Rajasthan Royals are scheduled to resume their IPL 2021 campaign on September 21 as they lock horns with Punjab Kings at the Dubai International Stadium. It will be a new-look Royals side to an extent, with multiple new signings in the mix to make their Royals debut. 

Previous Meeting:

RR and PBKS last played each other in their IPL 2021 opener in April, and it turned out to be an absolute thriller. Sanju Samson, who was making his debut as IPL captain in that match, scored a magnificent 63-ball 119 while chasing a mammoth 222, which ended in a heart-breaking last-ball defeat. We hope to turn things around this time as we resume our campaign by facing our familiar rivals, but in Dubai. As a reminder, we beat our opponents in both fixtures last season in UAE – a trend we’ll look to continue.

Key Stats

Overall H2H Record: Played - 22, RR - 12, PBKS -10

Form Guide against PBKS: LWWLL

Overall Form Guide: WLWLL

Sanju Samson tops the overall run charts in RR vs PBKS contests with 525 runs. We also have a few milestones some of the overseas boys can look forward to, with David Miller 48 runs away from 2000 IPL runs. Chris Morris is 5 sixes away from 100 sixes in T20s, while Phillips is 2 runs away from 4000 runs in T20 cricket. 

Overseas Combination

The trickiest part to get right in any IPL XI is the overseas combination, and with our new signings, the job for our thinktank doesn’t get any easier. The match is expected to be a high-scoring affair thanks to both teams’ talent with the bat, so we could look to out-bat them by adding more star power to the batting - with the likes of Liam, Lewis, Miller or Phillips. On the flipside we could look to counter Punjab’s batting prowess by strengthening our bowling instead, with Shamsi, Mustafizur, Morris and even OT all strong contenders to play. This is probably our biggest headache going into the game, and how the team management balance both aspects will be crucial and interesting to note, especially with it being the first game of this ‘half-season’.

Players to watch

Besides the ‘soldiers of fortune’, captain Sanju Samson would be one key player to watch out for in tomorrow’s game. He’s led by example so far this season, so hopefully he can continue where he left off. Also, Chetan Sakariya, who is returning with international experience, is now a mainstay in the XI and it will be interesting to watch him play with more responsibility on his shoulders. It will also be fantastic to watch Chris Morris in pink again. He’s been with us throughout the camp in Dubai and will be raring to go out on the field tomorrow!

As for Punjab Kings, Mohammed Shami will be the key to their attack, with his experience and wickets against us historically. Not to mention, PBKS captain KL Rahul, with his 441 runs against us, will be someone we will look to get out early on.

In what would be the first-ever RR vs PBKS clash in Dubai, we’re looking forward to a cracker of a contest between two teams with excellent batting units. What we’re looking forward to, even more, is the fact that we’ll have fans in the stands at a Royals match, for the first time in over two years. We are so excited, hope you are too! Halla Bol.

What do you think of our team for the second half of the 2021 IPL season? Send in your views on Twitter at @rajasthanroyals or to me @cricketpun_duh