With 14 points and two league matches to go, the Royals will be aiming to get one step closer to the playoffs as they take on Lucknow Super Giants on Sunday.
“We’ve got to keep trusting our abilities, we’ve got to keep trusting our plans. And that’s the only way we get through tough times.” - Kumar Sangakkara
A new day. A new opportunity. Another crucial match, another big two points to play for. With their Head Coach\"s inspiring words as the mantra, the Royals will look to move past a tough loss in their previous game to focus on their next assignment, taking on LSG for the second time in the season.
The last time these two teams faced off, the crowd at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium witnessed a thrilling contest that went right down the wire. Shimron Hetmyer’s unbeaten fifty and a quick cameo from Ravichandran Ashwin helped us post a competitive total of 165. It was followed by Yuzvendra Chahal’s match-winning four-wicket haul that broke the back of LSG’s run-chase. Then came a calm and composed debutant in Kuldeep Sen, defending 15 runs in the final over to inspire a 3-run victory for the Royals.
Lucknow Super Giants vs Rajasthan Royals - 15 May 2022
Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
The Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai is known for its batting-friendly conditions, with the average first-innings score this season being 179. The Royals have fond memories of their last outing at this ground, with their only game here resulting in a stunning victory. Jos Buttler (103) and Yuzi Chahal (5/40) joined forces to take down Kolkata Knight Riders in a cracking contest that saw over 400 combined runs being scored. Lucknow too, have maintained their winning run at this venue, having won both their games of the season so far.
Player battles to watch
Jos Buttler vs Dushmantha Chameera & Krunal Pandya
In four T20 innings against Chameera, Jos Buttler has scored 65 runs at a strike rate of 181 and has never been dismissed by the pacer. He has a similar record against the spin of Krunal Pandya, having scored 53 runs in as many innings at a strike rate of 166. The opener fell for a rare single-digit score in the last match against DC, but has continued to find those frequent boundaries. With his distinct ability to attack both pacers and spinners in equal measure, Jos will be looking to go big this time around.
Yuzvendra Chahal & Ravichandran Ashwin vs Quinton de Kock
Now this one’s a mouthwatering match-up. Quinton de Kock has faced the wily Yuzi Chahal eight times in T20s so far, and has lost his wicket to him on six of those occasions. The LSG opener has an average of just 7.3 against Chahal, having scored 44 runs at a strike rate of 113. It was Yuzi who got the prized scalp of de Kock in their first encounter this season, and from there on, the momentum swung in the Royals’ favour, eventually resulting in a win. Quinton has also had his fair share of troubles against the off-spin of Ravi Ashwin, having fallen to him four out of 10 times in T20s. Watch out for this epic battle or two!
In the spotlight
Devdutt Padikkal - Accumulator & Anchorman
Devdutt Padikkal’s contrasting innings in the last two matches has given us glimpses of his adaptability and varying range as a batter. Irrespective of his batting position this season, he has contributed majorly in the middle overs (7-15), scoring the bulk of his runs at an average of 42.5 and an impressive strike rate of 145. He has also scored a boundary once in every five deliveries, and has continued to rotate the strike, playing the perfect supporting role at the other end. The stylish southpaw has been at his best against the spinners in this phase, with his strike rate against them shooting up to 166. Devdutt is yet to be dismissed by LSG’s spin duo of Krunal Pandya and Ravi Bishnoi.
Rassie van der Dussen replaced Shimron Hetmyer in the Playing XI of our previous game after the West Indian traveled home for the birth of his first child. Shimron is back in Mumbai so it remains to be seen whether he comes straight back into the XI, or plays against CSK. Apart from Rassie, there’s the reliable Karun Nair to strengthen the middle order, while all-rounders Jimmy Neesham and Daryl Mitchell are available to fill the overseas spot. The Royals have also announced the signing of South African all-rounder Corbin Bosch as Nathan Coulter-Nile’s replacement for the season. Is there a surprise brewing in the Royals camp? Or will the think tank take the tried-and-tested route? In the end, as Sanju Samson always says, it’ll be down to the combination that’s best suited for the opponent and the conditions at Brabourne. Let’s wait and watch!
The Royals are one win away from completing 100 wins in T20s
Sanju Samson needs two more runs for 2000 T20 runs for the Royals as a wicketkeeper