The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season is set to witness the Punjab Kings face Kolkata Knight Riders in match number 21 on Monday. The match is set to be held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Punjab Kings won their first encounter before losing three in succession. However, they made a statement of intent by beating Mumbai Indians in their previous match. The win helped PBKS rise to fifth in the table. On the other hand, after managing to hold on in their first game, KKR have suffered four successive losses. Their last game at the Wankhede was a disaster. Not only they suffered badly with the bat by going with a negative approach, seeing Pat Cummins be ineffective with the ball so far has raised doubts.
Punjab Kings need to carry one from their momentum gained in the previous match. Their top-order holds the key against a vulnerable KKR attack. It remains to be seen whether PBKS rope in Dawid Malan instead of Nicholas Pooran in the side. The bowling worked against MI and there is every chance that the management will opt for the same unit without making any unnecessary changes. The presence of Ravi Bishnoi will help PBKS in the spin department. Punjab Kings have a strong batting order and that will be a cause of concern for KKR. KL Rahul is playing some good cricket and he will be aiming to make his presence felt.
After a batting failure AGAINST MI from a position of comfort, KKR were outplayed in all three departments by the RCB. And then against CSK, KKR not only conceded 220 but also suffered in their chase after a collapse in batting. They were outplayed by RR next in all three departments. After giving away in excess of 200-plus runs in two straight games, KKR lacked the bite against RR with some ordinary bowling as well. Pat Cummins has leaked runs and so have the other pacers. With the bat, the side is inconsistent and poor judgment has led to them losing wickets. If KKR are to bounce back, they need a much better show across all departments. Against PBKS, they need to up the tempo.
Key details of the match
The match is set to be held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. It’s scheduled to start at 7:30 PM IST. Fans can watch the action live on the Star Sports Network in their preferred languages. One can also stream the match live on the Disney+ Hotstar app (paid subscription).
Here’s the preview
For Punjab, bringing in Malan will be a massive help. Leaving out a star player like him is baffling. Experience is vital and that’s where someone like Malan comes into play. He can replace a struggling Pooran. Moises Henriques is a massive presence in the team. He can be handy with his vast experience with bat and ball. In the bowling segment, Bishnoi’s addition was a major plus against MI. The likes of Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh chipped in as well. Meanwhile, Fabian Allen will hope to make things count. Punjab’s strength lies in their front three with the bat. However, one of them needs to continue till the end and make sure there are no hiccups. Deepak Hooda and Shahrukh Khan hold the key in the middle-order. Hooda has impressed with the ball as well and is a valuable customer.
KKR saw Shivam Mavi do a decent job against RR and he is likely to be in the XI. With Sunil Narine being ineffective with the bat and not claiming wickets. KKR may be tempted to bring back Shakib Al Hasan. A decision needs to be made on Cummins, who has been a disaster. Lockie Ferguson can be looked upon. KKR cannot afford another poor start. They need to use the conditions and bat wisely. Eoin Morgan has been a disappointment and he needs to lead from the front. KKR have to work on bowling though. It’s a department that has plagued them like last season. Morgan needs to be more decisive in his approach and make sound decisions. He has to fire with the bat as well. Prasidh Krishna cannot afford to give away runs at will. He has to support Varun Chakravarthy. For KKR, they need partnerships in both bowling and fielding. It’s a match they will target two crucial points.
Probable playing XIs: PBKS vs KKR
PBKS probable playing XI:
KL Rahul (c&wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques, Dawid Malan/Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Fabian Allen, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
KKR probable playing XI:
Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shakib Al Hasan/Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson/Pat Cummins, Harbhajan Singh/Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Dream11 team prediction (option 1)
Batsmen: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi
All-rounders: Deepak Hooda, Andre Russell
Bowlers: Varun Chakravarthy, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Shivam Mavi
Dream11 team prediction (option 2)
Batsmen: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi
All-rounders: Deepak Hooda, Andre Russell
Bowlers: Varun Chakravarthy, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Which players can be the top picks in the Dream11 team?
KL Rahul is a must in the line-up. He has kept up with his form just like he did across the last three seasons in the tournament. He is the in-form batsman and can give valuable points.
Deepak Hooda is an all-rounder that deserves a spot. He has enjoyed himself this season.
In the bowling department, Varun should be selected. He has done an able job so far.
Dream11 fantasy: Captain choices
KL Rahul: Rahul has been IPL’s best batsman for a while now and one can expect him to come alive. He made sure that he was there till the end in the match against MI. Punjab’s fortunes rely on Rahul and this bodes well in terms of responsibility.
Andre Russell: Russell can be ominous for the PBKS bowlers and his confidence will be high after a stellar show in the match against CSK. However, Russell needs to be utilised ahead of Dinesh Karthik, who has looked laboured.
Dream11 fantasy: Vice-captain choices
In terms of vice-captaincy, Chakravarthy is a sound option. The spinner has impressed the ball and will be KKR’s best bet. Also, Hooda can be tried as well. He is a handy customer as an all-rounder.
Pitch report and conditions
The pitch at the Motera will support batting at large. However, there will be enough swing for pacers and with things being on the slower side, spinners will have a say as well. Change of pace is crucial here. The temperature will be on the higher side and it will be humid.
Looking at the T20Is played here, the average first innings score is close to the 180 mark. That’s a par score here.
The two teams have faced each other on 27 occasions. KKR have won 18 games and Punjab have pocketed the remaining 9. These two teams met twice in IPL 2020 and shared the spoils.
We feel Punjab can get past the line here. They have a better batting unit.