Ahmedabad, April 20: A struggling Kings XI Punjab will have to pull out all stops against the sole unbeaten side, Rajasthan Royals, when the two teams clash in an Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) match here tomorrow.
Rajasthan Royals have successfully dealt with all the challenges thrown at them in the five games they have played so far. Four of those wins have come while chasing, with the one here yesterday against an consistent outfit like Chennai Super Kings, being the most convincing.
They made a mockery of the 157-run target as openers Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson shared a blazing 144-run stand off 97 balls. The Kings XI Punjab will have to find a way to stop the solid Rahane, who has been the tournament's leading scorer with 231 runs at an average of 57.75.
That there has not been a standout effort with the ball goes to show the Royals are clicking well again as a unit.
Leg-spinner Pravin Tambe has been their most successful bowler with five wickets from as many games at 23 and a decent economy rate of 6.76. While Kings XI Punjab have a put up a reasonable bowling effort so far, it is their famed batting that has let them down.
The last year's runners-up have had an ordinary start this season, with only a win to show from four games. What is making it tough for them is that the dangerous opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay has not been able to build on starts.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (captain), Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ankit Nagendra Sharma, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dishant Yagnik, James Faulkner, Kane Richardson, Karun Nair, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Tewatia, Rajat Bhatia, Sanju Samson (wicketkeeper), Steve Smith, Stuart Binny, Tim Southee, Vikramjeet Malik, Chris Morris, Juan Theron, Barinder Singh Saran, Dinesh Salunkhe, Sagar Trivedi, Pardeep Sahu.
Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (captain), Axar Patel, Anureet Singh, Beuran Hendricks, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karanveer Singh, Manan Vora, Mitchell Johnson, Parvinder Awana, Rishi Dhawan, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Shaun Marsh, Shivam Sharma, Thisara Perera, Virender Sehwag, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Murali Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Yogesh Golwalkar
Match starts 8 PM IST