PBKS Predicted XI vs Mumbai Indians: Imminent for Punjab Kings to hand a game to World's No. 1 T20I batsman
- Another defeat can really put their campaign in a bit of a spot, and it is imperative that PBKS assemble the best XI they possibly can.
With three defeats from four matches, Punjab Kings' IPL 2021 campaign is beginning to feel a lot like last year. They are coming off a comprehensive hammering at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad, who thrashed them by nine wickets in Chennai. It may still be early days in the competition, but the 2014 IPL finalists are in dire need to get their campaign on track as soon as possible.
A formidable Mumbai Indians stand against them next, who are hurting from a defeat of their own, and expect them to come all guns blazing against the Kings. Another defeat can really put their campaign in a bit of a spot, and it is imperative that PBKS assemble the best XI they possibly can.
1 KL Rahul (Captain/Wicketkeeper): Two half-centuries and two single-digit scores, KL Rahul seems to be stuck at two extremes. But the bigger worry is the speed at which he is scoring his runs. With 659, 593 and 670 runs in the last three editions respectively, Rahul needs to produce the kind of innings which made him an IPL blockbuster in the first place, and at a healthy strike-rate.
2 Mayank Agarwal: Rahul's opening partner Mayank Agarwal has scored a 69 so far, to go with 14, 0 and 22. Like Rahul, Mayank too needs to get a big score under his belt before it's too late. He is still their favourite bet to open the innings, but Mayank can't afford to leave things for much later.
3 Chris Gayle: 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle began IPL 2021 with a decent knock of 40 against the Rajasthan Royals, but having failed to enter the 20s in the last three outings is hurting PBKS at the top. It's odd to see the king of T20s struggling to get going in the middle and he would be aware that it needs to change rather quickly if he is to remain part of the Playing XI.
4 Dawid Malan: The big-hitting Nicholas Pooran has three ducks in four innings and it is about time PBKS let him go and bring in Dawid Malan, who is currently the No. 1 T20I batsman in the world. Malan is the ideal contender for PBKS in the middle order and the team should try and utilise the best the format has to offer.
5 Deepak Hooda: Deepak Hooda began with a fine knock but has since fallen for three scores of less than 20. It wouldn't be the worst of ideas to give him a break and bring in Sarfaraz Khan just to shake things up a little at No. 5.
6 Moises Henriques: The big-hitting Australian all-rounder scored 14 in his first game of the season but looks set to get one more game at least given what he's achieved in the Big Bash League for New South Wales.
7 Shahrukh Khan: Mohammad Shahrukh Khan is one of the best young all-rounders in India and he has shown what he's capable of in two of the four games he's played so far. Against CSK, Shahrukh scored a brilliant 47 batting lower and played a similar knock in the last game against the Sunrisers as well.
8 Chris Jordan: England all-rounder Chris Jordan replacing Fabian Allen makes sense since not only does it give the bowling some meat considering how good a death-overs bowler he is, but also the fact that Jordan's abilities with the bat at No. 8 could be beneficial to get some quick runs.
9 Murugan Ashwin/Ravi Bishnoi: Ravi Bishnoi was one of the emerging youngsters of last IPL but this year, the leg-spinner is yet to get a game for the Punjab Kings. With M Ashwin picking up one wicket in three games, PBKS might give Bishnoi a look-in ahead of Ashwin.
10 Mohammed Shami: One of the highest wicket-takers of last year, Mohammed Shami is still getting into the groove. The more he plays, the better it would be for him and the team.
11 Arshdeep Singh: The young left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh has shown glimpses of bowling in full rhythm. Whenever he's been able to do that, batsmen have looked uncomfortable against him.