Solid batting line-up the focus as we look at the best predicted playing 11 of Punjab Kings (PBKS) for IPL 2021.
Punjab Kings were probably the worst side when it came to player utilization in IPL 2020. For the entire 14 matches, PBKS struggled to have a solid playing 11, and just kept making changes after changes after a few failures. However, aside from their team performance, PBKS actually had some really good individual performances.
The likes of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal were star openers in the tournament. Nicholas Pooran was a breath of fire in the middle-order. Chris Gayle, who joined in the second half, felt impressive in his limited time in the team. Whereas, Ravi Bishnoi and Mohammed Shami led the bowling department well.
Come to 2021, PBKS have done some interesting changes in the squad. They purchased two of the costliest players in the auction in the form of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith. They could acquire the services of Dawid Malan at just his base price. Tamil Nadu’s attacking finisher, Shahrukh Khan was purchased for 5 crores. In Addition, PBKS bought Fabien Allen, Jalaj Saxena, Moises Henriques, Saurabh Kumar, and Utkarsh Singh.
Overall, PBKS’s squad does look promising with the addition of a few players. So, how does their predicted playing 11 looks like for IPL 2021 if all players are available, and fit to play? Let’s find out in this article. Before that, let’s quickly skim through the Punjab Kings’ squad for IPL 2021.
Punjab Kings’ Squad for IPL 2021:
Batsmen: Dawid Malan, KL Rahul (C&WK), Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Prabsimran Singh, Sarfaraz Khan & Shahrukh Khan
All-rounders: Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, Deepak Hooda, Fabien Allen, Harpreet Brar, Jalaj Saxena, Moises Henriques, Saurabh Kumar & Utkarsh Singh
Bowlers: Arshdeep Singh, Chris Jordan, Jhye Richardson, Ishan Porel, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi & Riley Meredith.
The Solid Core
Punjab Kings’ core revolves around a few key players in the squad. This includes Captain KL Rahul and his Karnataka counterpart, Mayank Agarwal at the top. The middle-order too for sure should see the West Indian duo of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran. Ideally, Gayle should play as the opener, but given Mayank’s success, Gayle is most-likely to play at number 3.
The spin duo of Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin really impressed by their performance in IPL 2020. However, Bishnoi is the leading spinner of the squad, and should play most of the matches. Jyhe Richardson should play the role of attacking batsman and lead overseas pacer of the squad. Whereas Shami should take the centre stage as the leading pacer of the squad.
So, in all probability, Punjab Kings should definitely play 7 players in most of their matches. The list includes KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal at the top, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran in the middle-order. The bowling should definitely see Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, and Jhye Richardson playing most of the matches.
Best Predicted Playing XI for PBKS:
Talking about the best playing 11 for Punjab Kings, they have to decide on the fourth overseas player on priority. While Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, and Jhye Richardson should play most of the matches to begin with, the quality of Dawid Malan can’t be ignored. However, with three openers in top 3, the only place left for Malan to play is number 4 with Pooran pushed to number 5 for the finishing role.
What this combination gives is 5 solid batting options with another senior pro, Mandeep Singh to follow. In this scenario, PBKS doesn’t have to rely upon all-rounders, which the team anyway doesn’t have in plenty. At number 7, PBKS can have the attacking pacer-batsman, Jhye Richardson. Following him would the spin duo of Bishnoi & Ashwin, and the pace duo of Shami & Arshdeep.
Both, Murugan Ashwin and Arshdeep Singh looked impressive in the limited outings they had in IPL 2020. Hence, these two are most-likely to play the initial few matches; at least. So, 6 solid batting options, and 5 proper bowlers seem the best way to go for Punjab Kings as they don’t have good Indian all-rounders in the side.
Best Predicted 11 for Punjab Kings (PBKS) for IPL 2021:
KL Rahul (C&WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Dawid Malan, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami & Arshdeep Singh.
Option 1: Moises Henriques for Dawid Malan
There is no doubt about Dawid Malan’s talent. The guy has been a gem of a batsman for the England national side, and is currently ranked number 1 in T20Is. However, having him in the squad does make batting strong, but Punjab Kings would then be deprived of an extra bowler.
Instead, Punjab Kings can look to play Moises Henriques as the finisher and an extra bowling option if things don’t go well. So, if Moises Henriques is played in the side, Pooran moves to number 4, Mandeep moves to number 5, and Moises can be played at 6. This is still a decent well-balanced attack.
KL Rahul (C&WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Moises Henriques, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami & Arshdeep Singh.
Option 2: Two Overseas Pacers
Punjab Kings bought two quality pacers in the side in IPL 2021 Auction in the form of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meridith. While Jhye is definitely a sure short starter, Riley might find it difficult to play in the XI initially due to overseas players restrictions and Team combination.
However, if Riley is played, Punjab Kings can play the attacking Shahrukh Khan or Deepak Hooda at number 6. From the bowlers, one of Murugan Ashwin or Arshdeep Singh would then miss out depending on the playing conditions.
KL Rahul (C&WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Shahrukh Khan / Deepak Hooda, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami & Murugan Ashwin / Arshdeep Singh.
Option 3: Spinner’s Delight
Punjab Kings had two quality spinners in their side in the form of Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin. In addition to these two, PBKS purchased spin all-rounder Fabien Allen and Indian all-rounder Jalaj Saxena in the squad in IPL 2021 Auction.
So, if PBKS play on a spin-friendly paradise, all-rounders Jalaj Saxena and Fabien Allen can be played in the XI at 6 and 7. This gives the team two solid hitting options down the order, and really good spin attack. Such combinations can be used on pitches like that of Chennai and Delhi.
KL Rahul (C&WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Jalaj Saxena, Fabien Allen, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin & Mohammed Shami.
So, that’s the playing 11 combinations for PBKS for IPL 2021. Barring the core of 7 and combination players, PBKS also have good backups in the form of Chris Jordan, Ishan Porel, Sarfaraz Khan, and Prabsimran Singh.
Thanks for reading! What’s your predicted playing 11 for Punjab Kings for IPL 2021? Please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.