The Punjab Kings (PBKS) will go up against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Monday, 26th April, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad as IPL 2021 action moves to Ahmedabad and Delhi post the conclusion of the Chennai and Mumbai legs of the tournament.
PBKS are coming off a morale-boosting nine-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians (MI) in their last game. KKR, meanwhile, have endured a tough start to their campaign, losing four games on the trot after winning their opener. In their last outing, KKR endured a humbling against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.
PBKS, who bowled well against MI on a sluggish surface, will fancy their chances in Ahmedabad, which is likely to offer similar tracks. Ravi Bishnoi put in an impressive shift along with Deepak Hooda on the spin-bowling front. Moises Henriques, Mohammed Sham and Arshdeep Singh also performed admirably to restrict MI to a sub-par total of 131-6.
In response, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal teed off in the powerplay. After Agarwal's dismissal, Rahul and Gayle got the team home with 14 deliveries to spare. It was a complete team performance from PBKS, who completely dominated their opponents on the day.
Given the resources they have sitting on the bench, PBKS will back themselves to produce another good performance against KKR in Ahmedabad.
KKR, meanwhile, produced a surprisingly muted batting display on a slightly slower Wankhede wicket. Put into bat by RR, KKR struggled to score at six runs per over for most of their innings, with Rahul Tripathi and Dinesh Karthik the only batters to show some intent. With Andre Russell coming in too late and some accurate bowling from the Royals, KKR finished with an underwhelming total of 133-9.
Though KKR picked up some wickets, a mature innings from Sanju Samson and a good finish from David Miller helped the Royals past the finish line. KKR need to get a settled batting order and select the best batting position for Andre Russell. Given their overseas contingent and bench strength, KKR will look to fare better in the Ahmedabad leg of their campaign.
Both both teams splitting their two meetings last year, an exciting encounter could ensue.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs KKR Match Details
Date: 26th April 2021 (Monday).
Time: 7:30 PM IST.
Venue: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.
It should be a hot evening in Ahmedabad, with an average temperature of around 40 degrees Celsius predicted. There shouldn't be much dew, but the captain winning the toss could look to chase, though.
The wicket in Ahmedabad should be a balanced one with something in it for both seamers and spinners. While the pitch could be on the slower side, batsmen should find it easy after settling in. A score of around 170-180 runs could be competitive.
The Punjab Kings (PBKS) shouldn't deviate much from their winning combination. Jhye Richardson could come back to the side in place of Fabian Allen, looking at the conditions on offer. Otherwise, they should field an unchanged XI.
PBKS: KL Rahul (C/WK), Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Moises Henriques, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson/ Fabian Allen, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Despite their loss to RR, there's no reason for KKR to juggle their pack too much. They are playing close to their best playing XI, but they need to set their batting order right and bowl better on the day. Lockie Ferguson could replace Sunil Narine, keeping in mind the conditions in Ahmedabad, but they shouldn't make too many other changes.
KKR: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine/ Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs KKR Match Prediction
While it's difficult to predict which team could have the upper hand on this brand-new surface, PBKS, with their winning momentum, start as the marginal favourites. They look more settled as a team, and if their top order fires, they'll fancy their chances of beating a struggling KKR team.
Prediction: PBKS to win.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs KKR - TV and Live Streaming Details
TV: Star Sports Network.
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP.