New-look Punjab take on depleted Rajasthan in mid-table tie today - GulfToday

New-look Punjab take on depleted Rajasthan in mid-table tie today


Punjab Kings' bowler Nathan Ellis attends a training session ahead of their match against Rajasthan Royals.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals (RR) will face off in a mid-table clash of the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Dubai Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

Both the teams will look to boost their play-off hopes with a victory in the crucial clash. Punjab are lying at the sixth place with six points from eight games.

They had won three and lost five matches when the league was suspended following the outbreak of the coronavirus in India, sending the country into an indefinite forced lock-down.

Whereas Rajasthan are in a comparatively better position as they have also procured same numbers of points, with three wins, having played a game lesser than their counterparts. They also have a better net run rate, which comes to into play every time two teams are tied on the same points.

The Tuesday clash is likely to be a run feast for the spectators as both the sides have unbridled hitters, who can change the complexion of any game at any stage of the match.

Both the teams are batting powerhouses with some of the biggest names in their line-ups. Punjab’s top order features Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul and the swashbuckling former West Indian batsman Chris Gayle, whose batting prowess can blow away even the best bowling attack on a given day.

Gayle is one of the most successful batsmen in the IPL. He has scored 4950 runs in 140 matches with six centuries and a whopping 31 fifty under his belt.

Gayle holds the record for the maximum sixes and highest individual score in the tournament.

While Rahul was second highest-scorer behind Shikhar Dhawan, having played a game less in the last edition of the IPL, which too was shifted to the UAE due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

Mayank also played quite a few match-winning knocks as he scored 299 runs in the last edition with highest being 99, missing a century by just one run.

In the bowling department, pace spearhead Mohammad Shami will lead the charge of the quickies while Natah Ellis will facilitate him.

Punjab bowling-attack has been weakened by the withdrawal of their two star pacers Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, who chose not to join them for the second leg of the tournament.

They can play two spinners Adil Rashid along with Akashdeep Singh as the pitch is likely to help the slow bowlers as the game progresses.

For Rajasthan, Rahul Tewatia, Evin Lewis and Liam Livingstone will be the men to look out for. Tewatia rose to fame in the last edition of the tournament when he steered his team to an unlikely come-from-behind victory in a high scoring game against Mumbai Indians.

Tewatia can play a perfect foil to hard-hitting batsmen Lewis and Livingstone, who have proven their mettle with captivating performances both in the franchise cricket as well as on the international stage.

Rajasthan have been weakened by the absence of the star cricketers Jofra Archer,Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. Stokes and Acrher have pulled out on the health ground where as Buttler cited a personal reason for withdrawing.

In the absence of the top class all-rounders, a depleted Rajasthan will bank on Livingstone, who is coming into the tournament on back of a stellar season at the newly coined England’s domestic tourney 100.

The duo are likely to open the innings for Rajasthan and will have the onus of setting the tone for a big total by laying down a strong foundation.

If they can deliver what teams expects of them, Rajasthan stand a good chance to extend their dominance in the half of the table.

Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman and South African Chris Morris take care of the pace battery while Jaydev Unadkat will likely play as the third seamer.

The Royals and Punjab have met each other on 22 occasions. Samson's side has won 12 times while Rahul's team has emerged victorious 10 times.

The squads: Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (capt, wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Fabian Allen/Adil Rashid, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Mohammed Shami.

Rajasthan Royals: Evin Lewis, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (capt, wk), Liam Livingstone, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Kartik Tyagi, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya/Jaydev Unadkat.

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