A struggling Kings XI Punjab will have to pull out all stops against in-form and unbeaten, Rajasthan Royals, when the two teams clash in an Indian Premier League match in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
Rajasthan Royals have successfully dealt with all the challenges thrown at them in the five games they have played so far. Four of those wins have come while chasing, with the one on Sunday against an consistent outfit like Chennai Super Kings, being the most convincing.
They made a mockery of the 157-run target as openers Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson shared a blazing 144-run stand off 97 balls.
Kings XI Punjab will have to find a way to stop the solid Rahane, the tournament's leading scorer with 231 runs at an average of 57.75.
That there has not been a standout effort with the ball goes to show the Royals are clicking well again as a unit.
Leg-spinner Pravin Tambe has been their most successful bowler with five wickets from as many games at 23 and a decent economy rate of 6.76.
While Kings XI Punjab have a put up a reasonable bowling effort so far, it is their famed batting that has let them down. The runners-up of IPL 7 have had an ordinary start this season, with only a win to show from four games.
What is making it tough for them is that the opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay has failed to build on starts.
The move to drop deadly hitter David Miller and bring in all-rounder Thisara Perera in the last match against KKR also did not pay off.
The biggest cause of concern is Glenn Maxwell’s form. He has only 61 runs at 15.25 and the team expects more from the Australian, who was in good touch in the World Cup and played a pivotal role for Punjab in the UAE leg of IPL last year.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (Capt), Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ankit Nagendra Sharma, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dishant Yagnik, James Faulkner, Kane Richardson, Karun Nair, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Tewatia, Rajat Bhatia, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith, Stuart Binny, Tim Southee, Vikramjeet Malik, Chris Morris, Juan Theron, Barinder Singh Saran, Dinesh Salunkhe, Sagar Trivedi, Pardeep Sahu.
Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (Capt), Anureet Singh, Parvinder Awana, Rishi Dhawan, Yogesh Golwalkar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Beuran Hendricks, Mitchell Johnson, Karanveer Singh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Nikhil Naik, Axar Patel, Thisara Perera, Wriddhiman Saha, Sandeep Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Shivam Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra.