Rajasthan and Punjab will get their Indian T20 League 2021 campaign underway when they lock horns in Mumbai tonight.
Match Timings: April 12, 7:30 PM IST
Two underdogs and inconsistent sides Punjab and Rajasthan face each other in Monday’s Indian T20 League encounter at Wankhede. Both sides failed to add some glory in the last one decade of this tournament. After winning the season in 2008, Rajasthan even struggled to crack the playoffs while Punjab didn’t reach into playoffs since their maiden entry into the final in 2014. Last season wasn’t so convincing for both sides but they were in the hunt until their final league-stage game. Nobody is giving them a chance this season but these two sides can surprise anyone.
Rajasthan made a big move by releasing Smith and appointing Sanju Samson as the new skipper. They added Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman in their pace-attack. The overseas lineup is pretty strong but they need to see the fire from the Indian squad as well. Buttler and Stokes may open the innings or Jaiswal can get the chance with Buttler to send Stokes at number three or four. Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag will take the roles in middle-order, followed by Rahul Tewatia and Shivam Dube at the finishing end. Rajasthan will miss their star bowler and MVP of last season, Jofra Archer due to injury, and this role will be taken by Morris. Kartik Tyagi might be the only Indian pacer. They can also look for Miller in middle-order to try an extra Indian pacer in place of Rahman. Shreyas Gopal would be the only spin-option in the side. They have match-winners in the side but they need better execution.
Meanwhile, Punjab would avoid silly mistakes they did in last season. They could have taken the spot in the playoffs if mistakes were not there in the first half. They invested big in the auction and this is the reason, they now have a more compact unit. KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal will open, followed by Gayle at number three. Mandeep Singh was tried last season at four and he did a good job. Pooran will come at five and Punjab can pick either Malan or Henriques to boost the batting order. Henriques gives a bowling option as well and has a good experience. Chris Jordan’s poor form is a big concern for Punjab but he will be picked for sure. Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh will be the two main Indian seamers. Murugan Ashwin, and Ravi Bishnoi both can play together but considering the pitch in Mumbai, Punjab can add one extra pacer. Nobody can predict the winner from this game but Punjab are slightly ahead in the race.
Wankhede’s track is good for batting and it will help out the batsmen more. We may expect a high-scoring game and it could be more than 190. Toss is a key factor and the captain will opt to bowl after winning the toss.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson (c), Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Gopal, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Kartik Tyagi
KL Rahul (c), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi
Hard-hitter during powerplay and current form is great
Effective with the new ball, handy with the bat as well
Top-scorer of last season & having a good form
Wankhede suits his batting style & last season was terrific