The Punjab Kings take on the Rajasthan Royals in Match 32 of Vivo IPL 2021 on Tuesday, September 21, at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai.
Both sides are in the bottom half of the table. However, RR is placed above PBKS on net run rate and has a game in hand.
The Punjab Kings were last seen in action in a seven-wicket defeat to the Delhi Capitals, with skipper KL Rahul ruled out due to appendicitis. It looks like the interruption and venue change has benefitted PBKS and will allow them to start fresh once more.
Punjab's recruitment in the auction was below-par, with the ₹22 crore that they shelled out on Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith not paying dividends.
It's going to be interesting to see how that'll affect their overseas combination. KL Rahul's side will keep in mind the five-match winning run they had at the business end of last season and will look to repeat the feat once more.
The Royals have three wins from seven games and are in a better place to push for playoff spots. They last featured in a 55-run victory over SRH in a match where Jos Buttler smashed a 64-ball 124.
However, they have been affected by player withdrawals and injuries this season. Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Andrew Tye will all be unavailable for the rest of the season.
To their credit, RR have secured some quality replacements for the quartet, with Oshane Thomas, Evin Lewis, Glenn Phillips and Tabraiz Shamsi joining the side. The in-form Liam Livingstone is someone to keep an eye on as well.
While RR have lost some key players, they have the talent and firepower to take the fight to the other teams.
We've seen some very high-scoring games whenever these sides have met recently, with batters from both teams cutting loose. With two points on the line, expect both sets of players to give it their all in Dubai.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs RR Match Details
Date: September 21, 2021 (Tuesday).
Time: 7:30 PM IST.
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai.
It should be another warm evening in Dubai, with an average temperature of 35 degrees celsius. The humidity should be moderately high, and the players could have a hard day on the field.
The wicket at the Dubai International Stadium favored the quicks on Sunday and we should see a similar surface for this game.
The ground's dimensions mean that this game may not be as high-scoring as the previous PBKS-RR matches. A score of around 170 should be a competitive one.
The Punjab Kings' top-order has looked both powerful and brittle this season. When KL Rahul is on song, the others have combined with him brilliantly to post some huge totals.
When he misses out, however, PBKS has struggled to get runs on the board. Their top six should remain the same, with Nicholas Pooran looking for a comeback after some tough outings early in the season.
However, it's hard to predict their bowling lineup, with Mohammad Shami the only one guaranteed to play. It's a toss-up between Chris Jordan and Nathan Ellis for the overseas seamer slot.
They should field Adil Rashid, who brings lots of experience and control to the playing XI, as their chief spinner, along with Harpreet Brar.
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (c/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Chris Jordan/Nathan Ellis, Adil Rashid, Mohammad Shami, and Arshdeep Singh.
Evin Lewis should join Yashasvi Jaiswal at the top of the order for RR, with Liam Livingstone at No. 4.
Their three all-rounders, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag, should form the rest of the middle order. Chris Morris is also capable of scoring runs.
The No.1 ranked T20I bowler, Tabraiz Shamsi, could make his debut for RR as the side's primary spinner. Chetan Sakariya and Kartik Tyagi should be the two Indian pacers for the side, with Jaydev Unadkat another option.
Rajasthan Royals (RR): Yashasvi Jaiswal, Evin Lewis, Sanju Samson (c/wk), Liam Livingstone, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Chris Morris, Jaydev Unadkat/ Kartik Tyagi, Mustafizur Rahman/ Tabraiz Shamsi, and Chetan Sakariya.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs RR Match Prediction
While both of these teams look pretty balanced, PBKS looks a more settled unit than RR. It might take some time for the new recruits to come together as a team, and that gives PBKS a slight edge.
Prediction: Punjab Kings to win.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs RR - TV and Live Streaming Details
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TV: Star Sports Network.
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP.