About the Match
Rajasthan Royals with 14 points from 12 matches are scheduled to go up against Kings XI Punjab who have 18 points from 12 matches on 23rd May at Mohali. While Rajasthan Royals, though a very mentally tough team, lost the last match against Mumbai Indians failing to chase 178, falling short by 25 runs and losing 8 wickets, the Kings XI have dominated most of the matches so far but failed to stop the winning spree of Mumbai Indians who won the match by 7 wickets with an over to spare. This contest will surely go down to the wire and the supporters will definitely be treated to a cricketing feast, with fireworks all over the ground.
Kings XI Punjab
They are comfortable as far as qualification to the next stage is concerned, having topped the table with 18 points after 12 matches; Sehwag and Vohra gave a good start in their match against Mumbai Indians and after the fall of Sehwag at 23 for 1, Marsh came and partnered well with Vohra to add 64 runs for the 2nd wicket. Bailey stepped in after the fall of Vohra but the other end kept giving up regularly for some superb fielding and bowling by the Mumbai Indians wherein Gopal and Bumrah with support from others came good at the right time. Fancied Kings XI were reduced to 156 for 8 after Mumbai won the toss and chose to field; they did not have an answer to the Mumbai Indians openers Simmons and Hussey with Simmons dominating the proceedings. This loss will certainly weigh heavily against the Kings XI when facing the Rajasthan Royals who have to win the match to be certain of their place for the qualifiers.
The Royals have a huge stake in this match because, even if they have 14 points from 12 matches, and they are in the doorstep for qualifying to the next stage, they are still not safe as the matches involving Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad have a bearing on the 3rd and 4th spot. They have been very consistent and determined in all matches, quite focused on the events in progress and every player has been contributing to the cause of the team. Karun Nair has been handling the opening slot very efficiently with different partners in different games, laying good foundation; Watson, Faulkner, Sanju Samson and Brad Hodge were doing well with the bat, speeding the run rate to meet the target. Faulkner, whenever looked at by the captain to bowl or bat in crisis, responded positively, to do the task cut out for him. Bhatia, Kulkarni, Ankit Sharma are all giving 100% in bowling, fielding and batting; they will try and win this match to avoid any speculation on their chances to qualify to next stage and at the same time they will have an eye on the NRR also, should that be the deciding factor.
Though Punjab has the home advantage and will try to bounce back from their recent loss, the Royals with their focus and determination are expected to win the contest comfortably.
Rajasthan Royals, 2.20@ Bet365