As the saying goes, Sport can be a cruel leveler and it may very well happen in the matches to come. With Rajasthan Royals
set to take on Kings XI Punjab, the pictures of the infamous Buttler run-out will light up in the minds of cricket fans of both the sides.
Both the sides have come a long way since then and while Kings XI Punjab are still pretty much strong contenders for a playoff spot,
things aren't as bright for the Royals. Having said that, the Royals are coming off a brilliant win in their last match whereas Kings XI
Punjab after a heart-wrenching defeat and things could take an interesting turn in this game as well. The battle between Ravichandran
Ashwin and Jos Buttler will be the one to watch out for when the two sides lock horns at Punjab Cricket Association, Mohali in two days
time on Tuesday, 16th April.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
Kings XI Punjab's last loss was more seen as Royal Challengers Bangalore's first win as KXIP became the first team to be trumped by Virat
Kohli's side. With that loss, the Kings XI Punjab dropped down to the fifth spot in the points table and will slide further if they're unable to win
their upcoming contest.
So far in the tournament, Kings XI Punjab haven't really been able to garner any momentum whatsoever. Their wins have been sporadic which
speaks volumes about the consistency of the side. However, they have been brilliant while playing at home where they have won seven out of their last eight matches. Notably, their loss against RCB brought an end to their seven-match win streak at home.
Kings XI Punjab have had players in and out of their side due to injuries which has led to a little instability. Additionally, Ravichandran Ashwin has probably tried too many things and their bizarre and poor tactics have probably cost them four important points. They were poor with the ball and in the field against RCB, and while dew had a big role to play there, it could not really be taken in as an excuse.
On paper, Kings XI Punjab appear to be rock-solid, especially with the bat. KL Rahul and Chris Gayle are one of the most explosive opening pairs of the tournament and will once again be the key to their success. However, the rest of their batting order has hardly produced any runs with the exception of Mayank Agarwal. They are over-reliant on their opening pair and have a fragile batting unit. Similarly, there is lack of variety in their bowling lineup which can struggle when pitted against a quality batting lineup and in conditions not as good for bowling - both of which was the case against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Overall, Kings XI Punjab can be a power-house on their day and the fact that they are playing their next match at home definitely makes them a worthy opponent.
Saturday was a day of delight for both the Royals of the IPL - Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals. While RCB got off the mark with their win over Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals just managed to crawl across the line against the powerful Mumbai Indians. Rajasthan Royals are second from the bottom with two wins in seven matches amounting to four points. Their poor net run rate means that they need to win almost all of their remaining games to ascertain their qualification to the next round.
Although Royals gobbled up two important points, they made plenty of mistakes - probably more than Mumbai Indians. Their win was largely possible because of Jos Buttler's swashbuckling knock who swatted 89 runs off just 43 deliveries. However, post his dismissal Royals found themselves in familiar territory as they slid to 174 for 6 from 147 for 1 before Shreyas Gopal sealed it for them in the last over.
Up until now in the tournament, Rajasthan Royals have so often found themselves in the positions to dictate terms, but their fragile middle-order has been found wanting every single time. They rested Ben Stokes in the last match and brought in another English all-rounder in Liam Livingstone, but there no change whatsoever in the end result. It would be interesting to see if Royals retain Livingstone in the playing eleven or bring Stokes back in.
All in all, Rajasthan Royals are an extremely well-balanced side on paper, but they haven't been able to replicate that on the field. The likes of Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, and Sanju Samson have struggled to produce runs when required. As of now, they are certainly a little too over-reliant on Jos Buttler. Their bowling, however, looks good with Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal doing exceedingly well in the last few matches. Dhaval Kulkarni bowled an important spell upfront in the last match which should have acted as a confidence booster for him. The last match's win might just be the magic potion the Royals were looking for and they will certainly not be easy to get past of Tuesday.
- Rajasthan Royals have more experienced middle-order as compared to Kings XI Punjab.
- Momentum so often plays a decisive role in the shortest format of the game and Rajasthan Royals are coming off a vital win.
- The likes of Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, and Dhaval Kulkarni have done exceptionally well with the ball in their last few matches.
- Kings XI Punjab are coming off two consecutive defeats while Rajasthan Royals have gained momentum with win in their last match.
- Kings XI Punjab defeated Rajasthan Royals by 14 runs when the two teams faced each other in their first clash of the ongoing season.
- Kings XI Punjab have won three out of the four matches they have played so far at their home ground this IPL season.