Former England charismatic cricketer Kevin Pietersen has backed the KL Rahul-led and Anil Kumble-coached Punjab Kings to emerge as a ‘dark horse’ and potential competition to serial winners, Mumbai Indians.
Punjab Kings have got to off a winning start to their IPL 2021 campaign following an arse-nipper against rivals Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai on Monday night.
Significant contributions from KL Rahul, Deepak Hooda, and Chris Gayle that propelled the Punjab Kings to 6-221 in 20 overs were nearly trumped by a sensational hundred by Rajasthan Royals skipper, Sanju Samson but Arshdeep Singh held his nerve, in the end, to eke out a four-run win.
“Mumbai Indians will always be the favourites because of their pedigree,” said Kevin Pietersen, speaking to Betway.
“They have won four of the last six IPLs and come in with some of the best players once again. I’m really interested to see how the Punjab Kings go, though,” he added.
‘They might be the dark horses this year’- Kevin Pietersen on Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings didn’t have the rub of the green going their way during the initial stages of the competition last year and even though they came back brilliantly to win five in a row at the backend, it still wasn’t enough for them to qualify in the top-4.
But Pietersen believes that with the likes of KL Rahul and Chris Gayle at the top and the inclusion of Australian quicks like Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith in their set-up, the franchise has a good chance this year.
“Last year they lost that one Super Over at the start of the competition and it seemed to set them back, but their form at the end of the season was decent,” said Pietersen.
“KL Rahul and Chris Gayle are very impressive options at the top and they’ve spent lots of money on the Aussie quick Jhye Richardson. I think they might be the dark horses this year,” he added.
Both Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith were taken for plenty in their maiden IPL 2021 outing and even though Punjab Kings managed to scrap off to a win in the end, the KL Rahul-led think-tank will be hoping for a better show from their overseas recruits in the upcoming games.