Kings XI Punjab secured a resounding 97-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to have their first points in IPL 2020. Their captain KL Rahul spearheaded Kings XI Punjab’s batting performance, slamming the first century of this edition and sending several records tumbling. Following that, the bowlers never allowed the RCB batsmen to settle down.
They would be up against Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah, a venue that witnessed a high-scoring game in its first fixture. Rajasthan Royals amassed the highest total of this season so far against Chennai Super Kings and prevailed by 16 runs while defending 216 in Sharjah. The return of Jos Buttler would also bolster the inaugural IPL champions, having missed the first game due to fulfilling quarantine rules. Hence, one can expect this to be a cracking game.
We take a look at Kings XI Punjab’s predicted XI ahead of their IPL 2020 game against Rajasthan Royals:
KL Rahul (c&wk):
KL Rahul was in red-hot form against RCB after failing against Delhi Capitals. The right-handed batsman took some time to settle in and was unstoppable, significantly after Virat Kohli dropped him twice in the space of a few overs.
During his 132 off 69 deliveries, the keeper-batsman sent a plethora of records tumbling. KL Rahul will have to face the rampant Jofra Archer on Sunday, which will prove as one of the best match-ups this edition.
Mayank Agarwal began IPL 2020 with a blistering 89 against Delhi Capitals, which almost carried Kings XI Punjab to an unlikely victory. Mayank Agarwal made a handy 26 off 20 deliveries against RCB that helped in formulating a 50-run opening stand. Agarwal would be looking forwards to continuing his good form.
Nicholas Pooran has looked quite rusty in the two matches and innings he played so far, unable to connect the ball as sweetly as known for. Pooran scored a duck against Delhi Capitals followed by 17 off 18 against RCB. With Chris Gayle waiting in the wings, the southpaw might have to make a statement against Rajasthan Royals.
Kings XI Punjab’s million-dollar man is yet another batsman who has yet to showcase his ability. Glenn Maxwell played brilliantly in the 2014 leg of IPL in the UAE; however, has failed miserably in the two games. He has managed two single-digit scores so far. Maxwell, who came in with a burgeoning reputation, has to get runs under his belt to justify his price tag.
In the game against RCB, Karun Nair merely watched from the other end as KL Rahul went hammer and tongs to collect boundaries at will. In an unbeaten stand of 78 off 28 balls, Karun Nair only had 15 runs to his credit. As an experienced and level-headed player, he should retain his spot.
James Neesham played his first game for Kings XI Punjab on Thursday and came in the side for Chris Jordan. While he did not get to bat, Neesham bowled two overs and gave away 13 runs without a wicket. Kings XI Punjab could promote the Kiwi all-rounder in the batting order to showcase his power-hitting skills.
Sarfaraz Khan is yet another batsman who entered the tournament on the back of some massive expectations, owing to his stellar domestic season. He made a run-a-ball 12 against Delhi Capitals and did not bat against RCB. Mandeep Singh is waiting in the wings too; however, Sarfaraz Khan is likely to be persisted with by Punjab.
Mohammed Shami has proved fantastic with the new ball, taking four wickets in two matches. Mohammed Shami also held the purple cap briefly before Sam Curran took the same. The seamer will have a crucial role to play with Jos Buttler expected to open the innings for Rajasthan Royals.
Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammed Shami are arguably the best new-ball bowling pair so far, having discomforted the batsmen with pace, bounce, swing, and seam. Like Shami, Cottrell also has four wickets in two matches and bowled economically. The left-arm seamer’s uncomfortable bounce would be critical in bouncing out Jos Buttler early.
Ravi Bishnoi might prove as a breakout star this season, having done exceptionally well for Kings XI Punjab. Not only he has bowled economically but also remained amongst the wickets. The leggie finished with figures of 4-0-32-3 against RCB that hugely dented their chase. KL Rahul might probably bring Ravi Bishnoi to bowl to Steve Smith as the young leggie has targetted taking the Royals’ skipper’s wicket.
Murugan Ashwin came to the side against RCB in place of bowling all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham. Along with Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin created a web around the RCB batsmen as most were unable to read their deliveries. Ashwin took the wickets of AB De Villiers, Navdeep Saini, and Yuzvendra Chahal. On a dewy Sharjah wicket, the leggie might find it challenging to bowl.