It’s a strange match-up this, two teams who just look to be going through the motions at the moment find themselves facing off against each other in a must-win encounter. Losing back-to-back games, Punjab has opened the door for the seventh-placed Rajasthan who registered just their second win of the tournament in their previous outing against Mumbai. There’s still plenty of time for IPL plot twists in 2019!
Kings XI Punjab
It’s funny how one small decision can change a team’s fortunes in a match, however that wasn’t the case for Kings XI who was gifted a massive reprieve early in the innings. Struck in front during the first over, Chris Gayle should have been sitting back in the dugout with zero runs to his name, instead RCB didn’t review and paid the ultimate price as the ‘universe boss’ went on to score an unbeaten 99. It wasn’t the most dominant performance we’ve seen from the big man, and there are a number of reasons as to why that was. The next best individual effort behind Gayle’s 99 was KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh with 18 runs apiece. The rest of the order failed to bat around Gayle, and as a consequence lost the game. KL Rahul’s magnificent run came to an end, a minor blemish in what has been a dominant performance with the bat in IPL 12. So much depends on how Rahul and Gayle perform on the day, the middle order might need to start pulling their weight.
David Miller’s drop in form has put further pressure on Punjab, so much so that he was dropped from the XI in the last game. Sam Curran isn’t a player who produces big numbers with the bat in this format, he was picked more for his bowling in the IPL. It’s fair to say that the young Englishman is also under pressure having picked up just the one wicket in his past four matches while conceding plenty of runs in the process. Andrew Tye is also on notice after he went for 0/40 off his four overs, it seems as if skipper Ravi Ashwin and the experienced Mohammed Shami are carrying a lot of the workload in Kings XI’s bowling attack this season. They may have no other choice than to bring back Afghani spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman and hope he performs.
It’s been testing times for the Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 IPL, but they were finally rewarded with a win against the Mumbai Indians in what was a gripping-contest. Chasing down 188 for victory, Jos Buttler led the charge after Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane got them off to a lightning-quick start. It quickly turned into a one-man show as the English wicketkeeper-batsman carved numerous balls into the crowd, he took 28 runs off one-Alzarri Joseph over! After Buttler departed for a mouth-watering 89 off just 43 balls, Rajasthan almost unravelled all his good work with four quick wickets falling within the blink of an eye. All-rounder Ben Stokes missed the match due to injury, his form in this seasons IPL hasn’t been great but he’s still viewed as an integral part of the this Rajasthan team. With Sanju Samson and Steve Smith also yet to hit their straps in the tournament, there are still plenty of reasons to get excited!
If it wasn’t for Jofra Archer, the Royals may have found themselves below RCB at the bottom of the standings. Dismissing the dangerous Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock who looked like taking the game away from them, Archer’s 3/39 played a vital part in Rajasthan’s win. They only really have Archer and Shreyas Gopal as genuine wicket-taking options in the team, so it’s crucial that one of them go on to claim a handful of wickets. The question has to be asked, can they take a risk and omit one of Buttler, Smith, Archer or Stokes for an extra bowling option? So far they’ve been against the idea, but when England’s players leave early for World Cup preparations in May, they’re expected to lean towards the likes of Ish Sodhi, Oshane Thomas and Ashton Turner who are all yet to feature in the 2019 IPL. As it stands, Rajasthan are a minimalistic team in terms of changes to their playing XI.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Kings XI Punjab
- Chris Gayle
- KL Rahul
- Ravi Ashwin
- Mayank Agarwal
Wildcard pick – Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Top 4 fantasy picks – Rajasthan Royals
- Jofra Archer
- Jos Buttler
- Steve Smith
- Shreyas Gopal
Wildcard pick – Sanju Samson
Kings XI Punjab (possible) – 1. KL Rahul 2. Chris Gayle 3. Mayank Agarwal 4. Sarfaraz Khan 5. Nicholas Pooran (wk) 6. Mandeep Singh 7. Sam Curran/Hardus Viljoen 8. Ravi Ashwin © 9. Andrew Tye/Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10. Mohammed Shami 11. Murugan Ashwin/Arshdeep Singh.
Rajasthan Royals (possible) – 1. Ajinkya Rahane © 2. Jos Buttler 3. Sanju Samson (wk) 4. Steve Smith 5. Ben Stokes/Ashton Turner 6. Rahul Tripathi 7. Shreyas Gopal 8. Krishnappa Gowtham/Stuart Binny 9. Jofra Archer 10. Jaydev Unadkat 11. Dhawal Kulkarni.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.