Two teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 13th season playoff race – Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals – will face off at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Friday. The goal of both will be victory, because they now have no other option but to win the journey ahead.
Punjab has played 12 matches so far and with six wins, six defeats, it remains in fourth place with 12 points. On the other hand, Rajasthan have seen victory in five of the 12 matches and defeat in seven and are in seventh place with 10 points. Both teams have chances of going into the playoffs.
Punjab has performed brilliantly in the last five matches and has maintained itself in the race by winning five consecutive wins. If she wins the rest of her matches, she can go to the playoffs.
It will be a bit difficult for Rajasthan. Apart from winning both the matches, he will also have to depend to some extent on the defeat of Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Rajasthan defeated defending champions Mumbai Indians in the last match. The form that Ben Stokes showed against Mumbai could be a headache for Punjab. Stokes, who remained calm with the bat for a long time, struck a century in front of Mumbai’s strong bowling attack and led the team to victory. He was also supported by Sanju Samson and scored a half-century while returning to form.
Rajasthan would be expecting similar performances from both these batsmen. At the same time, she would hope that the bat of opener Robin Uthappa should also be played. Captain Steve Smith and Jose Butler would also like to contribute in the final stages of the tournament. Both are also in form.
The Rajasthan bowlers were disappointed against Mumbai. The Mumbai batsmen had scored a mammoth score of 195 runs. In front of this bowling attack led by Jofra Archer, there is now an Informed batting attack.
KL Rahul and Chris Gayle are scoring runs consistently. Mandeep Singh played a brilliant half-century in the last match and won the team. Mandeep came to open the innings with Rahul in the absence of Mayank Agarwal. There is no information from the team on whether Mayank will play in this match or not.
Nicholas Pooran too has regained form and if his bat moves, the Rajasthan bowlers may face problems.
As far as the bowling of Punjab is concerned, almost all its bowlers are doing well. The pace bowling of Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan and youngster Arshadip Singh has given impressive performances. All three have the power to stop Rajasthan on low scores.
In the spin, the pair of Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin have also done excellent work for Punjab in the middle overs. The pair have also broken vital partnerships and blocked runs.
A win would keep both teams in the race, but defeat would break expectations. Even if Punjab wins, they can still win a match by 14 points, where again the figures of other teams will determine their playoff future, but for Rajasthan, the loss will be very harmful and they will be out of the playoff race. Might be possible.
Teams (Probable) -:
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (Captain), Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Arshadip Singh, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Deepak Hooda / Mayank Agarwal.
Rajasthan Royals: Steve Smith (captain), Ankit Rajput, Ben Stokes, Joffra Archer, Jose Butler, Rahul Teotia, Ryan Parag, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Robin Uthappa, Karthik Tyagi, Ben Stokes.