CricketIPL 2021

IPL 2021 : Punjab Kings season preview

By Gurwinder Kahlon

Punjab Kings (earlier known as Kings XI Punjab, KXIP) would be looking for a new beginning as the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 14th edition is set to start from April 9th in Chennai. KL Rahul-led PBKS will begin their campaign on the 12th of April against Rajasthan Royals.

Earlier this year, the Punjab based side decided to change their name and logo but will this change their fortunes in the league?

Punjab kings
Anil Kumble with opener Mayank Agarwal

Anil Kumble coached side went to the auction with the biggest available purse (53.2cr), and they decided to strengthen their pace attack by bringing in two express pacers from Australia- Jhye Richardson, who emerged as the highest wicket-taker of BBL 2020-21 and young Riley Meredith, who recently bagged an international cap after an impressive BBL season.

Squad:

KL Rahul (c/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar.

KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal will lead the team’s batting department while Mohammed Shami this time will expect more support from his pace attack partners.

Last season, the team’s middle-order looked ordinary, and to bolster their middle-order, they have roped in World No.1 ranked t20i batsman Dawid Malan and Aussie all-rounder, Moises Henriques.

Anil Kumble will be hoping for a better season from his domestic players, especially from Prabsimran and Shahrukh, both of whom had impressive SMAT & Vijay Hazare campaigns.

Punjab Kings
Mohammed Shami

While the team’s batting and pace attack look potent, the team lags in the spin department. Young Ravi Bishnoi and M Ashwin, who had done an amazing job in the UAE, will be crucial for the team’s success this time again, but there are no big options available as replacements. Veterans Jalaj Saxena and Saurabh Kumar are the other two backup options. Both of them are more known for their prowess in red-ball cricket at the domestic level.

Likely XI

KL Rahul (C & WK)
Mayank Agarwal
Chris Gayle
Mandeep Singh
Nicholas Pooran
Shahrukh Khan
Chris Jordan
Jhye Richardson
Murugan Ashwin
Ravi Bishnoi
Mohammed Shami

Punjab’s biggest issue in the last season was them unable to finish the games, KL Rahul led side lost quite a few close games from a winning position.

This time, Rahul and team management would be hoping for better performance from the experience campaigners like Moises Henriques. If PBKS’ middle-order and death bowling doesn’t cost them again then they’re a team who can clear the top4 hurdle.

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