Indian Premier League is nearing its business end and the fight to top four is becoming immensely interesting. Rajasthan Royals can mathematically leapfrog a couple of spots with a convincing win over Kings XI Punjab, while the visitors can also aim for three points to go to the top.
The two sides locked horns against each other in the reverse leg, just one day ago. Playing at Punjab’s new home Indore, Rajasthan registered 152 runs while batting first. But, it was not enough in front of a confident Lokesh Rahul. The opener scored a magnificent 84 from just 54 balls and that helped Punjab see it through with eight balls to spare.
Barring the win against Rajasthan, Ravichandran Ashwin and co have lost the other two (against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians) of their previous three matches. Ajinkya Rahane’s side also had a similar fate, as they have now lost back to back three games. These defeats have come against Sunrisers, Delhi Daredevils, and Punjab. It goes without saying that the last boys of the league desperately need a win from tomorrow’s fixture, or else their hope for a top four finish might just go downhill.
The home side will surely go with an unchanged eleven. They made a few changes during the last game and those changes paid off. Especially, Axar Patel and Marcus Stoinis delivered with useful contributions and the skipper will want to back them with more opportunities. The overseas players are also in good touch for Kings XI Punjab.
Rajasthan, on the other hand, might consider a couple of changes. First, D’Arcy Short has not been a hit so far in this season. It will be interesting to see whether he is dropped in favour of an international bowler, either Ish Sodhi or Ben Laughlin. Moreover, opening Jos Buttler has paid off as the wicketkeeper scored consecutive fifties in the last two matches. Perhaps reshuffling the batting order once again might help. Ben Stokes needs to prove his worth and Rahane should consider put him up in the order to give more time in the middle. The captain himself and Sanju Samson also need to deliver to get a victory against Royals.
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (Wk), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (C), Jos Buttler (Wk), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Mahipal Lomror, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ish Sodhi/Ben Laughlin, Jaydev Unadkat.
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