32nd match of the IPL 2021 is currently being played in Dubai between Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals. The biggest story so far is that Punjab Kings have left West Indies great Chris Gayle out of their starting lineup for tonight's game against Rajasthan. Chris Gayle, who is celebrating his 42nd birthday, had stated in the pre-match interview with Kevin Pietersen that if given the opportunity by the management and captain, he would like to play tonight. When PBKS skipper KL Rahul revealed the playing XI following the toss, many were surprised to see Chris Gayle missing from the team.
Social media users are now flooding Twitter with memes and jokes, expressing their disappointment with Punjab's team selection and the franchise's decision to keep Gayle out on his birthday. Some users also highlighted how Rajasthan Royals has left South African batsman David Miller out of their playing XI despite the team missing some big hitters in the second phase.
Sunil Gavaskar and Kevin Pietersen had already expressed their surprise and disappointment at the Punjab Kings' decision to leave Chris Gayle out of the starting XI. Gayle has dominated every T20 league in the world, according to Gavaskar, who added, "It is astonishing to see him out on his birthday." Pietersen had said Punjab should have included Gayle in their starting XI for tonight's match, implying that if he doesn't perform well, they can always drop him in the following game.
South African batsmen Aiden Markram, India’s U19 World Cup prodigy Ishan Porel, and England’s star spinner Adil Rashid made their IPL debut for Punjab Kings today. Punjab went with Nicholas Pooran, Adil Rashid, Fabian Allen, and Aiden Markram as its four overseas players. Markram has replaced birthday boy Chris Gayle at the number 3 position and he will definitely look to score big in order to justify his selection.
PBKS Playing XI: KL Rahul (C), Mayank Agarwal, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Fabian Allen, Adil Rashid, Ishan Porel, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar.
RR Playing XI: Evin Lewis, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson (C), Mahipal Lomror, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Chetan Sakariya, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Kartik Tyagi.