Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals will look to get back to winning ways when they face each other after two straight defeats in IPL 2018.
Kings XI Punjab switch home venues and travel to Indore to host Rajasthan Royals in a bid to strengthen their place in the IPL 2018 Playoffs. Ajinkya Rahane’s visiting team aims to shake off twin defeats to Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad to boost their Playoffs chances, as they find themselves seventh on the points table.
In their eight appearances in the ongoing IPL 2018 season, KXIP have given five wins and faecd three losses. Ravichandran Ashwin-led side are a step away from qualifying for the playoffs. Even though Punjab fell down to Mumbai Indians in their last match, the team boasts of players like Chris Gayle, who scored a half-century on Friday.
After a lengthy layoff, Kings XI Punjab return to action and aim to hit the ground running to take back their third place spot, which was taken away by Kolkata Knight Riders. KXIP lost their last game at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad, a rare poor performance with the bat from R Ashwin’s team.
Batting Performances: Kings XI Punjab
The opening combination of KL Rahul and Chris Gayle has sent shivers down their opposition teams thanks to their explosive partnerships, and both of them would be looking to carry on their rich vein of form in the tournament. The solid opening partnership has meant another explosive batsman, Aaron Finch, has found himself out of favour and batting lower down the order, where he hasn’t been as successful, while Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair have given strong finishes to the team’s total.
Their only sore spot remains the middle order, where Yuvraj Singh was tried but didn’t succeed, while his replacement, Manoj Tiwary, also failed to impress. Ashwin and the coaching staff would be keen to bring Yuvraj back to counter the middle overs and finish off the innings strongly against RR. Bowling, however, remains KXIP’s strong suit with debutant Ankit Rajpoot finishing with season-best figures of 5 for 14 in the previous fixture.
Bowlng Attack: Kings XI Punjab
Ashwin and Mujeeb ur Rahman make up a strong spin-bowling line-up, while Andrew Tye provides the team with experience in the seam bowling department, making them a formidable bowling line-up to contend with.
Batting Performances: Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, find themselves battling to stay alive in the competition after suffering agonizing defeats in their two previous games. RR, however, would be buoyed by the form shown by Jos Buttler, who showed his class in the previous fixture against Delhi Daredevils.
Rahane, Buttler and Sanju Samson remain central to the Royals’ batting plans if they are to succeed against KXIP, as big-money all-rounder Ben Stokes has failed to impress with either bat or ball, and his place in the team looks in jeopardy. Rahane would still be keen to give him another go, although they will be tempted to bring back Heinrich Klassen in his place.
Bowlng Attack: Rajasthan Royals
The bowling stocks in the Royals line-up look slim, as both Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat have gone for runs. Former KXIP bowler Anureet Singh remains on the bench and it will be interested to see if the swing bowler is brought in for either of them. Jofra Archer’s inclusion brought in some stability in the Royals line-up, but their collective bowling attack has looked less than impressive in the tournament.
Predicted Winner: Kings XI Punjab
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Heinrich Klaasen, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Sudhesan Midhun, Sanju Samson, Jatin Saxena, D’Arcy Short, Ish Sodhi, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jaydev Unadkat.
Kings XI Punjab: Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, David Miller, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Axar Patel, Akshdeep Nath, Mayank Agarwal, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Dagar.