PBKS vs RCB Prediction: Who will win today's IPL 2021 match?

PBKS vs RCB | IPL 2021 Prediction
PBKS vs RCB | IPL 2021 Prediction
Sai Krishna

Two teams that have an interesting history with each other - the Punjab Kings (PBKS) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) - face off in Match 26 of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL).

A number of players have switched between the two franchises over the last few years. While perennial PBKS letdown Glenn Maxwell has exceeded expectations at RCB, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Chris Jordan and Murugan Ashwin now play for the 2014 finalists after having turned out for Virat Kohli's side.

The two teams took some cheeky digs at each other on social media a few weeks ago. RCB pointed out similarities in jersey design and expressed gratitude over the signing of Maxwell towards PBKS, who retaliated by pointing out the former RCB players who currently call Mohali home.

The stage is set for a tantalizing encounter between two entertaining sides. PBKS hold the edge in the head-to-head record, with 14 wins when compared to RCB's 12. Interestingly, the number was even before the start of IPL 2020, in which KL Rahul edged out his national captain twice.

IPL 2021: PBKS vs RCB Match Prediction

KL Rahul and Virat Kohli
KL Rahul and Virat Kohli

RCB clearly have form on their side heading into this encounter, but things won't be easy against a resilient PBKS side that is due a good performance.

Virat Kohli's side have put up a number of impressive performances in the recent past, and players are slowly starting to rise up to the occasion. The big four of Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers have scored the bulk of the runs so far, but Rajat Patidar joined in on the fun with a composed innings in the previous game.

RCB's biggest strength is their pace department, which has been led admirably by the accurate and penetrative Mohammed Siraj. Kyle Jamieson has had a few bad moments, but he too has taken massive strides towards justifying his astronomical price tag.

The spin attack, though, has left a lot to be desired. Yuzvendra Chahal is a shadow of the bowler who soared up the franchise wicket-taking charts, while Washington Sundar hasn't been given too many overs to make an impression. On an Ahmedabad surface which is expected to be greatly impacted by dew, Chahal and Sundar could continue to struggle.

PBKS, on the other hand, have a number of players with a point to prove against RCB. KL Rahul has come under immense criticism for his strike rate and intent once again, with his blistering hundred against the same opposition last year now a distant memory. But he will take heart from the knock, which saw him mercilessly take the attack to every single RCB bowler.

Others like Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran haven't covered themselves in glory with their performances this year, and #1-ranked T20I batsman Dawid Malan could make his IPL debut against RCB. Young Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Hooda will have massive roles to play with the ball, while Mohammed Shami needs a strong showing against his national captain to push his case for a T20 World Cup spot.

The toss will have a major bearing on the outcome of the game, as the chasing team can avail the benefits of the sheet of dew that inevitably finds its way to the Motera outfield and wicket. On the whole, this contest is too close to call.

It must be said that RCB are the definite favorites for this clash. A win would take them to the top of the table, and they'd be very close to qualifying for the playoffs and eventually sealing a top-two spot.

But although RCB will enter the encounter as the favorites, they could run into a motivated PBKS unit that desperately needs a win. The team's past record against the three-time finalists, combined with the sheer number of players who have a point to prove, might turn out to be the deciding factor.

This is a bold, left-field prediction, but PBKS could have the psychological edge against RCB. They can be backed to get their campaign back on track with an impressive win, especially if the superstars who are due a stellar performance or two come to the party.

Prediction: PBKS to win

Edited by Atharva Papnoi
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