RR vs PBKS, IPL 2021, Match 4: Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings aim for winning starts

Punjab Kings had staged a miraculous comeback last year after a disastrous start, nearly making it to the playoffs in the process, and captain KL Rahul will hope his side is able to build momentum early so as to not build too much pressure over the playoffs qualification towards the business end of the tournament. With their purchase of top-ranked T20I batsman Dawid Malan, and shoring up the pace department with the acquisition of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, Punjab will certainly fancy their chances this year.

With a new captain in the form of Sanju Samson, who takes over the reigns of the side after Steve Smith’s disappointing run last season and subsequent exit, as well as a host of big-ticket player purchases in the February auction, Rajasthan Royals hope to start on a fresh note this year and do better than their seventh and eighth-place finishes in the 2019 and 2020 seasons respectively.

The upcoming match between Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings promises to be a battle of big-hitters and given the boundary sizes at the Wankhede, we certainly can expect some big scores later this evening. Will it turn out to be a thriller like the one at Sharjah last season, when Rahul Tewatia became a household name after pulling off a once-in-a-lifetime chase? Only time will tell.

Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings begin their journeys in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) when they face each other in the fourth match of the ongoing season at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. A winning start will be important for the two sides that are hoping to bounce back after disappointing campaigns in the UAE last year, with Punjab and Rajasthan finishing sixth and eighth respectively.

Both sides have made a number of changes to their squad since IPL 2020 and were among the major spenders in the player auction that took place earlier in February. Rajasthan broke the bank in their pursuit of South African all-rounder Chris Morris, shelling out Rs 16.25 crore to secure his services, thus making him the most expensive buy ever in the history of the league. The 2008 champions also bought Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman, India all-rounder Shivam Dube among others.

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the fourth match of IPL 2021, with Rajasthan Royals taking on Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Both teams struggled in the previous season in the UAE, with Punjab and Rajasthan finishing a disappointing sixth and eighth respectively, and will want to turn things around this season.

Rajasthan also witnessed a change in leadership after the franchise decided to part ways with Steve Smith, who himself had taken over the reigns of the team from Ajinkya Rahane. Smith had a disappointing run with the Royals last year as he hardly performed with the bat while the team finished eighth. Hard-hitting Kerala batsman Sanju Samson, who also backs up as a keeper, has since been appointed the leader.

Punjab, on the other hand, fortified their pace unit by buying Australians Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith for Rs 14 crore and Rs 8 crore respectively. However, playing both in the same XI would be a little tricky given the team would want to utilise the overseas slots in other departments as well. The 2014 runners-up did add the top-ranked T20I batsman Dawid Malan to their squad during the auction ahead of this season, and would want to play him alongside the likes of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran.

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