IPL 2020: Will RR play spoilsport to Punjab’s audacious comeback?
With a solitary win in seven games, it just seemed like a when, more than an if, of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to be officially knocked out of the league. Five games and five wins later, KXIP still have their fate in their own hands and can still reach 16 points if they win both their remaining fixtures.
Rajasthan Royals (RR), though don’t have their fate in their own hands, would want to win their remaining games and hope that certain other results go their way. Even in that case, they would need to win by big margins to cover for their terrible net run-rate which stands at -0.5. A loss would mean that they stand eliminated.
The last time these two teams faced each other, a certain Rahul made a name for himself in a heroic fashion. After struggling through the initial phase of his innings, so much so that everyone suggested that he should retire hurt and let the next batsman take guard, he started the onslaught by hitting five sixes in a Sheldon Cottrell over. He then took his team over the line.
KXIP have recovered after hitting absolute rock-bottom. They were in a sorry state at one point in time. Whereas RR have blown hot and cold, showing shades of brilliance in one game and an ordinary game in another.
Punjab’s fates have changed ever since their bowlers found some discipline and started to do well as a unit. This has given them 5 consecutive wins, which have co-incidentally also overlapped with the return of the universe boss. Punjab’s batting has done so well that they have had to play Chris Gayle at number 3.
RR’s redemption this year has been Jofra Archer’s purple patch with the ball. He has 17 wickets in 12 games, but has failed to find support from the other bowlers.
While KXIP would be confident coming off of a winning streak of 5 games, RR would be no less after handing the table-toppers Mumbai Indians a convincing defeat on the back of a century by Ben Stokes.
Mayank Agarwal, if fit, would replace Deepak Hooda in the squad and Mandeep Singh would drop to the middle order to free up the opening slot. RR are unlikely to make any changes.
KXIP: KL Rahul (C, wk), Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda/Mayank Agarwal, Chris Jordan, M Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammad Shami
RR: Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith (C), Sanju Samson (wk), Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Kartik Tyagi