IPL 2021 preview: Rahul's Punjab seeks to build winning run against struggling KKR

Captain KL Rahul has been one of the few consistent performers in the formidable-looking Punjab batting unit and he once again led by example against MI with an unbeaten 60.

With his unbeaten 60 against current champion Mumbai Indians, Punjab skipper KL Rahul scored his third fifty in five games.   -  Sportzpics

Lost. Lost. Lost. Lost.

That is what Kolkata Knight Riders has done in its last four matches. Eoin Morgan’s men wouldn’t want to make it five in a row in IPL 14 when they face Punjab Kings on Monday.

They would be hoping the change of venue – the round of matches at the Narendra Modi Stadium at Ahmedabad kick off with this one – could bring them a change in fortune, too.

And for inspiration to put an end to a sequence of defeats, they needn’t look far. Punjab had registered three losses on the trot before it scored an impressive nine-wicket win over reigning champion Mumbai Indians in its last match.

READ|IPL 2021 preview: SRH hopes to get going against DC

K.L. Rahul and his men would be keen to continue from where they left off in Chennai. That victory was set up by their bowlers; the captain led the chase of the modest target with his third fifty in five innings.
Chris Gayle’s unbeaten 43 would have also gladdened the team management; Punjab needs its Universe Boss to fire.

The bowling looks sharper with the entry of leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who took two crucial wickets against Mumbai, in his first match of the tournament. Pacers Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh have been shouldering the bowling responsibilities commendably.

Pat Cummins was expected to do that – and more, perhaps – for KKR, but it is his batting that has hit headlines (30 runs off a Sam Curran over). It will be interesting to see if the Aussie quick’s trans-Tasman neighbour Lockie Ferguson gets a look in.

RELATED|Batting was the letdown, says KKR captain Morgan

Batting remains a worry, too. The awful form of Shubman Gill and Morgan – neither has touched 40 in their 10 innings between them – has been one of the reasons for the Kolkatans’ poor show. While Andre Russell has delivered with the ball, more is required from his bat.
KKR needs to step up.