RCB vs PBKS: Indian teammates Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will clash on Sunday.© BCCI/IPL
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings faced off on Sunday in the 48th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season. The match will be played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, with a lot at stake for both the teams. A win for RCB will help them make it to the playoffs, while Punjab Kings desperately need a win to stay in the top four. Both teams enter the match after the opposite win. RCB won their previous game over Rajasthan Royals, while PBKS registered an emphatic win against Kolkata Knight Riders.
After a slow start to life in the UAE leg, RCB have returned to some form, impressing with the bat of Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell. The bowling department is led by current Purple Cap holder Harshal Patel, with spinner Yuzvendra Chahal also making a big contribution.
RCB had lost their opening two matches of the UAE leg but registered two consecutive wins to overtake the others in the race for the playoffs.
And both the victories came against strong opposition in Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. The win helped Virat Kohli’s team improve their net run-rate, which at one point was the worst in the league.
Punjab Kings will also enter the match on the basis of victory. Chasing a tough target with three balls to spare, they beat KKR by five wickets. PBKS are currently fifth on the points table with 10 points, the same number of points as three other teams (KKR, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians).
A win will be crucial for PBKS but there is a lot that needs to be sorted out. While KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have made a habit of giving their team great starts, the PBKS middle order has not really done well.
Chris Gayle is no longer a part of IPL 2021, while Nicholas Pooran has failed to live up to the expectations. Aiden Markram has been good at patches. Tamil Nadu’s big-hitter Shah Rukh Khan came to the rescue of the team with a scintillating cameo against KKR but Punjab will surely need others to make a big contribution to move ahead in the tournament.
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