Lokesh Rahul’s Punjab Kings and Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals teams will be eyeing big hitters in both teams when they start their campaign with a win in the 14th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Monday.
Rajasthan’s team will depend heavily on aggressive English all-rounder Ben Stokes. Stokes will try to get in rhythm, while England’s Jose Butler and newly appointed captain Samson will also look to start well. The Royals team can open the innings with the talented Yashasvi Jaiswal and Butler, while Samson can bat at number three. Stokes will strengthen the middle order. If all four play in rhythm, then they are capable of destroying any bowling order. Punjab’s batting order will also be dangerous for any opposing team on the Wankhede batting pitch.
The Royals also have more options in the form of all-rounders Shivam Dubey, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Ryan Parag and Liam Livingstone. Gopal, Teotia and Parag also bowl leg spin and it will be exciting to see if the Royals team lands with two leg spinners. Tewatia and Dubey have the ability to play big shots and their selection in the playing XI is almost certain.
In the absence of Jofra Archer due to injury, the Royals' fast bowling attack will be led by Chris Maurice, who the team bought at a player auction this year for a hefty sum of Rs 16 crore 25 lakh Click To Tweet. Having played just four foreign players in the playing XI, the Royals will have to focus on their combination. It remains to be seen whether the team selects left-arm fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman or between Jaydev Unadkat, Karthik Tyagi and Chetan Sakaria.
Punjab, on the other hand, have aggressive batsmen like Rahul (670 runs in the 2020 season), Mayank Agarwal (424 runs in the 2020 season) and Chris Gayle. Click To Tweet Rahul and Agarwal formed a strong opening pair in 2020 and the pair is expected to remain intact. The team has good hitters like David Malan of England, M Shah Rukh Khan of Tamil Nadu and Nicholas Puran of West Indies. The team simply needs to keep their combination right.
Shah Rukh may get preference over players like Deepak Hooda and Sarfaraz Khan and can play the role of finishers in the team. The team’s bowling attack will be led by Muhammad Shami, who performed brilliantly in the last season. The team’s fast bowling attack has been strengthened by contracts with Australia’s Zhai Richardson and Riley Meredith. The team also has Chris Jordan. However it remains to be seen who gets a chance to handle the new ball with Shami. In the spin department, the team has bowlers like Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain), Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, Anuj Rawat, Ryan Parag, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Karthik Tyagi. , Shivam Dubey, Chris Maurice, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakaria, Casey Cariappa, Liam Livingstone, Kuldeep Yadav and Akash Singh.
Punjab Kings: Lokesh Rahul (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabhasimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Muhammad Shami, Arshadip Singh, Ishan Porrell, Darshan Nalakande , Chris Jordan, David Malan, Jhay Richardson, Shah Rukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen and Saurabh Kumar.