Jaipur: Desperate to stay alive in the Indian Premier League (IPL), bottom-placed Rajasthan Royals will aim to avenge Sunday’s six-wicket loss to Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), when the two sides face off at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, here on Tuesday.The Ajinkya Rahane-led side succumbed to their third loss in a row, after being hammered by Punjab at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Sunday and now need to win all their remaining five matches to keep themselves alive in the tournament.
Rajasthan have just six points with three wins from nine games while Punjab are placed third after six wins from nine games and 12 points in their kitty.
Another win for Punjab will almost seal them a play-off berth and a defeat will be the end of the road for Rajasthan.
Nothing has clicked for Rajasthan this season with all the departments failing to come together as a unit.
Skipper Rahane has been average with the bat while all-rounder Ben Stokes and Rahul Tripathi have also failed to fire.
Only young Sanju Samson has single-handedly carried Rajashthan’s batting on his shoulders, amassing 310 runs from nine games, averaging 38.75.
Stokes, the most expensive buy at the 2018 IPL auctions, has failed miserably both with the bat and ball.
The English all-rounder has scored just 160 runs from nine innings while picking up just two wickets.
Among the bowlers, young seamer Jofra Archer has done well to claim eight wickets from four matches while this IPL’s costliest buy Jaydev Unadkat have also been amongst the wickets.
Rajasthan’s main concern will be the form of their spinners — Shreyas Gopal and Krishnappa Gowtham — who have so far failed to hunt as a pair.
While Gopal has six wickets from seven games, Gowtham has bagged six wickets from nine matches.
On the other hand, Punjab’s batting this season mostly relies on the opening combination of Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul, who have consistently given great starts to their side.
While the caribbean batsman has accumulated 310 runs from just six games, averaging 149.75, Rahul has 376 runs from nine games.
Karun Nair has also been impressive after 240 runs from eight innings but veteran Yuvraj Singh, Aaron Finch and Mayank Agarwal are yet to make their presence felt in the middle-order.
The trio’s consistent poor form will be a cause of concern for the team management and this is high time for them to come out with their best.
In the bowling department, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, along with medium-pacer Mohit Sharma add depth to the line-up.
Also, pacers Barinder Sran and Andrew Tye, and Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman shoulder the bulk of the responsibility.
While Australian Tye has 12 wickets from nine games with an economy of 7.69, pacer Ankit Rajpoot and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have eight and 12 wickets each.
Overall, Rajasthan will be hoping for a win against Punjab at home as two of the three victories have come here.
Rajasthan Royals: Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler (WK), Rahul Tripathi, D’Arcy Short, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Ajinkya Rahane(Captain), Heinrich Klaasen, Ish Sodhi.
Kings XI Punjab: Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (Captain), Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul (WK), Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar.
First Published: May 8, 2018, 8:22 AM IST