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HomeCricketIPL 40th Match Preview: Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab

IPL 40th Match Preview: Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

RR vs KXIP Preview IPL 2018 Cricket Blog

Like Sydney trains, we were waiting for one to come along for a while. Out of nowhere, two come at almost the same time. Here is RR v KXIP take two, just two days after take one.

With a net run rate worse than a Kim Kardashian post on social media, Rajasthan Royals need a miracle to reach the playoffs. Forget the playoffs, it will be a miracle in itself to see Ben Stokes cross 20, or Jaydev Unadkat to go a few games in a row conceding under nine an over. That they were purchased for a combined INS 24 crores shows poor management and planning by RR, and they are paying the price. This is their absolute last chance to make a run – five games to go, five wins are the minimum requirement.

Kings XI Punjab have created breathing space between them and the playoff challengers, important because of MI’s improved form. KL Rahul’s class was on show once again two nights ago, and was the stand out for KXIP against a fighting RR. Another good performance with the ball, as well as more support for Rahul will be the order of the day for KXIP – can they win in their push for a top two finish?

Key to a Rajasthan Royals win

RR’s team balance has come under the spotlight throughout IPL 2018, with their batting has been the main cause for concern. RR have rarely put in a performance that fans can consider “complete”, and that is shown in their NRR of -0.726.

It is remarkable to think this is the case when you look at their squad on paper. However, they just haven’t gelled, and the game against KXIP two nights ago was again proof of this.

The middle order continues to falter, slumping from 84/2 in the 11th over to 152/9, after throwing away victory against SRH a week earlier. Jos Buttler continued his promising form from the DD game, and RR need him to produce the same, this time with support from the likes of D’Arcy Short and Ben Stokes, who have no fifties between them in IPL 2018 (15 innings).

In addition, RR need early wickets with the ball – especially Gayle and Rahul, to test the KXIP middle order as early as possible.

Ben Stokes IPL 2018 Cricket Blog
It was always a risk paying big money for Ben Stokes.

Key to a Kings XI Punjab win

KL Rahul was simply superb two nights ago, and he and Gayle hold the key for KXIP with the bat. They have the potential to get the side off to such a fast start, and the rest can just keep building on the work of those two.
Also, the bowling effort would have pleased the KXIP camp, none more so than Ravichandran Ashwin. One wonders just how far this team can go in the tournament if they get their bowling right – to see an economy rate of 7.50 as the most expensive among four bowlers who bowled their full four overs two nights ago would have been really encouraging.
More of the same is needed tonight.
KL Rahul IPL 2018 Cricket Blog
KL Rahul oozes class.

Possible teams:

RR have no choice but to start their virtual playoffs series now. This means that changes could be made, including D’Arcy Short and Anureet Singh. Ben Stokes simply must stand up now.
Rajasthan Royals XI: 1. Jos Buttler (wk), 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Heinrich Klaasen, 4. Sanju Samson, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Rahul Tripathi, 7. K Gowtham, 8. Jofra Archer, 9. Shreyas Gopal, 10. Dhawal Kulkarni, 11. Jaydev Unadkat

Aussie Marcus Stoinis was very assured two nights ago, helping KL Rahul see KXIP home. He certainly has the potential to plug holes in the KXIP middle order, and make them even more dangerous. Expect KXIP to stick with the same XI that won on Sunday.
Kings XI Punjab XI: 1. Chris Gayle, 2. KL Rahul, 3. Mayank Agarwal, 4. Karun Nair, 5. Marcus Stoinis, 6. Manoj Tiwary, 7. Axar Patel, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin (c), 9. AJ Tye, 10. Mujeeb ur Rahman, 11. Ankit Rajpoot

Stats and Facts:

  • Head-to-Head: Matches: 16, RR 9, KXIP 6. At the Sawai Masingh Stadium, KXIP have not won in four attempts.
  • KXIP are the best team in the powerplay in IPL 2018 – they score at 9.22 an over.
  • Legspin to KL Rahul? In 15 matches since IPL 2015, a legspinner has dismissed him eight times.
  • Chris Gayle needs 64 runs to reach 4,000 IPL runs. He will become the 7th ever to the mark.
  • A KXIP win will put them equal second with CSK, two points behind SRH after 10 games.

Prediction:

KXIP have never won at Sawai Masingh Stadium, but this is their best chance against a struggling RR. 
RR desperately need their big hitters to fire, as well as target KXIP’s still unsure middle order. However, I can’t trust them to do this. I predict KXIP will win and move to equal second on the IPL 2018 table.
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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