Hustling for the fourth spot has become a regular struggle for both Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who once again find themselves precariously placed at the halfway stage of IPL 2021. With only three wins apiece – none of those being successive – both sides will be eager for some consistency to get their campaign up and running in the UAE leg of the tournament.
The Kings have played eight matches so far – one more than their opponents on Tuesday – and currently are placed in the sixth spot on the points table. They started off with a victory against the Royals in what was an epic game way back in April this year, just about managing to defend 221 despite Sanju Samson’s majestic 119 on his captaincy debut. Since then, both teams have blown hot and cold, with the Royals only marginally better in terms of win percentage.
Both sides have a plenty of international replacements forced due to non-availability of players, and some of those could work in their favour looking at the current form and calibre of these players. The No. 1 ranked T20I bowler in the world – Tabraiz Shamsi – enters the Royals setup with a lot of confidence and wickets. The Kings have roped in Adil Rashid who has bowled effectively in both powerplays and the middle overs (while he was also the joint-highest wicket-taker in The Hundred), and could have a big role to play considering the conditions in the UAE.
When: Tuesday, September 21 at 7:30 PM IST
Where: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
What to expect: The bigger outfield on one side, along with the help that bowlers of all disciplines have enjoyed at this venue, could mean that the game isn’t loaded in favour of the batsmen. The double-paced nature of the wicket during the CSK-MI clash on Sunday could be a sign of things for the upcoming games in Dubai.
Head to Head: The Royals have a slightly better record in games against Punjab, leading 12 wins to their opponents’ 10. Their last game was a final-over thriller in Mumbai with the Kings winning by four runs.
Interesting Facts :
– Among the eight teams in this IPL, the Royals are the only side who do not have a representation in the Indian squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
– Mustafizur (43) and Shamsi (41) are the second and third highest wicket-takers in T20Is in 2021, behind Rashid Khan’s 49.
– Among those who faced at least 50 balls in Powerplay this season, only Ruturaj Gaikwad (91.8) and KL Rahul (96.4) strike at under 100. But Rahul is yet to be dismissed in the middle overs and has scored at a rate of 157 in that phase.