Kings XI Punjab will be eyeing a sixth consecutive win of the 2020 Dream11 Indian Premier League, when they take on the Rajasthan Royals at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. With the league stages of the IPL coming to a close, this game will have grave ramifications for where both franchises will finish the season, with a loss for Rajasthan Royals ruling them out of the competition, and a loss for KXIP severely denting their chances to finish top four.
Kings XI Punjab
KXIP have a slightly inferior head-to-head record against Rajasthan Royals, but they are the team carrying the winning momentum heading into this contest. Punjab have won five games on the trot, while Rajasthan have just two wins in their last five matches. Secondly, RR have not done the double over Kings XI since 2013, and Anil Kumble’s side would want to make sure that stat will not be repeated.
Batting de Baadshah
Captain Punjab KL Rahul continues to hold onto that Orange Cap, with more than a 100 run lead over second placed Shikhar Dhawan. The 28-year-old has five fifties and a century so far in the competition, but seems to have tapered off slightly with three scores below 30 in his last three games. Heading into Friday, KXIP fans would hope that Rahul manages to find his mojo again and get a big knock.
Sanju Samson is the leading run scorer for Rajasthan Royals at the moment, with 326 runs after 12 games. The wicketkeeper-batsman got a match-winning fifty in his previous game but that was his first 50+ scores since the opening week of the competition. Samson has blown hot and cold this season, but nevertheless KXIP bowlers would be treading carefully while bowling to him on Friday.
Bowling de Kings
Mohammed Shami is gunning for the Purple Cap this season with 20 wickets already to his name, just three behind leader Kagiso Rabada. The pacer has blossomed with the responsibility of being the senior bowler for the franchise, always coming good in difficult situations. Shami picked up three wickets in the previous game, and KXIP fans would hope for that good form to continue.
Jofra Archer has been Rajasthan’s leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps to his name. Like Shami, the English pacer too has enjoyed the role of being a senior bowler, picking up crucial wickets whenever he has been called upon. The pitches in the UAE seem to be suiting his pace and bounce, and KXIP batsmen will be watchful for Archer come Friday.
Mudde di Baat
The game holds a lot of importance for both franchises in their quest for a playoffs spot. For Rajasthan Royals, this is a must-win game as a loss would mean they finish with a maximum of 12 points, which wouldn’t be good enough for them to go through. Kings XI Punjab wouldn’t necessarily be out of the competition if they lost, but they would hand the initiative back to Kolkata Knight Riders to finish fourth on the points table.
- Chris Gayle has not lost a game in IPL 2020 so far.
- Chris Gayle has a strike rate of 200 against leg spin since IPL 2018, and Rajasthan Royals have two leg spinners in their side.
- Steve Smith has been dismissed 10 times this season by a fast bowler.
KL Rahul (c and wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.
Mayank Agarwal is expected to be fit again and will most likely get back t opening the batting for KXIP, with Deepak Hooda unfortunately having to miss out. Apart from that, it is unlikely that KXIP would disturb a winning combination.
NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.