In match number four of the ongoing Indian Premier League season 14, former champions Rajasthan Royals will take on KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. This contest promises to be a battle of big-hitters with two line-ups dotted with expansive stroke-makers and in pursuit of a winning start to their IPL campaigns here on Monday. The Royals finished right at the bottom last season, having won just 6 games out of 14. Meanwhile their opponents for today, Punjab King shared an almost similar phase, they registered their first win of the season in their second match but then went on a winless streak for five matches. KL Rahul’s side too many closes contests in IPL 2020.
Going into the contest, Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan Royals will have history on their side, having won 12 of the 21 games played between them despite Punjab Kings looking like a better unit on paper.
Last season they started well with consecutive victories, however, lost the plot after that. Sanju Samson, who has taken over the reins from Steve Smith was their highest scorer with 375 runs in 14 matches. To put that into perspective, he was 16th in last year’s highest run-getters list. To address that, they have heavily invested in their middle-order. Chris Morris, Shivam Dube and Liam Livingstone have all been roped in by the Royals. This time too the Royals would be banking heavily on their openers to lay the platform, especially considering the match will be played at Wankhede.
In the bowling department, however, there looks to be a gap. Last year Jofra Archer was their highest-wicket taker with 20 wickets, their second-highest was Rahul Tewatia with 10. With Jofra Archer missing in action, a lot would depend on the shoulders of Morris and Stokes as they gear up to face a formidable Punjab batting line-up. Mustafizur, who was bought at the latest auction could also prove to be very important for the Jaipur-based franchise.
The main problem that Punjab faced last season was not being able to get over the line on numerous occasions. Since then they have invested heavily in potential match winners. They bought nine players in a major squad rejig at the auction. Dawid Malan was added to their already enviable list of hard-hitting batsmen along with Tamil Nadu’s Sharukh Khan. They boosted their bowling line-up with the acquisition of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith. The latter had a sensational Big Bash campaign.
Mohammad Shami-led bowling line-up will have a relatively tougher task at hand as compared to the batters as they gear up to face the might of the RR batting line-up which consists of Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. Also their memory of the game at the Sharjah Cricket last season could haunt them.
WHEN: 12th April, 7:30 PM IST
WHERE: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
TELECAST: Star Sports Network
LIVE STREAMING: Disney+ Hotstar
PBKS TEAM NEWS
Likely Playing XI: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Mandeep Singh, Moises Henriques/Fabian Allen, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami
RR TEAM NEWS
Likely Playing XI: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Shreyas Gopal, Mustafizur Rahman, Kartik Tyagi, Jaydev Unadkat
RR Wins: 12
PBKS Wins: 9
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Sanju Samson, Nicholas Pooran, Jos Buttler, KL Rahul, Chris Morris