It's the 2nd placed Delhi Capitals (DC) versus the 6th placed Punjab Kings (PBKS) in IPL 2021 tonight. Both teams have had contrasting performances so far in the tournament. DC have been very consistent, albeit with the odd hiccup, while PBKS have been fairly underwhelming but still boast three fantastic wins.
With Harpreet Brar's inspired performance against Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore rejuvenating their season once again, PBKS have some momentum at their disposal. KL Rahul and Chris Gayle have regained their natural touch while their middle-overs bowling has shown drastic improvement. All they need is a better showing with the ball in the death overs.
DC have been magnificent in all three departments and Ricky Ponting seems to have a galvanizing effect on the young squad. They, too, are coming off their most clinical win of the season - against the Kolkata Knight Riders by 7 wickets - and will settle for nothing but a continuation of their juggernaut.
IPL 2021, PBKS vs DC: 3 bowlers to watch out for
Ahmedabad has been a 170-175 inviting ground this season. Two of the four games played have been won by the sides batting first, but one of these was a 1-run defeat to DC. Runs in the powerplay are worth in gold because the ball tends to grip in the 2nd half of the innings.
As was evident in the last match here, spinners will have a huge role to play here with bigger boundaries on both sides of the ground but seamers can't be ruled out completely as well. On that note, let's look at the top 3 bowlers to watch out for.
#3 Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada hasn't looked at his best so far in IPL 2021, with his average and strike rate doubling from last season. But this could be the pacer's breakthrough game.
In DC's clash with KKR, Kagiso Rabada went wicketless and conceded 31 runs from his four overs against the likes of Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik. However, PBKS don't have a lower order of similar quality and Rabada will fancy his chances against Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran and Shahrukh Khan.
Moreover, Kagiso Rabada has a brilliant record against PBKS. In 6 games, he has picked up 9 snares at an average of 19 and a strike rate of 14.67 against the Mohali-based franchise. It will be particularly fascinating to watch him bowl against Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal.
#2 Harpreet Brar
There are few better troikas to account for in your first game than Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers. Harpreet Brar will be beaming with confidence after such a performance and will look the build on it against DC.
His accurate left-arm spin with subtle variations in pace and length could prove very effective against DC's middle-order. Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant will certainly look to target him with the get-go and if he can keep his calm, Brar could be one of the top wicket-takers of this game.
#1 Axar Patel
Axar Patel bowling in his home city of Ahmedabad rekindles the memories of his superb debut Test series against England. The left-arm off-spinner is well-acquainted with the pitch and the dimensions at the Narendra Modi Stadium and could be a handful against the PBKS batters.
Surprisingly, Axar Patel has played just 3 out of his 100 IPL games against the Punjab Kings. In these games, he has picked four wickets at an average of 15.75. Pant employed him as his strike bowler against KKR, using one of the overs in the powerplay, one in the mid-innings, and two in the slog overs.
The 27-year-old repaid the faith of his skipper by picking 2 crucial wickets - Nitish Rana and Karthik - for just 32 runs. He'll perhaps take up a similar role in this game and will be the most significant bowler to watch out for.