Indore, May 5 : Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will aim to bounce back to their winning ways when they take on bottom-placed Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Holkar Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
While Punjab are placed fourth with five wins and three defeats and 10 points, the Ajinkya Rahane-led Rajasthan languishes at the bottom of the league points-table with just three wins from eight games.
With just six points in their kitty, Rajasthan are in a must-win situation with the league just about past the midway point.
Although both teams have suffered two straight defeats each, Punjab have a better chance to book a play-off berth.
Punjab’s batting mostly relies on opener Chris Gayle, who has accumulated 302 runs from just five games, averaging 100.66.
Even in their last encounter against Mumbai Indians on Friday, when most of the Punjab batters failed to go big, the self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ slammed a 40-ball 50, laced with six boundaries and couple of sixes.
In-form opener Lokesh Rahul, who faultered in the game against Mumbai, has been in good form, amassing 292 runs from eight games.
The Punjab openers have been a major reason behind their success as the duo have handed a perfect start to their side on several occassions in this year’s edition.
Karun Nair has also been impressive after 209 runs from seven innings but veteran Yuvraj Singh, Aaron Finch and Mayank Agarwal are yet to make their presence felt in the middle-order.
The trio’s poor form could be a cause of concern for the team management and this is high time for them to come out with their best.
In the bowling department, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, along with medium-pacer Mohit Sharma add depth to the line-up.
Also, pacers Barinder Sran and Andrew Tye, and Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman shoulder the bulk of the responsibility.
While Australian Tye has 10 wickets from eight games with an economy of 7.90, pacer Ankit Rajpoot and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have seven and nine wickets each.
On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals have experienced a topsy-turvy campaign so far.
With the IPL entering its business end, skipper Rahane will expect his team to get their act together and aim for consistency.
In their previous match, Rajasthan fell short against Delhi Daredevils by just four runs in a rain-affected tie.
Rahane and Samson have been their best batsmen this season but inconsistent run of Ben Stokes and Jos Butler has affected their performance this season.
Among the bowlers, young seamer Jofra Archer have done well to claim seven wickets from just three matches while this IPL’s costliest buy Jaydev Unadkat have also been amongst the wickets.
Rajasthan’s main concern will be the form of their spinners — Shreyas Gopal and K. Gowtham — who have so far failed to hunt as a pair.
While Gopal has six wickets from seven games, Gowtham has bagged five wickets from eight matches.
Rajasthan couldn’t afford another defeat from here as it would almost crush their dream of a play-off berth. IANS