As Punjab Kings elect to bowl against Rajasthan Royals in their opening encounter of the second leg of the IPL 2021 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, they will be walking the field as fan favorites as per a poll by FPJ on Twitter.
Notably, both the teams have been severly affected by player unavailability and injuries coming into the UAE leg of the season. Along with Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, RR has lost the services of star batsman Jos Buttler and Andrew Tye. They have been replaced by Oshane Thomas, Glenn Phillips, Evin Lewis, and Tabraiz Shamsi in the roaster.
The poll, undertaken by Free Press Journal on Twitter indicates lead for the Punjab Kings over Rajasthan Royals side as they collected 57.1% votes.The Royals on the other hand picked 42.9% votes.
This play sees two teams in desperate need of a victory to keep their hopes for a playoff berth alive. Both PBKS and RR currently have six points, but the game is all more crucial for KL Rahul's boys as they've played one more game than RR, leaving their match result here more critical.
The initial encounter at the Dubai Stadium which was scaled out amid COVID-19 saw a pitch that had a lot of assistance for pacers which could play into the hands of Rajasthan Royals' impressive pace unit comprising of Mustafizur Rehman, Chris Morris, Chetan Sakariya, Kartik Tyagi and Jaydev Unadkat.
However, Punjab's strong batting squad led by KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, and Chris Gayle will give them the edge in the encounter and makes them likely to emerge victorious in the encounter.
Playing XI: Punjab Kings: KL Rahul(w/c), Mayank Agarwal, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Fabian Allen, Adil Rashid, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson(w/c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Evin Lewis, Liam Livingstone, Mahipal Lomror, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, Kartik Tyagi.