Punjab lock horns with Delhi in the ‘Northern Derby’ of Indian T20 League 2021 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, May 2.
Both the teams head into the derby after securing big wins in their previous fixtures. While Delhi thrashed Kolkata by seven wickets on Thursday, Punjab defeated Bangalore by 34 runs at the same venue on Friday.
The young two captains Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul will hope to continue their winning momentum on Sunday.
Delhi vs Punjab probable XI
The big concern for Punjab will be the form of West Indian duo Nicholas Pooran and Chris Gayle. While Gayle has been inconsistent, Pooran is enduring a very poor run. He has become only the fifth batsman in the history of the Indian T20 League to notch four scores of zero in a season. Pooran's horrible form may prompt them to bring in World No. 1 T20 batsman Dawid Malan into the playing XI.
Meanwhile, Riley Meredith had suffered an injury during Friday night's game. If Riley Meredith is unavailable, Punjab will bring in his compatriot Jhye Richardson.
On the other hand, second-placed Delhi are expected to retain their playing XI that thrashed Kolkata on Thursday.
Punjab predicted XI: KL Rahul (captain/wicket-keeper), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran/Dawid Malan, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Chris Jordan, Jhye Richardson/Riley Meredith, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi
Delhi predicted XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikar Dhawan, Steve Smith, Rishabh Pant (captain/wicket-keeper), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan
Punjab vs Delhi prediction: Who will win?
In the Punjab vs Delhi head-to-head record in the Indian T20 League, the former hold a slight advantage as they have won 15 of the 27 matches played between these two sides.
However, while Punjab might have an advantage in the head-to-head record against Delhi, Rishabh Pant’s side will start as favourites as they have won three of their five matches against KL Rahul and his men. Furthermore, Punjab were thrashed by Delhi in the earlier fixture in Indian T20 League 2021.
Best performers in Punjab vs Delhi
Top Tip: Best Batsmen
In the batting department, Punjab will depend on their swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle to come good against Punjab on Sunday. The 41-year-old has a decent record against Rishabh Pant's side, amassing 490 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of 156.05. He has hit one ton and two fifties against this opposition.
On the other hand, Delhi will bank on their all-time leading run-scorer Shikhar Dhawan to play another match-winning innings against Punjab. Dhawan has scored 825 runs in 25 matches against Punjab with one hundred and six fifties to his name.
Top tip: Best bowlers
As far as bowling is concerned, Punjab pacer Mohammed Shami is expected to play an important role against his former side at Narendra Modi Stadium. Shami has picked eight wickets in five matches against Delhi at an economy of 7.2.
For Delhi, Umesh Yadav has a great record against Punjab. The 33-year-old has claimed 29 wickets in 19 innings at an average of 18.65 against KL Rahul’s side. These stats suggest Umesh can make a return to Delhi’s playing XI on Sunday.
Top tip: All-rounders and wicket-keepers
Delhi all-rounder Marcus Stoinis hasn’t had a defining performance in the ongoing edition of the Indian T20 League. However, he will certainly take inspiration from his last year’s performance, amassing 352 runs in 17 matches at a strike rate of 148.52. Stoinis had also scalped 13 wickets at an average of 21.76. He is well-placed to perform against Punjab on Sunday.
On the other hand, Punjab lacks top-quality all-rounders in their ranks. The team will hope Jhye Richardson can score a few runs at the lower order as he has hit three fifties in first-class cricket.
For the wicket-keeper position, Rishabh Pant will be the preferred choice over KL Rahul. Pant has taken 50 catches and completed 13 stumpings in the Indian T20 League history as opposed to KL Rahul’s 44 catches and five stumpings.
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Featured photo: IPL/BCCI