Lokesh Rahul’s Punjab Kings and Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals teams will set their eyes on the big hitters present in both teams when they start their IPL campaign with a win. Rajasthan’s team will depend heavily on offensive all-rounder Ben Stokes.
Stokes will try to keep pace while England’s Jos Buttler and newly appointed captain Samson will also look to get off to a good start. 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 Most Expensive Players Will Also Land: The Royals 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 Morris, who the team bought at a player auction this year for a whopping sum of Rs 16 crore 25 lakh.
Looking for the right combination: Punjab, on the other hand, have aggressive batsmen like Rahul (670 runs in 2020 season), Mayank Agarwal (424 runs in 2020 season) and Chris Gayle. 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 just needs to keep their combination right. The team’s bowling attack will be led by Mohammed Shami, who performed brilliantly last season. In the spin department, the team has bowlers like Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi.
Pitch: The Wankhede pitch is friendly to the batsmen. However, given the role of Dew in the second innings, the team that won the toss would prefer to bat later.
Expected Playing XI
Rajasthan Royals: Ben Stokes, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (captain, wicketkeeper), Jose Butler, Ryan Parag, Shivam Dubey, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Karthik Tyagi.
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (captain, wicketkeeper), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, David Malan, Moises Henriques, Shah Rukh Khan, Sourav Kumar, Riley Meredith, Murugan Ashwin, Arshadip Singh, Mohammed Shami.
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