This is a tough week for the players at the Indian Premier League 2020. The race for the playoffs is hotting up and out of the eight teams, only one is out of contention.
Rajasthan Royals will be desperate to win against Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Kings XI, placed fourth with 12 points, will be keen on maintaining the winning streak. On 10 points currently, if Royals lose the rubber they will be out of the playoffs race.
Steve Smith’s men must be hoping their strength – batting – fires once again at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Pace spearhead Jofra Archer, who has been firing with the new ball and choking the opposition at death, will need support from the other bowlers.
Jofra Archer celebrates with teammates after picking up a wicket. – BCCI/IPL
Though the leg-spinning duo of Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia and young seamer Kartik Tyagi have done reasonably well, they have not been consistent. The third seamer – be it Jaydev Unadkat or Ankit Rajpoot – has disappointed even more. It’s a mystery why the team management isn’t considering Varun Aaron. He is genuinely quick and is a seasoned campaigner.
After the poor show by the bowlers, it was the batsmen that gave Royals the badly-needed victory against Mumbai Indians last Sunday. The services of Jos Buttler, the team’s most accomplished batsman against the white ball, was not even required, as Ben Stokes, opening the innings, and Sanju Samson, put on 152 for the unbroken third-wicket off just 82 balls.
Kings XI is extremely strong in the batting department, too. Captain K.L. Rahul is leading the table with 595 runs. His opening partner Mayank Agarwal is seventh on the list with 398, though he didn’t play the last two matches, owing to injury. Mandeep Singh stepped into Mayank’s role with ease and made an unbeaten 66 to help the side beat Kolkata Knight Riders.
The bowling has looked increasingly sharper, with India pacer Mohammed Shami looking in fabulous form and the young left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh making rapid strides. Leg-spinners Ravi Bishnoi and M. Ashwin have played their parts too.
Rajasthan Royals: Steve Smith (Captain), Jos Buttler (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Robin Uthappa, David Miller, Jofra Archer, Ankit Rajpoot, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Mayank Markande, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Shashank Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anirudha Joshi, Tom Curran and Anuj Rawat.
Kings XI Punjab: K.L. Rahul (Captain & Wicket-keeper), Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran (Wicket-keeper), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande, M. Ashwin, J. Suchith, K. Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen and Prabhsimran Singh.
Game No. 50: Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab.
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Date: October 30, Friday.
Time: 7:30 p.m.