The last time these two sides squared off against each other, we saw absolute carnage as Mayank Agarwal, who scored his maiden ton, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, and KL Rahul, enthralled the folklore with their strokeplay in Sharjah. But at the end of it all, it was a certain Rahul Tewatia, whose barely believable heist propelled RR to the highest run-chase in the history of the cash-rich league.
Post that game, both sides have undergone different trajectories in their campaign. After that heart-wrenching defeat, Kings XI Punjab suffered five defeats in their next six outings, a majority of which came because of their inability to close out the game.
After having suffered six defeats in seven games, KXIP looked all-but out of contention before they proceeded to script a whirlwind comeback by winning five games on the bounce to emerge as real contenders.
While the addition of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran regaining his form has bolstered their batting-unit, the real improvement has come in their bowling stocks with Mohammed Shami nailing his yorkers, Chris Jordan regaining his death-bowling prowess, and the duo of Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi spinning a web in the middle-overs.
Can Rajasthan Royals make it two in two against Kings XI Punjab?
Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, have blown hot and cold since their historic heist against Kings XI Punjab earlier in the season. Post that victory, the Royals have managed just three wins in nine outings, and with them having just 10 points after 12 fixtures, every game from now on is a virtual knockout for them.
One of the issues that Rajasthan Royals have grappled with in this season is the lack of stability in their batting-order and the inability of Sanju Samson and Steve Smith to emulate their feats of the opening two fixtures.
The Royals will, however, be delighted by the fact that Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson re-captured their form in the last game against the Mumbai Indians while Jos Buttler too has shown signs of getting back to his best in a recent fixture against CSK.
Another issue that RR hasn’t been able to address this season is finding the supporting cast for Jofra Archer. With 17 wickets in 12 games, Jofra Archer has once again proved to be the spearhead of the fast-bowling unit, but as we saw in the last game against MI, all his hard work has been undone by the non-performing Indian fast bowlers like Ankit Rajpoot. It will be interesting to see if the Royals make a change to their fast bowling attack. And, if they do go down that path, who will they choose? Will they bring back Jaydev Unadkat or Varun Aaron or unleash U-19 star, Akash Singh?
IPL 2020 Match 50: Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals: Match Prediction
The last time these two sides played, Kings XI Punjab snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to some pretty poor death bowling and brilliant hitting by Rahul Tewatia. But a lot has changed since then. And, with their death bowling have improved considerably and batting looking as potent as ever following the addition of Chris Gayle, backing KXIP to go six in a row on Friday.