Two teams struggling at the wrong end of the 2021 Indian Premier League will meet when the Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals face off at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday. Both teams need a win, having enjoyed just three victories apiece before league play was postponed back in May because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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In the United States, the match (10 a.m. ET start time) won’t be on TV anywhere, but anyone in the US can watch Punjab Kings vs Rajasthan Royals live on ESPN+:
With ESPN+, you’ll be able to stream every single Indian Premier League match. It also includes dozens of other live sports, every 30-for-30 documentary and additional original content (both video and written) all for $6.99 per month.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $13.99 per month. Separately, the three streaming services would cost a total $20.97 per month, so you’re saving about 33 percent:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch Punjab Kings vs Rajasthan Royals live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4 or 5, Xbox One or Series X/S, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), Samsung Smart TV, Oculus Go, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
Punjab Kings vs Rajasthan Royals Preview
Both teams are struggling largely because they are playing without premium talent, including some of England’s best. The Kings signed prolific T20 hitter Dawid Malan, but he’s withdrawn from the second phase of the tournament. It’s the same story for Rajasthan duo Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. The latter is a stylish opening batsman, but Stokes announced back in July his intention to “prioritise his mental well-being.”
Buttler brings power to the middle of the order, evidenced by the 254 runs he managed in the first phase. The Royals would also have enjoyed turning Jofra Archer loose on the Punjab batting order, but the fast bowler is still dealing with a fractured elbow.
So many high-profile absences make this a match likely to be decided by the replacements. Among them, most of the pressure will be on South Africa’s Aiden Markram. He’s tasked with replacing Malan, no easy job. Markram’s useful with the bat, but he’s been coming into his own as an internationally reputed spin bowler.
The Royals will need the new man on form, but it would also be helpful if Mayank Agarwal picks up where he left off before play was suspended. Agarwal hit a 99 not out when the Kings slipped to a seven-wicket defeat against pacesetters the Delhi Capitals back in May.
Punjab need a collective effort, but as usual, their hopes will ultimately rest on the brilliance of skipper KL Rahul. He’s second in the Orange Cap standings with 331 runs, and Rahul can still amass fours and sixes quicker than most.
If the Royals have an answer to Rahul and Agarwal, it will come from Chris Morris. He’s taken 14 wickets this season, and his seam bowling will suit a wicket ideal for pace. Morris will need help against Rahul, Agarwal, Chris Gayle and the rest of Punjab’s notable six-hitters. It means the Royals should be smart about when to use Mustafizur Rahman. The fast-medium paced lefty has a decent economy rate of 8.29 and can be dangerous late on. He took three wickets and allowed just 20 runs during four overs when the Royals beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 55 runs in their last match.
Off-break specialist Deepak Hooda is the Kings’ best hope of slowing down Rajasthan’s batsmen. It won’t be easy against Liam Livingstone and Buttler’s replacement Evin Lewis. Both are capable of paddling the ball across lengthy distances. Hooda has allowed an average of 7.07 runs through 14 overs, and if he can keep the Royals’ power hitting under control, the Kings can score a vital victory.
Frankly, this match won’t be kind to whoever is pitching the deliveries. Not when so many sloggers like Livingstone, Rahul and Agarwal are involved.