For the ninth match of the Indian Premier League (IPL), we move back to Sharjah for Rajasthan Royals to play their second match of the tournament against the Kings XI Punjab (RR vs KXIP). Sharjah has traditionally been a batsman’s paradise and the graveyard for any bowler. With a flat pitch and boundaries so small that it barely qualifies as a cricket ground, expect big runs in this particular encounter as well.
These two teams have been quite evenly matched in the past few years. They have played 19 games against each other with Rajasthan having the edge over the Kings by winning 10 times as compared to 8 by Punjab and one tied match. The Kings will take the positive from the last five matches as they have won on three occasions in the recent results.
Jofra Archer vs KL Rahul
This is a mouthwatering battle ahead of the RR vs KXIP. The opening batsman against the new ball bowler is always an enticing encounter but this one promises to be a blockbuster one as these two are the best at their roles going around in the cricketing world.
KL Rahul scored a scintillating knock in the previous game where he scored 132*- the highest score ever by an Indian batsman in the IPL. He’ll be licking his lips with the prospect of playing at a ground like Sharjah. Rahul since the IPL 2018 has scored 1405 runs which is the most, highlighting his consistency. In both IPL 2018 and 2019, Rahul had an average of more than 50, the only player since IPL 2018 to average more than 50.
His unerring consistency meant he is the fastest Indian to reach 2000 runs. His all-round game can be highlighted by the fact that since IPL 2018, Rahul has a strike rate of close to 150 both against pace and spin. On current form, he is considered as the best Indian T20 batsman. At 2.75 he can be the best contender to score a half-century in the game.
Jofra Archer will take the new ball for Rajasthan Royals in this match and his matchup against KL Rahul is super important for them to get a positive result in RR vs KXIP.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Jos Butler has served his mandatory quarantine period of six days and is now available to start this match against the Kings XI Punjab. What a match for him to comeback, small boundaries, a placid wicket he’ll look to cash in, in his very first match and look to get his team off a flier.
In Rajasthan’s first match and their previous match at Sharjah, Sanju Samson was the standout player in that fixture. He made batting look extremely easy and absolutely battered the Super Kings bowlers. Expect him to continue his good form in this match as well.
Despite Mayank and Rahul shining, the biggest positive for KXIP has been the fine form of their bowling attack. KXIP have a bowling average of 16.43, the best by a team in IPL 2020. Their economy of 6.58 is also best by a team in IPL 2020. IPL debutant Sheldon Cottrell has also started brightly and he has already taken 4 wickets so far. Cottrell has an average of 10.25, among bowlers who have bowled more than 3 overs only teammate Shami has a better average.
RR: Yashaswi Jaiswal, Jos Butler (WK), Steven Smith (C), Sanju Samson, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Rahul Tewatia, Shreyas Gopal, Jaidev Unadkat, Ankit Rajpoot
KXIP: KL Rahul (WK) (C), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, James Neesham, Ravi Bishnoi, Sheldon Cottrell, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin
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