Punjab Kings (PBKS), presently, are in a bit of a tangle in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The team, captained by KL Rahul, has won two out of their first six games, and are precariously placed in the second half of the points table.
In their last game, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat them by five wickets with 20 balls left at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Their next match is against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Friday, April 30 at the same venue.
Over the last few games, PBKS have chopped and changed a lot, but have strained to find the apt combination. Another loss could make the journey tough for them going into the second half of the league stage. For the time being, it remains to be seen if Rahul’s men make changes going into the next game.
Here’s PBKS’s Predicted Playing XI for IPL 2021 Match 26:
Openers (Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (C and WK))
The onus will again be on the opening pair of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal to take the team off to a steady start if not a flying one. Rahul is currently the leading run-scorer for the Punjab-based team with 240 runs at an average and strike rate of 48 and 129.03 respectively with three half-centuries.
Though he hasn’t blazed away, he has shown a great deal of maturity. Agarwal, on the other hand, has 161 runs to his name with a top score of 69.
The right-hander is yet to completely come into his own, but keeping in mind the skills he possesses, the Challengers can’t afford to undermine him.
Middle-order (Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan)
In the middle-order, Chris Gayle has tried to bring forth all his experience. He has a couple of 40s in the tournament, both of which have come in winning causes.
In six games, the Jamaican has 119 runs, but the veteran batter would want to increase his strike rate, which is currently at a mere 119. Nicholas Pooran scored 19 against the Knights and was seeming to get his rhythm back. But he saw his stumps rattled while trying to go for a big shot.
Shahrukh Khan has looked accomplished thus far. In five innings, the Tamil Nadu cricketer has notched 103 runs at 34.33 with the highest score of 47.
All-rounder (Deepak Hooda, Moises Henriques)
Among the all-rounders, Deepak Hooda has impressed with both bat and ball. In five games, the right-hander has scored 110 runs at an average and strike rate of 27.50 and 154.92 respectively.
With the ball, he has been effective as well, picking up two wickets at a frugal economy of 6.81. Moises Henriques has gotten a couple of chances with the bat in hand, but he is yet to make an impact.
However, with his slow-medium pace, he hasn’t given the batters much to work with. Though he has bowled only five overs thus far, among the PBKS bowlers, he has the best economy of 4.80.
Bowlers (Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami)
In their previous game, PBKS roped in Chris Jordan for Fabian Allen in the playing eleven. The move paid off to some extent after the former scored 30 runs off 18 balls to inject impetus into the innings.
But the Barbados-born couldn’t make the breakthrough with the ball in his three overs. Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh have arguably been their standout bowlers in the league.
The duo has a combined tally of 14 wickets and has made inroads into the opposition batting. Ravi Bishnoi has looked good as he has picked two wickets in as many games at an economy of five.
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