Punjab Kings (PBKS) will be taking on the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Match 26 of the IPL 2021 season at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday. The two teams have had contrasting seasons so far and this game promises to be an enthralling one.
A number of players in PBKS were once a part of RCB and thus, they would like to prove their point and get bragging rights. PBKS have been far from consistent this season, having won just two out of their six games so far.
RCB, on the other hand, have been terrific and have looked like genuine title contenders this season. Apart from that one off-day against CSK, RCB have been brilliant so far and have won five out of their six games.
PBKS vs RCB: 3 batsmen to watch out for
Teams have favored chasing in Ahmedabad this season, with dew possibly becoming a factor in the second half of the game. This makes runs on the board an even more crucial factor.
On that note, let's have a look at three batsmen who can leave their mark in the PBKS vs RCB encounter:
#3 KL Rahul
KL Rahul is having a tough time as the captain of PBKS this season. However, as a batsman, the 29-year-old has been an asset for the Punjab-based franchise, having amassed over two thousand runs already.
But ever since he became captain of the side, many believe Rahul has gone into a shell as a batsman. From being the counter-attacking explosive opener, Rahul has transformed himself into an anchor who needs to cautiously bat throughout the innings.
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Despite winning the IPL Orange Cap last season with 670 runs, the PBKS skipper was criticized for his poor strike-rate of 129.34. Rahul is the team's highest run-scorer this season with 240 runs from six games. But his strike-rate is still just above 129 and that has been a worrying factor for fans.
Rahul hasn't had a great outing in Ahmedabad either. He had just 34 runs to his name in five innings at the Narendra Modi Stadium. However, when it comes to facing his former team RCB, the PBKS skipper has always taken his game to the next level.
In 9 matches against RCB, Rahul has scored 371 runs at an excellent average of 74.20 and a strike-rate of over 155. He has always made RCB regret their decision of letting him go and also scored a sensational 132* against them last season.
So the odds are stacked in favor of Rahul to have yet another brilliant outing against RCB. He is the spine of the PBKS batting line-up and will need to fire if PBKS want to get back to winning ways.
#2 Virat Kohli
RCB skipper Virat Kohli is having quite a subdued IPL 2021 campaign with the bat by his high standards. He has scored 163 runs in 6 games so far, with a half-century to his name. The 32-year-old will be delighted with the way his team has been performing, but deep down he will be keen to contribute with the bat.
Kohli has had a terrific time of late at the Narendra Modi Stadium, as he was the Player of the Series in the five T20Is against England not long ago. He scored three half-centuries and knows the conditions pretty well.
After a failure in RCB's first game in Ahmedabad this season, Kohli would certainly like to set the record straight against PBKS. He has amassed 681 runs against the Punjab-based franchise, including a stupendous hundred in the 2016 IPL season.
RCB fans will be hoping their talisman replicates his scintillating form of IPL 2016 that saw him score 973 runs at the top of the order. If Kohli gets going, he is one of the best in the business and PBKS will be wary of that.
#1 AB de Villiers
It is no surprise that AB de Villiers tops this list. The South African superstar has already played three match-winning knocks for RCB this season, including one in their last game against DC in Ahmedabad.
De Villiers' sensational 75 off just 42 balls ensured that RCB won a last-ball thriller by one run. The 37-year-old has been nothing short of magical for the franchise over the years and continues to be arguably their best batsman even while approaching the twilight of his career.
Batting in a new role at the No. 5 position, De Villiers has scored 204 runs from six games at a staggering strike rate of 174.35. His presence in the middle-order has helped other RCB batsmen like Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal and Glenn Maxwell to go all guns blazing.
De Villiers also has a great record against PBKS, having scored 710 runs with seven half-centuries to his name. He will be keen on replicating the blinder of a knock that he played against DC when he faces PBKS tonight.