“Irrespective of what happens in other games, we have one more game to play and win. And that's all I want you to think about. Let's get together for one more game.”

These words from our head coach Kumar Sangakkara will be the only thought that Rajasthan Royals go in with when we take on Punjab Kings in our final IPL group stage match on Friday. 

The Royals come into this game on the back of a few unpleasant results, which has had a say on where we find ourselves on the IPL 2023 points table. With just one win from our last five matches, the Men In Pink are placed sixth with 12 points. A win against Punjab can throw us into the mix for a place in the playoffs, provided other results also go our way. But for the Royals, it’s all about controlling the controllables. 

As for the opposition, PBKS too are in a spot of bother. With just one win in their previous six matches at a ‘home venue’, the Shikhar Dhawan-led side has struggled in the second half of the season and is all but out of the race to make the IPL 2023 playoffs. But they’ll be keen to sign off on a high at the picturesque HPCA stadium in Dharamshala.

Match Details

IPL 2023: Punjab Kings vs Rajasthan Royals - May 19

HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala

7:30 PM IST

Nestled amidst the mountains in Uttarakhand, one can’t ask for a better place to enjoy a game of cricket. IPL returned to Dharamshala after a decade earlier this week and the locals were entertained to the brim with a high-scoring affair that went down to the final overs. Historically, the pitch and the conditions at the HPCA Stadium are conducive for fast bowling. And over the years, the pacers have ruled the roost claiming 89 wickets in 10 matches as compared to 26 by the spinners. Although the tale is no different in IPL 2023 with the fast bowlers, the previous game showed signs that the batters can also reap the rewards if they are willing to bide their time in the middle.

Battle to watch out

Jos Buttler vs Rahul Chahar

Despite having been on a rollercoaster of a ride this season, Jos Buttler has amassed 392 runs with 4 half-centuries so far. The Englishman couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity in his final appearance in the league stage, than lining up against PBKS’ Rahul Chahar. Jos has scored 68 runs in the four innings he has faced Chahar and has enjoyed a strike rate of 179. Though the spinner has dismissed him twice, the Royals’ opener has been his own, scoring at a brisk pace. 

Batters with highest SR against Rahul Chahar (min 30 balls)






Strike Rate

Marcus Stoinis






Jos Buttler






Shubam Gill






David Warner






Sanju Samson






In Dharamshala, Jos will be hoping to get into the act at the earliest and then ease into the spinners to hand the Royals a solid start.

In the Spotlight

R Ashwin

A seasoned IPL campaigner and a reliable figure in the Royals camp, R Ashwin has been a heavy contributor to our success since last season. Be it his cricketing brain that gets into action much before the team walks out or the prankster in him that helps keep the team together and upbeat, Ashwin defines the Royals’ way of life. But on Friday, the Indian international will have his job cut out when he gets around to bowl to Dhawan. 

Dhawan has enjoyed a fine IPL and is the second-highest run-getter for his side in IPL 2023. Along with Prabhsimran Singh, the southpaw has been crucial in ensuring that PBKS gets off to a flying start and has often stayed on long to close off the innings as well. But in Ashwin, Dhawan faces a unique problem. In the 13 innings that the two have faced off, Ashwin has dismissed Dhawan thrice while also ensuring that the scoring rate against him has stayed below 100. With enough at stake, Ashwin could prove to be the trump card for the Royals.

Team news

Our last game saw the team management ring in a few changes to suit the wicket. But with the track in Dharamshala suiting the quicks, one could hope coach Sanga has a few surprises up his sleeves when he sits down to name his playing XI. What could also be interesting is the use of Impact Player. An extra player as per the prevailing match situation could be the difference between two sides who have often engaged in close encounters. 

Upcoming milestones

  • Yuzvendra Chahal is two wickets away from 50 wickets for the Royals in IPL
  • Jos Buttler is 65 runs away from 500 runs against PBKS in IPL
  • Devdutt Padikkal is 30 runs away from 1500 runs in IPL