WI vs SL | 2nd Test: Karunaratne, Thirimanne keep Windies at bay; Test series ends without a result
3 Apr 2021
They might not be as chirpy as a Rishabh Pant or famous and cool as MS Dhoni, but the captains of Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings have an aura of themselves. Much like their team profiles, they are also lowkey but have high ambitions. While Sanju Samson is looking to get into the Indian team, KL Rahul on the other hand also had a very bad England series as far as T20Is are concerned and would look to utilise this IPL as a place to cement his name in the Indian T20 set up before the World Cup.
The best thing about the Rajasthan Royals over the year has that they have been eternal underdogs although it has not helped them as an inspiration to sneak into the Playoffs since the 2018 edition. In fact, they languished at the bottom of the points table in the last two seasons.
What has worked against them in the last few seasons is the absence of their marquee players. However, they must now be attuned to it as the trend is set to be continued with their MVP from the last season —Jofra Archer set to be out of action for some time this season as well.
But, what is a hero if he doesn’t rise from adversities to get to the top of life? This is exactly what is required of each and every member of the Royals setup.
With a new coach and new captain in Kumara Sangakkara and Samson, the Jaipur team would want the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, David Miller along with the most expensive buy this season, Chris Morris to ‘halla bol’ on their oppositions, and what better than the Punjabis to start with.
Punjabis are known for their heavy-duty approach. They are loud and entertaining but most importantly they are also known for pulling a rabbit out of their hat when needed the most.
Sadly though, the team from Punjab has been a complete contrast of all those traits since the past six seasons. The last season was somewhat better as they missed the cut to Playoffs by just a few inches. Now, they have what they badly needed- an aggressive top-order batter in the form of number one T20I batsman Dawid Malan and a super quick, hit the deck bowler in Australian Riley Meredith.
Along with those X-factor players, they also have Shahrukh Khan, a big-hitting late order batsman to give the finish alongside Nicholas Pooran.
So, Punjab have it all that can enable them to go bonkers this season, but the big question of will they be able to deliver remains relevant ahead of the 14th season of the IPL.
Date and Time: April 12, 07:30 pm IST, 02: 00 pm GMT
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Broadcast and Live Stream; Star Sports and Hotstar
The pitch at Mumbai, as evident from the first game played between Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals, is a run-heavy wicket. Even 200 is not safe, but as a bowling side in the first innings, the team has chances to create some difficulties for the batting side in the wee hours of the match, utilising the sea breeze before dew comes down to settle all the elements of the surface.
The dew has been heavy at Wankhede. Conditions have been a bit humid as well, but not as much as expected from Mumbai. The temperature is going to be relatively low and would deep below 30 as the night progresses.
The team winning the toss would go for a field first approach as MS Dhoni also said that the first half an hour is the only team that bowlers might get some help on that bounce friendly red soil wicket.
The absence of David Miller and Jofra Archer have solved the riddle for the team management on who the four overseas players should be. They would most probably go with Buttler, Stokes, Morris and Andrew Tye. Mustafizur Rahman could have been an option, but most likely he is undergoing quarantine.
The management can also go for an in form Liam Livingstone in place of Andrew Tye. However, Tye's box of tricks is too tempting an option to be overlooked, more so in the absence of Jofra Archer.
Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson (c/wk), Ryan Parag, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Jaidev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal, Kartik Tyagi
The Punjab Kings have the luxury of selecting a full-strength team in the tier opening game of the season. However, they are likely to go with Malan, Meredith, Pooran and Jhye Richardson to start with.
Among Indian talents, Shahrukh Khan seems to be a certain starter in the playing XI.
KL Rahul(c/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Dawid Malan, Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Riley Meredith, Murugan Ashwin
Jos Buttler (c), Sanju Smason, Lokesh Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Mayank Agarwal, Dawid Malan(vc), Liam Livingstone, Ben Stokes, Ravi Bishnoi, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith