IPL 2021 | PBKS vs RR: SWOT Analysis

Can a batting-heavy PBKS keep their play-off hopes alive? | IPL 2021 Punjab Kings vs Rajasthan Royals SWOT Analysis

Punjab Kings captain K L Rahul (L) will square off against the Rajasthan Royals led by Sanju Samson (R). Credit: PTI File Photos

Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) will be hoping to keep their respective play-off ambitions alive when they resume their IPL 2021 season. The two teams are set to face each other at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai. Before the season got disrupted, Punjab Kings were sixth in the league with 6 points from 8 games. Rajasthan Royals were a spot above the Kings on the points table with 6 points but with a game in hand.

Here is the SWOT analysis of the two sides and the match preview.

SWOT for Punjab Kings

Strengths: The team is batting heavy. KL Rahul is now proving to be a consistent run-scorer in the league. He will be in the company of Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle. Agarwal scored a hundred last season in the UAE. He already has two fifties this season. Gayle hammered three fifties in three must-win games last time around. Deepak Hooda too has registered a half-century. Shahrukh Khan’s cameo from earlier in the season will also inspire confidence.

Weaknesses: Ahead of the season, Punjab Kings had brought in Aussie speed merchants Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith with great hopes. The initial plan was to make the two of them bowl together. But the two pacers disappointed in the Indian leg. Meredith picked 4 wickets and Richardson could manage only 3 scalps. Their form made skipper KL Rahul rethink his strategy. The two players are unavailable now. So, the Punjab think tank has to delve deep into how to manoeuvre the fast-bowling resources. Also, the form of Nicholas Pooran will be of great concern. The left-handed batter had a nightmarish run back in India as he scored four ducks, the most by a player in a single IPL season.

Opportunities: Last year, Punjab Kings were going through a horror run, but a sudden turn in form saw them win five matches in a row, rekindling their hopes for a play-off spot. The team more or less finds itself in a similar situation and in the surroundings where they almost did the unthinkable. With Mumbai Indians faltering against Chennai Super Kings, there is a realistic chance for Punjab Kings to qualify for the playoffs.

Threats: The team needs to keep winning from this point onwards to qualify for the playoffs. A loss will be a severe blow to their play-off chances.

SWOT for Rajasthan Royals:

Strengths: Rajasthan Royals will be counting on their pace battery. Pacers Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya and Jaydev Unadkat combined fairly well to make for the absence of Jofra Archer. The four pacers together accounted for 33 wickets. If these bowlers continue their wicket-taking form then Rajasthan Royals have a good chance of going the distance in this match.

Weaknesses: The absence of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler has crippled the team’s batting. Sanju Samson’s inconsistency with the bat is also well known. In such a scenario, the team would be relying on newcomers Liam Livingstone and Ewin Lewis to add the much-needed firepower in the batting line-up. The two batsmen are quality T20 players, but they have no IPL experience. Livingstone did not start in the first half of the tournament and Lewis has been brought in as an overseas replacement.

Opportunities: Rajasthan Royals pulled off one of the most sensational chases in the history of the IPL last year against Punjab Kings. Although that was on a smaller ground in Sharjah, the team could draw inspiration from that thrilling chase and hope for a win in this match.

Threats: The team just cannot afford an easy game in the remainder of the tournament. Every match from here on is a knockout game for them.

Head-to-Head

Matches played: 22
Punjab Kings wins: 10
Rajasthan Royals wins: 12

What happened in the reverse fixture earlier in the season?'

Punjab Kings emerged on top in a high-scoring thriller. On a flat deck in Wankhede, Punjab Kings scored a mammoth 221/6 thanks to 91 from skipper KL Rahul and a thrilling knock of 64 from Deepak Hooda. Rajasthan Royals’ skipper Sanju Samson smashed a brilliant 119 from 63 deliveries but the Royals choked in the chase and lost the encounter by 4 runs.

Form Guide:

Punjab Kings: L-W-L-W-L
Rajasthan Royals: W-L-W-L-L

Pitch report and conditions

The pitch at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium for the match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians was a slow one. The batters found it difficult to play their shots. It will be interesting to see if the same deck is used for this game too. If a new pitch is being used, then it will be interesting to see how it behaves. The evening is going to be clear and warm. The temperature is expected to be around 34 degrees Celsius. Humidity is going to be at 60 per cent.

Team News 

Three players from the Punjab Kings’ original squad have pulled out from this leg of the league. Dawid Malan, Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson will not be in action for the Kings. Replacing these three players are Nathan Ellis, Adil Rashid and Aiden Markram.

Rajasthan Royals started struggling with their overseas player when the tournament was in progress back in India and their troubles with the foreign players continue in the UAE too. Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Andrew Tye are unavailable for the Royals. To fill the void the Royals have brought in Oshane Thomas, Evin Lewis, Tabraiz Shamsi and Glenn Phillips.

Deccan Herald’s Dream XI

KL Rahul (c), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sanju Samson (wk), Fabian Allen, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Ravi Bishnoi, Chetan Sakariya, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh

Impact player for PBKS

KL Rahul: KL Rahul enjoyed his time in the UAE last year. The PBKS skipper scored a mighty impressive 670 runs last season and was the top scorer of the league. This season too, Rahul is the team’s leading runscorer with 331 runs from 7 outings. The team would be depending on his consistency at the top of the order. Only if Rahul can focus a bit more on his strike rate, he would become a very threatening prospect for the opponents.

Impact player for RR

Chris Morris: Attention will be on Chris Morris, the IPL’s most expensive player. The South African all-rounder was just about proving his worth before the proceedings in India were paused. He had picked 14 wickets from 7 matches at an average of 16.00. Morris had also proved worthy with the bat as his unbeaten 36 off 18 deliveries had catapulted the Royals to a stunning win over Delhi Capitals.