MUMBAI: Rajasthan Royals will look to sort out its batting woes and bring its campaign back on track while Punjab Kings will be eager to keep the winning momentum going in the IPL here on Saturday.
Rajasthan was at one point giving Gujarat Titans a strong fight for the top position, but the inaugural champion has recently faced minor hiccups. RR enters the upcoming fixture with back-to-back losses – against Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians.
Meanwhile, Punjab will be high on confidence after inflicting an eight-wicket defeat on Gujarat. The Mayank Agarwal-led Kings (seventh in the standings with 10 points from 10 matches) will be keen to get out of the mid-table logjam and inch closer to sealing a play-off spot.
Royals (12 points from 10 matches) is third on the table, and it is mostly because of opener Jos Buttler. The Englishman is currently the league’s leading scorer with as many as 588 runs. Buttler waged a lone battle in the loss to Mumbai while he failed to capitalise on his start in the defeat to Kolkata.
The two other men at the top – Devdutt Padikkal and skipper Sanju Samson – have been good in patches and need to shoulder more responsibility, especially with the team shuffling players for the No.4 spot. If they get going alongside the big-hitting Shimron Hetmyer, the trio can tear apart any bowling line-up.
Royals leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal leads the bowling chart with 19 wickets while Trent Boult, Kuldeep Sen and Prasidh Krishna have also done well. It will therefore be a tall task for the Punjab batters to tackle Rajasthan’s bowling.
Shikhar Dhawan, Liam Livingstone and Bhanuka Rajapaksa can tonk the ball, but they need to fire in unison. The Kings bowling attack was right on the money in the win against Gujarat, restricting it to below 150. After a relatively underwhelming start, pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada has been on a roll, snapping up four wickets apiece in the previous two games. His fast-bowling partner Arshdeep Singh has been brilliant and economical.