PBKS are languishing at number seven in the points table. After defeating Rajasthan Royals in a close encounter, they have gone down to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC).
SRH have fared even worse. They are the only franchise not to win a single game in IPL 2021 so far. SRH have come close to winning thrice before going down to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and more recently Mumbai Indians. On each occasion, SRH have got themselves into a position to win the match but have failed to cross the line.
In their previous encounter against DC, PBKS posted, what seemed like, an impressive 195 for 4 on the board. Mayank Agarwal scored a blazing half-century while skipper KL Rahul made a sedate one. While PBKS will be pleased with the form of both their openers, the Windies duo of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran are yet to come to the party. Deepak Hooda has done well with his big hits in the lower-order while Shahrukh Khan is beginning to make a real impression as a batsman.
In the bowling department, PBKS bowlers were handicapped due to the dew in the game against DC. Mohammed Shami visibly struggled to grip the ball. While Arshdeep Singh has been competent yet again, the much-hyped Aussie duo of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith has found the Indian conditions challenging. It remains to be seen whether PBKS make some changes in the pace department. Murugan Ashwin too has disappointed so far in the spin department.
SRH will need to raise their game at all levels. Skipper David Warner has looked good every time he has stepped out to bat. He has been among the runs as well, but the ruthless streak that makes him a champion batsman hasn’t come to the fore. Jonny Bairstow is yet to fully come to the party while Manish Pandey has blown hot and cold. With the middle-order clearly suffering due to lack of experience, could there be a case for the inclusion of the experienced Kedar Jadhav?
Among SRH bowlers, Rashid Khan has again stood out with his form and variations. Khaleel Ahmed, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Vijay Shankar all impressed in the loss against MI, strangling a strong batting line-up. The experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar though hasn’t been his usual self, going for plenty against MI.
PBKS: KL Rahul (C/WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Chris Jordan, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, and Arshdeep Singh.
SRH: Jonny Bairstow (WK), David Warner (C), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Abdul Samad, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, and T Natarajan.
--Renin Wilben Albert