Punjab left out big-hitting Chris Gayle and included Nicholas Pooran, Aiden Markram, Adil Rashid, Fabian Allen as the four foreign players in their Playing XI. Three players -- Ishan Porel, Markram and Rashid -- were handed debut caps by the Punjab outfit.
Whereas Rajasthan Royals handed a debut to West Indies dasher Evin Lewis, giving him the responsibility to start the innings with young Yashasvi Jaiswal.
"It's good to be back in Dubai. A lot of guys were playing international cricket, but we are all professionals and have done our best to prepare. Pooran, Markram, Adil Rashid, Fabian Allen. Markram will bat No. 3, unfortunately, Chris Gayle misses out," Rahul said after the toss.
"We are good at setting or chasing as a team that we have. We have great talent and great characters. Lewis, Livingstone, Morris, Mustafizur are the overseas players," said Samson.
Here are some facts about all four debutants -- Lewis, Porel, Markram, Rashid -- currently involved in the PBKS-RR game:
Lewis, a left-handed attacking batsman known for his white-ball prowess, has got a 48-ball T20I hundred. Having plied his trade for many global franchises including Mumbai Indians, Lewis is no stranger to T20 leagues and the IPL. His stats speak volumes about his explosive batting style. In 45 T20Is, he has scored 1318 runs at a strike rate of 158.03 including two hundreds. The 29-year-old has also scored over 430 runs in 160 IPL games.
The 23-year-old Porel, a lanky pacer from Bengal, had grabbed headlines by picking a four-fer against Pakistan in the U-19 World Cup semis against Pakistan at Christchurch. Porel was also a part of India's contingent during the recent Australia tour but was sent back home after sustaining a hamstring injury during net session. He also had a lengthy injury break after U-19 World Cup in 2018 but came back well during the last domestic season. The promising pacer's career has been plagued by a saga of injuries but he will be looking to make his presence felt in the UAE.
The South African top-order batsman was roped in by the Punjab outfit as a replacement for Dawid Malan. This is Markram's first stint in IPL after having gone unsold in previous auctions. The right-hander's inclusion to the Punjab camp a night after his unbeaten 48 off 33 against Sri Lanka in Colombo. Markram has made 13 appearances for South Africa in the shortest format, scoring 405 runs at 33.75 at a strike rate of 150.
England tweaker Adil Rashid was roped in by Punjab Kings as a replacement for Australia's Jhye Richardson, who pulled out of the tournament. The 33-year-old is currently joint second alongside Stuart Broad on the list of leading wicket-takers for England in T20 Internationals.