Three weeks after the infamous ‘Mankad’ incident that raised a lot of eyebrows, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) are all set to square off against each other in the 32nd match of the ongoing season of Indian Premier League(IPL).
Punjab, who is currently on the fifth position in the points table, is one of the most inconsistent sides of this tournament. They started their journey with impressive wins but suffered back-to-back losses in their previous two encounters against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI) respectively.
On the other hand, RR will be high on confidence as they come to play this match after a scintillating win over MI, where Jos Buttler’s outstanding knock of 89 outclassed the latter’s bowling line-up.
Kings XI Punjab
When you think of Punjab, the first thing that comes to mind is their strong opening pair. Chris Gayle and KL Rahul are in an amazing form and would want to continue their golden form with another match-winning performance against the Royals.
Rahul, who has 335 runs under his belt, is second on the list of highest run-getters in the league, while Gayle is just one step behind his opening partner with 322 runs to his name.
On the other hand, the middle-order has been one of the major concerns for the Punjab franchise. Players like Mayank Agarwal and Sarfaraz Khan have played little cameos for their team but haven’t been able to convert those cameos into big knocks. We could see David Miller coming back into the side for today’s game and his addition can give depth to their batting line-up.
Meanwhile, if we talk about the bowling department, it has been good in patches. In their previous two encounters, they have failed to defend huge totals like 197 (against Mumbai Indians) and 173 (against RCB).
Andrey Tye, Mohammed Shami, and Sam Curran would have to bowl a tight line and length if they want to restrict players likes Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson from scoring big runs for their side.
With a win over Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan’s strength lies in their superb batting line-up. If Punjab has Gayle, then Rajasthan has Jos Buttler. Buttler, with 288 runs to his name, has been in sublime form since the start of the tournament.
But, just like Punjab, the major area of concern for Rajasthan has also been their middle-order. Batsmen like Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, and Ben Stokes would have to pull up their socks and deliver against the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali.
Pacer Jofra Archer has been the standout performer for Rajasthan since the start of this year’s edition. He has continuously troubled batsmen with his pace and accurate line and length. Among other bowlers, seamers like Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat would have to take wickets at regular intervals if they want to win this game against Punjab.
Spinner Shreyas Gopal will be looking to make the most of this opportunity as he would have a chance to trick the ‘universal boss’ Chris Gayle with his amazing leg-spin and deadly ‘googlies’.
Head To Head
Total matches played – 18
Rajasthan won – 10
Punjab won – 8
Kings XI Punjab – Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, and Mohammed Shami.
Rajasthan Royals – Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes/Liam Livingstone, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat.
About the Author
Sports Journalist by profession, a Cricket Fanatic by passion. Aayush Sharma has been following the game of cricket since childhood and considers Sachin Tendulkar as his idol. When in free time, he loves to read books or go out and play some gully cricket with friends. For him, Tennis ace Roger Federer and F1 Legend Michael Schumacher are the only sportspersons that reach the level of Tendulkar