Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2021, 21st match
- Punjab Kings registered a comprehensive win over Mumbai Indians in a game played on Friday.
- Kolkata Knight Riders have lost their last three matches in the competition.
- Lokesh Rahul, Muhammad Shami, and Ravi Bishnoi put in excellent performances for Punjab in the previous game.
Kolkata Knight Riders have lost all the momentum after winning their first game in the competition. Captain Eoin Morgan will be hoping that the side can make amends for their top-order failures and put in an improved performance against Punjab.
On the other hand, Punjab Kings managed to end their losing streak with a clinical win over Mumbai Indians. With this result, Kings have climbed to fifth place in the league table. Captain Lokesh Rahul will have a look at the conditions and select their final XI for this game.
Teams' strengths & weaknesses
The inclusion of Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi worked well for Punjab in the previous game. In their previous match, Kings came with better plans and executed them to perfection against Mumbai Indians.
In the previous game, Lokesh Rahul once again led the way for Punjab in the batting department. He played exceedingly well and finished the innings with the top score of 60 not out off 52 balls with the help of three fours and three sixes. He was well supported by Chris Gayle, who found form in this game and smashed unbeaten 43 off 35 balls with the help of five boundaries and two sixes.
Besides Gayle and Rahul, Mayank Agarwal looked good in his innings and scored 25 runs off 20 balls with the help of four fours and one six.
Punjab Kings have had just two batsmen, Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, making a mark so far in the competition. While the team will be relying heavily on Rahul and Agarwal yet again, it is probably time for veteran opener Chris Gayle to show some consistency with the bat.
The middle-order, with the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques, and Deepak Hooda, will also need to play an important role with the bat.
In the bowling department, the onus will be on the likes of Mohammad Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, and Arshdeep Singh to make crucial breakthroughs.
In the previous encounter, pacer Mohammad Shami and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi put in excellent bowling performances against Mumbai Indians and claimed two wickets apiece.
Kolkata Knight Riders
In this year’s competition, Kolkata’s batting has come a cropper till now. Despite the big players in their ranks, the side has managed just a few telling knocks between them. The side has been guilty of losing too many wickets in the first ten overs.
Repeated failures from the top-order have been their Achilles Heel this season. The team management will be hoping that the openers can turn things around against Punjab Kings.
The likes of skipper Eoin Morgan, Shubnam Gill, Nitish Rana, and Andre Russell have failed to fire in unison.
In the batting department, the side will be hoping that the likes of Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, and Shubnam Gill can deliver the goods with the bat.
Lower-order batting has been Kolkata’s strength this season. In the previous game against Chennai, the trio of Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, and Dinesh Karthik delivered spectacular performances and nearly pulled off a heist at Wankhede.
Given the surface at Ahmedabad might be helpful to the spinners as Kolkata might bring in Harbhajan Singh in place of Kamlesh Nagarkoti.
In the bowling department, the side will be relying on the spin trio of Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, and Harbhajan Singh to make early breakthroughs with the new-ball.
Considering the traditional pitch at Ahmedabad, the spinners might get favorable assistance from the surface. The batsmen will have to adjust to the conditions to put in decent scores. With clear skies expected for Monday’s game, expect an interesting contest between bat and ball.
Players to watch out for
Lokesh Rahul has done exceedingly well for Punjab at the top of the innings. The swashbuckling opener will be looking to deliver his absolute best with the bat against Kolkata Knight Riders. He is currently the leading run-scorer for Punjab in this year’s competition.
Given their head-to-head record in the Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders have the upper hand with 18 victories to their name. On the other hand, Punjab Kings have managed to come out on top on nine occasions.
In their previous four meetings between the two teams, Kolkata Knight Riders have managed to come out on top on three occasions.
Shubnam Gill will be looking to end this run drought against Punjab Kings at Ahmedabad. He will need the likes of Eoin Morgan, Nitish Rana, and Andre Russell to contribute with the bat if Kolkata wants to end their losing streak.
On the other hand, Punjab Kings will be looking for consistency with the bat and ball to maintain their winning ways in this competition.
Expect Kolkata Knight Riders to beat Punjab Kings by a comfortable margin.