IPL 2020 Match 9 Preview: RR vs KXIP - Buttler's return to bolster Rajasthan as Rahul looks to extend juggernaut
Rajasthan Royals impressed by clinching the first match of IPL 2020, beating last year's finalists Chennai Super Kings by 16 runs.
Steve Smith and Sanju Samson starred for Rajasthan at the top of the order against CSK. With Jos Buttler having completed his quarantine, he is likely to be back in the side in place of David Miller.
Buttler set to be back
In the absence of Buttler, Steve Smith opened the batting for Rajasthan alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal. Butler will now slot back at the top of the order with Smith likely to bat at one drop. Jaydev Unadkat was expensive for Rajasthan in their first match and the team has the option of going to either Varun Aaron or Ankit Rajpoot.
Jofra Archer key for RR
As expected, Jofra Archer was exceptional for Rajasthan in the last match and finished with figures of 4-0-26-1. Rahul Tewatia also bowled remarkably well, picking up three wickets. The two will get the company of Shreyas Gopal and Tom Curran to round off Rajasthan's bowling attack.
Punjab look balanced
Kings XI Punjab are looking the best that they have in the last few years. Although the team suffered a defeat in the super over in their opening fixture of the competition against Delhi Capitals, the team was head and shoulders above their opponents Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last match and registered a 97-run victory.
Punjab made a couple of changes to their playing XI in their second match. They brought in New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham in place of Chris Jordan and replaced off spinner Krishnappa Gowtham with Murugan Ashwin. The move might have seemed like a knee jerk reaction after their defeat to Delhi, but both of them turned out to be good calls as they lent better balance to the side.
Rahul in red-hot form
Skipper KL Rahul struck 132 off just 69 deliveries in the last match, laced with 14 fours and 7 sixes. Rahul batted at a strike rate of over 190 and broke the record for not only the highest score by a captain in the IPL but also the highest by any Indian batsman. Rahul's sumptuous strokes meant that KXIP crossed the 200-run mark.
Cottrell and Shami too hot to handle
Their bowlers, particularly Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammed Shami, were then equally good to start off the innings. Once the team gained an advantage, leg spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin did the rest of the job, picking up three wickets apiece and tied down the opposition batting line-up.
Despite the absence of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Punjab look like a very balanced side and are expected to do well in this competition.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) - Lokesh Rahul(c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, James Neesham, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi
Rajasthan Royals (RR) - Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler(wk), Sanju Samson, Steve Smith(c), Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Tom Curran, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat
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