The final first game of IPL 2021 for franchises will be played between Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Monday at Wankhede Stadium. Both teams have made wholesale changes to the squad during IPL 2021 auction after releasing numerous high-profile players in January.
Rajasthan Royals has a slight edge in head-to-head record against Punjab Kings in the IPL history. RR has managed to win 12 games out of 21 games between the two sides. With a much-improved team this season, RR will be looking to continue this record when they meet PBKS in Mumbai on Monday. (Stats courtesy: MyKhel)
Jofra Archer is the big absentee for Rajasthan Royals. The English bowler underwent surgery on his right hand last Monday. He is expected to start bowling again in two weeks, so he is definitely missing the game against PBKS. David Miller will be another absentee for RR since the South African batsman is in quarantine after joining the squad last week.
Predicted Starting XI
RR will have to do without their premier fast bowler for this game, but Chris Morris is set to make his second debut for the franchise on Monday. The South African all-rounder is currently the most expensive player in IPL history. Meanwhile, Shivam Dube will also make his debut for RR against PBKS. Andrew Tye is likely to slot in place of Archer.
Meanwhile, Shahrukh Khan is likely to get his IPL debut for PBKS on Monday. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder has been in fine form during domestic tournaments this season. Meanwhile, big-money signing Jhye Richardson is also likely to make his debut against Rajasthan Royals.
Rajasthan Royals: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami
Key Battle to watch out
Jhye Richardson enjoyed a terrific Big Bash League 2021, picking up 29 wickets in 17 matches. His performances in the Australian T-20 league made him one of the most sought-after players in the IPL 2021 auction. Richardson will be coming up against Jos Butler on Monday. It will be intriguing to watch how he goes about the business in powerplay overs since Butler is a destructive batsman during fielding restrictions.