Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have had a long-term rivalry since the early seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The latest chapter in this storied rivalry will unfold on Monday when Eoin Morgan's KKR take on KL Rahul's PBKS in Match 21 of IPL 2021. The recently inaugurated Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host this match.
Historically, KKR has had the upper hand over PBKS in the IPL so far. Across 27 games, the Kolkata-based franchise has won 18 clashes while PBKS ended on the winning side on nine occasions.
Both these teams were finalists in the 2014 IPL. Kolkata Knight Riders went on to win the IPL trophy that year courtesy of a magnificent knock from Manish Pandey.
PBKS are having problems with the balance of their side. The lack of top quality Indian all-rounders is hurting their chances of making a solid run in this IPL.
In the Chennai leg of the tournament, Punjab management dropped two of their primary foreign bowlers, Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, in favor of all-rounders Moises Henriques and Fabien Allen. The ploy did not reap any significant fruit for PBKS.
Neither player performed exceptionally well in the two games in Chennai.
PBKS will now play their next four games in Ahmedabad, where pitches offer some pace and bounce. KL Rahul and company will have to decide whether to stick with their all-rounders or bring back their international fast bowlers.
Leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi's good form will be a positive for the team going forward. The onus will be on Mohammed Shami and Arshadeep Singh to handle the death overs again on Monday.
PBKS current batsmen's stats against KKR
KL Rahul: IPL Matches - 11 | Runs - 297 | HS - 74 | Average - 37.13 | Strike rate - 147.76 | 50's - 4
Mayank Agarwal: IPL Matches - 11 | Runs - 209 | HS - 58 | Average - 20.90 | Strike rate - 129.01 | 50's - 2
Chris Gayle: IPL Matches - 18 | Runs - 700 | HS - 102* | Average - 46.67 | Strike rate - 152.17 | 50's - 5 | 100's - 1
Deepak Hooda: IPL Matches - 10 | Runs - 66 | HS - 21 | Average - 13.20 | Strike rate - 108.20 | 50's - 0
Nicholas Pooran: IPL Matches - 3 | Runs - 66 | HS - 48 | Average - 33 | Strike rate - 165 | 50's - 0
Moises Henriques: IPL Matches - 9 | Runs - 120 | HS - 41 | Average - 20 | Strike rate - 121.21 | 50's - 0
PBKS skipper KL Rahul has a terrible record while playing at the Narendra Modi Stadium. In 4 T20I games here, Rahul managed to score a paltry 15 runs during the T20I series against England in February.
The PBKS Team management will hope that KL Rahul can rectify his record at this venue.
Chris Gayle and Deepak Hooda have been in good touch in the middle order for the Punjab Kings this season. Their contribution with the bat will be crucial for the team's fortunes again in this game. Nicholas Pooran's dismal form is the only cause for concern for them in the batting department.
The Punjab Kings will look to continue their winning momentum when they take on the KKR side today.