The 2021 Indian Premier League season has its 4th match on 12th April when Rajasthan Royals will lock horns against Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
After finding minimal success over the course of the competition’s run since its inception, Kings XI Punjab have been rebaptized as the Punjab Kings in an attempt o change their fortunes. Their first bout would be against a side, who themselves have taken a major leap heading into this season.
Rajasthan Royals’ giant strides comes in the form of a new skipper in Sanju Samson and a coaching staff led by newly appointed director, Kumar Sangakkara.
Both of the teams went heavy at the auctions and were responsible for the pricey acquisitions in a bid to replace their released players.
The inaugural champions ranked dead bottom in the previous edition which prompted the management to make some major decisions with the squad. The franchise axed Steve Smith altogether and went all in at the auctions.
Jofra Archer’s absence will have a major impact on the Royals bowling attack. The English speedster desperately lacked support from the fellow pacers and this time around, the Royals will have to rely on all-rounders like Ben Stokes and Chris Morris to support their bowling.
Another debacle that the side have to deal with is the opening combination. Last season, the team tried out plenty of combinations that involved Jos Buttler, Yahshasvi Jaiswal, Steve Smith, Robin Uthappa and Ben Stokes. While the list of options has thinned, the Royals are yet to decide on an opening combination for their season opener.
Rajasthan Royals for IPL 2021: Sanju Samson (captain), Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Christopher Morris, Shivam Dube, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman, Liam Livingstone, K.C. Cariappa, Akash Singh, Kuldip Yadav.
The 2014 IPL finalists fought hard in the previous campaign in the second half to end up in the sixth position. Desperate for a playoff position, the franchise, not only went for a squad rebuild, but they also rebuilt their identity. Sporting a new name, logo and jersey, the team is all set to begin their campaign under KL Rahul.
Pace bowling was one of the weakest aspects of the team last time around, the team were all business at the auctions to acquire two premier overseas fast bowlers in the form of Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson to complement Mohammad Shami with the new ball.
Possessing one of the most formidable top-order batting units in the competition, Punjab Kings have also added the No.1 ranked T20 batsman Dawid Malan in their unit. However, the side may be a bit over-reliant on their overseas players to tilt the fixture in their favour.
Punjab Kings for IPL 2021: KL Rahul (c/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar.
Waging Odds: Rajasthan Royals (1.99) vs Punjab Kings (1.83)
Rajasthan Royals are priced at 1.99 and are the underdogs. Betting ₹100 on them will earn you ₹199 if they come out as winners. Punjab Kings are the favourites and are priced at 1.83, meaning if you bet ₹100 on them and if they win the match, you’ll be making ₹183.
Punjab Kings have a much more settled unit heading into the contest and boast more balance. The toss will play a crucial factor as well with the match being played at the Wankhede. Since both the teams boast explosive players, expect a high score and raining boundaries. Despite the heavy toss factor, Punjab Kings should see this one out to kick start their campaign with a win.
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