Due to fluctuating performance so far, the teams of Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals are stuck in a dilemma of ifs and buts. When the IPL match takes place at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamshala on Friday, both the teams will try to keep their bleak hopes of reaching the playoffs alive with better performances.
Both these teams have the same 12 points from 13 matches. Rajasthan’s team, however, is ahead of Punjab on the basis of better net runrate. Apart from registering a win in this match, both the teams will have to pray for favorable results in the rest of the team’s matches as well. Both the teams have come face to face 25 times so far. Out of this, Rajasthan has won 14 and Punjab has won 11 matches. Both the teams will clash for the first time in Dharamshala. A match has been played between the two this season, in which Punjab defeated Rajasthan by five runs. The Rajasthan team will set out to avenge this.
Punjab will have to improve their bowling plan, while Rajasthan’s top-order batsmen will have to live up to the expectation. The Punjab team again failed to perform well on crucial occasions. Their fast bowlers were plundered for runs in the power-play and death overs which cost the team dearly. Bowlers like Kagiso Rabada, Sam Curran and Arshdeep Singh conceded runs at around 10 runs per over which put pressure on the team.
Rabada was not in his best form here on Wednesday against Delhi Capitals. Arshdeep was not used in the powerplay and death overs in this match, which is bound to be questioned as this fast bowler has been troubling the batsmen with his yorkers in the death overs and his swing in the beginning. Arshdeep, however, has lacked consistency and will now have to be at his best in this do-or-die match.
Shikhar Dhawan used left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar in the 20th over against Delhi but his ploy didn’t work and in the end his decision made a big difference in the match. Dhawan himself has not been able to score in the last two matches with the bat and now he needs to lead from the front. In the first phase of the tournament, it seemed that the Rajasthan Royals team was very difficult to beat, but after that their rhythm got disturbed and out of the last five matches, they could win only one match.
Rajasthan have talented batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal and experienced spinner Yuzvendra Chahal but despite this, their team could not perform well on crucial occasions. Jos Buttler and skipper Sanju Samson have also played some brilliant innings. From these two, the team will expect big innings in this match as well. Looking at the Rajasthan Royals team, they were considered a strong contender for the title at the beginning of the tournament, but they are in a difficult situation now and that Sandeep Sharma no ball in the SRH game has proved very costly for Rajasthan
Possible playing-11 of both the teams
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (captain), Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma (wicketkeeper), Sam Curran , Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Nathan Ellis, Rishi Dhawan, Arshdeep Singh.
Rajasthan Royals: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (c/wk), Joe Root, Devdutt Padikkal/Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Sandeep Sharma, KM Asif, Yuzvendra Chahal.