The whole schedule of IPL is planned in such a way that we’ll witness one match on weekdays and two on weekends. Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals will be going against each other in today’s match. This will be a home game for Rajasthan Royals. In the last 6 encounters between these two at Sawai Man Singh Stadium, RR has won 5 of them. This would be an interesting record that KXIP will aim to break in today’s match.
Steve Smith will be returning to RR’s squad after he was banned for 1 year and due to which he was also absent from last year’s IPL.
These two teams invested heavily in some of the most expensive players of last season. This year’s auction was no different. Jaydev Unadkat was bought by RR for Rs 8.40 crores. While KXIP bought an uncapped Varun Chakaravarthy for Rs 8.40 crores and Sam Curran for Rs 7.20 crores.
KXIP traded Marcus Stoinis for Mandeep Singh from RCB. They bought Moises Henriques, Nicholas Pooran, Varun Chakaravarthy, Sam Curran, Mohammad Shami, Sarfaraz Khan, Hardus Viljoen, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Prabhsimran Singh, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, and Murugan Ashwin.
KXIP retained KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Andrew Tye, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, David Miller, and Ravichandran Ashwin.
RR, on the other hand, bought Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Shashank Singh, Liam Livinstone, Shubham Rajane, Manan Vohra, Ashton Turner, and Riyan Parag.
Players retained by them before the auction are Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S. Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Mahipal Lomror.
RR have Jofra Archer, Jos Butler, and Ben Stokes who can easily play the role of a finisher. Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, and Rahul Tripathi have contributed heavily with the bat in previous few seasons.
The fast bowling attack comprises of Varun Aaron, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Jaydev Unadkat.
KXIP is a batting heavy side consisting of Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, David Miller and all.
In the spin department, they have their captain Ravichandran Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Varun Chakaravarthy, and Murugan Ashwin.
On paper, both the teams look similar but RR has an edge over KXIP in terms of previous records.
KXIP looks like a new team as they have a captain who has experience of just 1 year. Many of the players are new for the franchise. Hence, team formation will also be an important factor that will come into play.
RR, on the other hand, has players who have played for the same franchise in the previous seasons as well.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
STEVE SMITH- David Warner returned to IPL after a year and played one of his best innings in IPL. Steve Smith was also banned for a year and he will be returning to IPL today. What Warner did for SRH yesterday Smith can do for RR today.
CHRIS GAYLE- The Universe Boss Chris Gayle is a legend of T20 as well as of IPL. His recent form against England suggests that he is in the top form. On his day he can rip apart any bowling attack. Today it will be interesting to see him open the innings for KXIP and do what he does best.
Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler(WK), Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat
Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul (WK), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh, Ravi Ashwin(C), Sam Curran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Varun Chakravarthy, Mohammad Shami