Just two points separate Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings. The two sides come face to face in what promises to be a fascinating IPL encounter at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.
Royals is placed third in the table with 12 points while Kings is seventh with 10. Both sides need a win to brighten their chances of qualifying for the playoffs, with Kings needing it a little more, even though Royals lost its last two matches.
The Kings registered an eight-wicket victory against leader Gujarat Titans in their last match. After the bowlers, led by Kagiso Rabada, reduced Titans to 143, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Liam Livingstone chase down the target with ease. The only blip was the failure of Jonny Bairstow, who was promoted to open the innings with captain Mayank Agarwal dropping himself down the order. The Englishman hasn’t really fired yet this season.
Another Englishman, Jos Buttler, has been firing on all cylinders, though. Buttler is, in fact, the main reason behind Royals’ success thus far this season. With 588 runs, 137 more than his nearest rival, the orange cap is sitting firmly on his head. But the Royals need big contributions from others as well, including skipper Sanju Samson.
The purple cap is also with the Royals at the moment, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal leading the wickets tally with 19 wickets. Chahal needs to get his rhythm back as he has taken just two wickets in his last four matches. There is more to the Royals attack, however, in the shape of Prasidh Krishna, Trent Boult and R. Ashwin.