Sanju Samson and Co. look to build on their winning start when they take on Punjab Kings in the first-ever IPL encounter in Guwahati.

Be it Rahul Tewatia’s heroics on a sweltering evening in Sharjah or Kartik Tyagi’s Houdini act from 2021, a match-up against Punjab Kings always brings back happy memories from the past for the Royals. Simply put, the Royals have dominated this battle, winning 14 of the 23 matches against the Kings and on Wednesday, the team will hope to continue the trend when the two face off IPL’s first-ever game in Guwahati.

The Royals’ spirit is high after a dominating 72-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad and the tone for the season seems set. 

“It’s all about trusting ourselves as well as our strategy and just continuously committing to doing what we know we can do,” Kumar Sangakkara puts it aptly. 

Match Details

IPL 2023: Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings - April 5, 2023

Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati

7:30 PM IST

The Barsapara Cricket Stadium is all set for its IPL debut and given what we have seen here, it promises to be a batting paradise. With boundaries barely touching 70 metres, the batters will be queueing up for time in the middle. The pitch, a hard deck, offers consistent bounce, which helps batters in playing shots freely.

Key Battles

Jos Buttler vs Kagiso Rabada

Punjab Kings have kept the availability of their premier pacer Kagiso Rabada under wraps. But if the South African takes the field against the Men in Pink, his duel with the in-form Jos Buttler will be the showstopper. 

Jos bossed his way in the opener against Hyderabad, racing to a half-century in just 20 balls. The English stalwart will be hoping to carry the momentum forward and can take encouragement from his past record against Rabada. Buttler enjoys a strike rate of over 170 against the South African pacer in this format (both in the IPL and in T20 cricket).

In the Spotlight

Sanju Samson

Whether it’s his composed demeanour on the field that oozes confidence, his laser-sharp mind that has almost always plotted the moves much before anyone, or his contribution with the bat and behind the stumps over the years, Sanju Samson has grown into a dependable figure in this Royals’ setup. 

In the season opener, though the openers set the team on course to a massive total, it was Sanju who helped anchor the innings even when a few wickets fell around him. And against Punjab Kings, the skipper will be hoping to build on his start. 

Samson loves batting against Punjab and has scored 658 runs in 19 innings so far at an impressive strike rate of 143 - his best against any opposition in the IPL.

Sanju Samson’s strike rate vs opposition In IPL (Min: 100 balls faced)




Strike rate

Punjab Kings




Mumbai Indians




Delhi Capitals




Team News

In Jason Holder and KM Asif, the Royals had two debutants in the Playing XI right at the start of their season. While Holder's fielding and bowling impressed instantly, Asif too was economical in his returns (3 overs, 15 runs), helping his team close out a commanding win. There's no official news from the camp regarding any injuries so far, which the management will hope continues till the end of the season. It'll be interesting to see the team combination for this one, given the conditions in Guwahati and the nature of the wicket. 

Milestone alert

  • Sanju Samson is 3 runs away from becoming Rajasthan Royals' all-time leading run-scorer
  • Trent Boult is 6 wickets away from 100 wickets in IPL
  • Riyan Parag is 38 runs away from 1500 runs in T20s.