IPL 2021 may not have the most riveting race for all the top four positions on the table, but the race for the fourth position is likely to be intriguing. Punjab Kings remained in the hunt to make it to the playoffs by clinching a big victory against high Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.
RCB has been in great form this tournament while going into this game. However, the second defeat of IPL 2021 has put a massive dent in their net run rate. Meanwhile, Punjab Kings are level on points with fourth-placed Mumbai Indians after beating RCB by 34 runs. Here are some key takeaways from Punjab’s third win of the season.
KL Rahul needs more support from other batsmen
KL Rahul continues to keep his good form in IPL 2021 by scoring 91 runs in 57 deliveries against RCB. His innings helped Punjab to post a competitive total of 179 runs on the board. Rahul also got the orange cap after this innings as he is now the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 and remains on track to take this award for the second season in a row.
Other batsmen need to provide more support to Rahul. At one point on Friday, Rahul was stranded at one end as there was a collapse in the batting unit. They were reduced to 119/5 despite a good start provided by Chris Gayle and Rahul. Harpreet Brar spent some time with Rahul in the middle, which eventually turned out to be a match-winning partnership. While going forward, the middle-order should be stepping up to complement Rahul’s long innings to give Punjab a good chance of winning more games in IPL 2021.
Spin at right time causing problems in Ahmedabad
Spin bowlers tilted the game in Punjab’s favour on Friday. Harpreet Brar deceived Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Glenn Maxwell to break the back of RCB’s batting unit. Ravi Bishnoi also bowled an economical spell and took two wickets. There was a good amount of turn on the pitch for spinners to exploit.
For RCB, Shahbaz Ahmed and Yuzvendra Chahal also came up with crucial wickets to dismiss Deepak Hooda and Shahrukh Khan to dent Punjab’s hopes of reaching 200. The test matches between England and India in Ahmedabad also helped spinners a lot in March, so it will not be surprising to see teams stacking their lineup with spinners for the remaining games in Ahmedabad.
RCB needs to address number three position
RCB never managed to get some sort of momentum during the chase. After the early dismissal of Devdutt Padikkal, Rajat Patidar came in to bat at number three. The young batsman struggled to score freely against Punjab, which effectively imparted more pressure on Virat Kohli. They were going just over six runs per over at halfway stage.
This defeat does raise few questions about who should bat at number three for RCB. Patidar did well against Delhi Capitals in the previous game, but his overall returns in this position have not been up to the mark this season. Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Ahmed have also been used in this position, but these changes didn’t yield success. RCB needs to decide whether they need to push Glenn Maxwell to number three to provide more impetus to the batting while chasing big targets. Getting your key players more deliveries in the middle will increase the chance of winning the game.