Punjab Kings (PBKS) emerged victorious by a narrow margin of 4 runs in their opening encounter of IPL 2021 against the Rajasthan Royals.
They struggled to get going against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in their next encounter. In 20 overs, PBKS could score only 106 runs for the loss of 8 wickets. Apart from Shahrukh Khan, all batsmen struggled to score runs. CSK chased down the target with ease in 15.4 overs and won the match by 6 wickets.
In their third match, despite scoring 195 runs against the Delhi Capitals, PBKS failed to defend it. Delhi won the match by 6 wickets and with 10 balls to spare.
Having barely gotten over the line in their first game and comprehensively lost the last two, PBKS should consider changing up to their playing XI.
Here's presenting 3 possible substitutions:
1. Dawid Malan for Nicholas Pooran
Nicholas Pooran has struggled in IPL 2021. He was dismissed for a duck in his first two matches this season and scored 9 runs against the Delhi Capitals on Sunday. Pooran has thus averaged 3 runs per innings so far.
The team management could consider replacing Pooran with Dawid Malan.
Dawid Malan is the number one ranked batsman in T20Is. He has been exceptional in T20Is over the past couple of seasons. In 24 T20I innings, the left-handed batsman has scored 1003 runs at an average of 50.15 and a strike-rate of 144.32. He has 10 half-centuries and 1 century to his credit and has single-handedly won matches for England in the T20 format.
Malan usually starts his innings with caution but is really dangerous once he gets going, especially in the death overs.
Malan scored 148 runs in 5 T20Is against India last month. He has been in India for more than a month and should be acclimatized to the conditions by now.
It is high time Punjab started using the dynamic batsman in Pooran's place instead of keeping him benched.
2. Chris Jordan for Riley Meredith
Meredith has not been able to adapt to the Indian pitches in IPL 2021. In 3 matches, he has picked up 2 wickets at an average of 52.50 and a disappointing economy rate of 10.50. The management could drop Meredith from the playing XI in the next few matches.
Chris Jordan could play his first game for PBKS in IPL 2021. He is an experienced T20 bowler and has played 20 IPL games, picking up 21 wickets at an average of 28.67.
Jordan, being a vital member of England in the T20 format, has picked up 70 wickets at an average of 26.69 at the international level. He is known to be a death-overs specialist and would perfectly suit Punjab's need for the hour.
Jordan doubles up as a handy batsman lower down the order and can score vital runs towards the end of the innings. He could be the perfect number 7 for PBKS.
3. Ravi Bishnoi as the specialist spinner
Punjab Kings fielded Murugan Ashwin in their first two matches of IPL 2021. Ashwin bowled 7 overs in those two games, conceding 75 runs and picking up 1 wicket. His economy rate of 10.71 and average of 75 made way for Jalaj Saxena in the playing XI in their third match of the season.
Saxena was picked as the frontline spinner in Punjab's game against the Delhi Capitals on Sunday. He bowled 3 wicketless overs conceding 27 runs and did not create much of an impact.
The management could consider getting Ravi Bishnoi in the playing XI. Bishnoi had a decent IPL 2020. In 14 matches, he picked up 12 wickets at an average of 31.33 and an economy rate of 7.37.
The 20-year-old leg-spinner definitely deserves a place in the playing XI for PBKS.