After a memorable victory at the Wankhede Stadium, Rajasthan Royals are charged up to play another away game, as we take on the Kings XI Punjab at the PCA stadium in Mohali. Our game against MI was a confidence booster for us and a clear example of the potential the boys possess, when it comes to winning irrespective of whether we play at home or away. It's never easy to dominate a team like Mumbai Indians on their home-ground, but that's the level of composure that we showed.
Rajasthan Royals met Kings XI Punjab in our first match of the season. Our batting suffered an unprecedented collapse as we fell a few runs short of the target. The match also gained eyeballs for Buttler’s Mankading by Ashwin. Both teams have moved on from that episode and the focus is merely on gathering point in a bid to seal a spot for the Playoffs.
Powerplay of Numbers -
We are ahead in the head to head battle against Punjab and have won 10 out of the 18 games played overall in the IPL. For Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, the top-order has been the key contributor with the bat so far in this season. Jos Buttler scored a magnificent half-century against KXIP in our opening game.
The PCA Stadium has traditionally been known to favour the chasing team. KXIP lost their last game here when Royal Challengers Bangalore chased over 170, in spite of Chris Gayle’s unbeaten 99. It was the Jamaican who inflicted some damage in our opening game with the bat before our bowlers pulled things back. The stadium in Mohali has comparatively large boundaries. And fielding under the low lights here can get quite challenging. The Royals have been one of the best fielding sides in the league this year, and should not be too perturbed with these conditions.
Dynamic Duels -
Dhawal Kulkarni vs Chris Gayle
This will be an early battle to watch out for. Chris Gayle will be looking to continue from where he left in the game against RCB when he scored an unbeaten 99. With the movement that Dhawal Kulkarni extracts, an early attacking shot by Gayle could mean an early wicket for us. In the 6 innings that they have played against each other, Gayle has managed to score only 43 runs while Dhawal Kulkarni has dismissed him thrice.
Jofra Archer vs Mayank Agarwal
Jofra Archer has been bowling magnificently for the Royals this season. He claimed 3 wickets in our last game against MI, and will love bowling on the pacer-friendly surface at the PCA. Mayank Agarwal is an exciting batsman, but when he faces Archer, he strikes at just 20. The only thing Archer has missing against Agarwal is a wicket. Can he get the wicket this time around?
Jos Buttler vs Ravichandran Ashwin
Jos Buttler in devastating form is a sight no bowler wants to watch or face. Ashwin can be dangerous early on with his variations. After the last encounter, all eyes will be on these two at the non-striker’s end as well, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. In 6 innings, Jos Buttler has scored 44 runs and is yet to be dismissed by Ashwin.
Our bowlng, fielding and batting clicked in our last match, albeit a late scare during the chase. We want to keep the winning momentum going into our two home games that follow this one. Kings XI Punjab were unbeaten at the PCA this year, until RCB came knocking to pick up their first win of the season. Rajasthan Royals will look to take the points from 4 to 6, and improve the net run-rate as well. This should be an exciting game of cricket, judging by the way the two teams played during our last meeting. Halla Bol!