad and a new outfit but the leadership remains the same. Rahul did exceptional job last year as a player but he failed to cross a few hurdles as captain.
But with a revamped squad and some new firepower, he will look to accomplish the mission, i.e., lifting the trophy.
Let’s have a look Punjab Kings’ predicted XI for their campaign opener against RR:
KL Rahul: The skipper has recently returned to form in the England ODIs and would like to replicate the performance he gave last season. The Orange Cap winner of IPL 2020 will be raring to go this season with all his guns blazing.
Mayank Agarwal: Rahul’ opening partner Mayank did a commendable job last season. His presence in the top of the order will help PBKS getting good starts no matter how strong the opposition bowling line-up is.
Chris Gayle: The PBKS fans would like to see the 'Universe Boss' smacking the RR bowlers out of the park. Gayle is one of the crucial cogs in the line-up who can make things easier for the team in case if either of the openers departs early.
Nicholas Pooran: Another Caribbean hard-hitter in the PBKS line-up who proved his mettle in the previous edition. Pooran provides the much-needed strength to the middle-order and has the capability of snatching games from the grip of opposition single-handedly.
Deepak Hooda: Hooda played well last season as he scored a couple of fifty-plus scores, especially when the team needed someone to fire in crunch situations. He will be expected to play the catalyst while batting down the order against RR tonight.
Moises Henriques: The Aussie cricketer has already clarified that he will share the winning formula with Rahul that he applied to lead Sydney Sixers to BBL title win. He returns to the league after a gap of three years and if he gets a chance tonight, it will be a big plus for the Rahul-led side.
Mandeep Singh: Mandeep has been a reliable face in Punjab’s middle-order almost every season. He is one of Rahul’s go-to players at this position. Mandeep also had some decent performances in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy and will be expected to continue the same form in IPL 2021 as well.
Murugan Ashwin: Ashwin will be expected to lead Punjab Kings’ spin attack this year. He had a decent season last year, picking up 10 wickets from 9 games.
Ravi Bishnoi: Bishnoi garnered the limelight in IPL 2020 which was his debut season. The leg-spinner featured in all the 14 matches and scalped 12 wickets at an average of 7.00. The youngsters can create major differences if he strikes on the right time.
Mohammed Shami: Shami will be back in action for the Punjab Kings after recovering from his thumb injury which he sustained during Test series Down Under. He is fit to play and will be leading the PBKS pace attack.
Jhye Richardson: The Australian left-arm quick is PBKS’ new recruit who will definitely add strength to the team’s pace bowling.
PBKS predicted XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Moises Henriques, Mandeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Jhye Richardson