Having changed their name ahead of the season, Punjab Kings (PBKS) will be expecting a change in their fortunes, as they will be eyeing playoff qualification this season. PBKS will be expecting a fresh start of their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 campaign against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Mumbai on Monday. Despite fighting hard for most of the last season, Punjab lost several matches by close margins in the first half of the tournament and ended the season at 6th place.
The Punjab Kings let go of some big names and also replaced a few players with some big-ticket signings ahead of the season. They spent as many as ₹14 crores for Australia fast bowler Jhye Richardson and also spent ₹8 crores for the services of a relatively inexperienced player like Riley Meredith. Similarly, RR will be looking to make amends this year.
The Royals have a new captain in Sanju Samson, who replaced the outgoing Steve Smith. In IPL 2020, they finished bottom of the table in IPL 2020 and has made some big buys in the auction, will be looking to turn around their fortunes
Here are the 3 player battles to watch out for:
#3 Jos Buttler vs Jhye Richardson
Jhye Richardson was one of the costliest picks at the mini-auction despite the fact that he hasn’t played an IPL match. He has scalped 82 wickets from 67 matches in the domestic T20 matches at a phenomenal strike rate of 17.70. Richardson was the most successful bowler at the BBL 2021, as he had scalped 29 wickets from 17 matches and if he carries on the same form, Punjab Kings will be a tough team to beat this season.
Jos Buttler was in fine form in the T20I series between India and England and will be looking to continue in a similar vein in the IPL. Whether at the top of the order or as a finisher, he is a dangerous entity as far as opposition bowlers are concerned.