When these two teams met last time in the Indian T20 League, the whole world stood still for the last half an hour of that enticing match. KXIP vs RR was one of the games of the tournament. Rajasthan comes into this match knowing that only a win can keep their hopes of reaching the playoffs alive. They will be riding high on confidence after their massive win against defending champions, Mumbai.
Punjab on the other hand are in a similar position as Rajasthan. They’ll be content with nothing less than a win in this match. They’re looking for their sixth consecutive win and it’ll be tough to stop them. Chris Gayle’s inclusion in the team has lifted the morale of the players and results have changed completely for them. Mohammed Shami has been the leader of the pack and has been exceptional with his death bowling as well.
The previous encounter between the two was a Sharjah special where Rahul Tewatia became the talk of the world. He hit Sheldon Cottrell for thirty in the second last over of the game and single-handedly changed the equation of the game. KXIP vs RR rivalry has been quite balanced over the years. Team Rajasthan holds the edge with eleven wins as compared to eight matches won by Punjab.
Steven Smith vs Chris Gayle
Steven Smith’s form has been blowing hot and cold this season. He has scored 276 runs at SR of 129.57 for Rajasthan which has been below the high standards he sets for himself. This season, his average is worse compared to the rest of the seasons and he has to improve for his team to have a chance of reaching the playoffs.
Gayle scored 51 off 29 balls at a strike rate of 175.86 in the last match against Kolkata. Since Gayle’s introduction, he has scored 177 runs at an average of 35.40 despite playing at an unfavourable number three position. Since Gayle’s introduction, only Rahul (208) has scored more runs for Punjab. He just needs just 27 runs to reach 13500 runs in T20s and he’ll be the first one in history to do so.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
After so much talk about Ben Stokes’ batting position, he put all these talks to rest with a scintillating century in the previous match against Mumbai. He looked in sensational form from ball one and put together a remarkable partnership with Sanju Samson to take his team home.
The future of West Indies cricket is bright and Nicholas Pooran is at the heart of it. Nicholas Pooran has smashed the most sixes this season and has been a revelation in that Punjab middle order.
KXIP: KL Rahul (WK) (C), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Mandeep Singh, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh
RR: Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Steven Smith (C), Sanju Samson (WK), Jos Butler, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Kartik Tyagi, Jaidev Unadkat
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