Kings XI Punjab will look to return to winning ways when they take on the Rajasthan Royals in Match 38 of VIVO IPL 2018.
KXIP have five wins from eight outings. The Ravichandran Ashwin-led team were 5 from 6, but have now lost two games on either side of their one week break; most recently, on Friday night, they lost to the Mumbai Indians in their first match in Indore. Despite getting off to a strong start, KXIP floundered as a result of tweaking their batting order. Where they should have aimed for, and reached, a total of 200, KXIP finished about 20 runs short. The opening pair of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul continue to be the engine room of the team, and it is for the rest of the batting line-up to ensure they build on the platform.
The Rajasthan Royals are at the floor of the table with 3 wins from 8 matches. Since coming out of a six-day break, RR have lost two on the trot – first against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and most recently against the Delhi Daredevils in a rain-affected encounter. RR need to quickly arrest this losing streak; they play five matches in the next 10 days and this is the opportunity for them to build some momentum and make a rapid climb up the ladder.
6May 2018, 2000Hrs (IST)
Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore
Chris Gayle, a last-minute pick by KXIP at the player auction, has scored four 50-plus scores in five innings this season. KL Rahul has turned back the clock to the second half of the 2016 season; it is not just the 292 runs he has scored this season, but the manner he has amassed the runs – playing awe-inspiring strokes. Together as a pair, they form the engine room for KXIP; the five occasions they’ve walked out to open the innings, they’ve stitched together partnerships of 96, 53, 116, 55 & 54.
For the Royals, captain Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson are the men in form; Samson is the team’s top run-getter with an aggregate of 282 runs, while Rahane has 225 runs. Jos Buttler was destructive when asked to open the innings in the shortened match against DD; RR will do well to keep the Englishman at the top and give him to the opportunity to take toll of the new ball and make use of the field restrictions, and set the early pace.
R Ashwin and Mujeeb ur Rahman will have a huge role to play, given the Rajasthan Royals haven’t got too many off spin this season; RR’s overall scoring rate against spin this season is 7.72 – which is among the lowest this season.
Jofra Archer brings in a certain X factor to the Rajasthan Royals bowling attack; the 23-year old can bowl quick and dish out the yorkers. In his 3 matches so far, he has picked up 7 wickets – which equals the most taken by a RR bowler this season.
Team Head to Head
Overall: Matches – 15, Kings XI Punjab won – 6, Rajasthan Royals won – 9
All six IPL matches played at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore have been won by the team chasing. So far this season, KXIP have won 2 of their 3 run-chases, while the Rajasthan Royals have won only 1 of their 4 run-chases.
The average opening partnership against the Rajasthan Royals this season is 10.00; in their eight matches so far, their opponents have posted one opening partnership of 50, one stand of 17, and the remaining six opening partnerships have been of 6 runs or less.
These teams will come up against each other for the second time in three days when they meet at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on May 8.