Rajasthan Royals in need of miracles as they return to fortress: Match Preview
Facing the same opposition twice in three days is never fun, especially if you are the Rajasthan Royals (RR). Having lost to a superior batting and bowling performance against the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at Indore, they will need to put in a special effort for the repeat encounter at Jaipur. A loss in this game would knock RR out of the playoffs contention while KXIP will need one additional win to seal their berth.
May 08, 2018
20:00 hours IST
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
The last match was a perfect example of the kind of campaign the Royals have had. They promoted Jos Buttler at the top of the order to get quick runs and so he did. However, D’Arcy Short and Ajinkya Rahane struggled to find fluency in their batting and it was left to Sanju Samson to get some runs with Buttler. Ben Stokes endured another failure with the bat, which was followed by a collapse from which they never recovered.
While Jaydev Unadkat put up his first decent bowling performance of the season, a rare off day for Jofra Archer meant that the KXIP chased down the 153 run target with relative ease. Left with no choice but to win all their matches, RR definitely need more than just a few miracles to happen. The major worry for them continues to be the fact that they still don’t know which batsman to play at which spot. With only five games left in the tank, it looks as good as over for them.
KXIP barely put a foot wrong as their spinners along with Andrew Tye did well to strangle the Royals batsmen to a below par total. Come Tuesday, they will be looking to do a repeat of the same. Mujeeb ur Rahman has been fantastic throughout the tournament and has outbowled Ravichandran Ashwin comprehensively. Axar Patel’s return to the ranks has also been a big boost for them as he has teamed up well with Ashwin and Mujeeb. Mayank Agarwal has followed up his fantastic domestic season with another disappointing IPL season and he will be desperate to get a big score to prove that he can play alongside big names.
The Royals will hope that their fortress can bring in some luck in their favor. Based on form alone, this match could well be the end of the road for them as far as IPL 2018 is concerned.
Expect unchanged elevens from both teams.
Kings XI Punjab – KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Manoj Tiwary, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ankit Rajpoot
Rajasthan Royals – Ajinkya Rahane(c), D’Arcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Anureet Singh, Jaydev Unadkat
* Mayank Agarwal’s batting averages in the last three IPL seasons, including this one, are 9.00 (2016), 8.66 (2017) and 14.75 (2018). His overall batting average is 17.25
* Ben Stokes was expected to be a heavily relied upon players for the Royals. However, he has a batting average of 17.77 this season and a bowling average of 109.00 and an economy rate of 9.47 runs per over
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