The 50th match of the 13th season of IPL will be played on Friday between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals. The match between the two teams will start at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi from 7.30 pm.
Confidently, Kings XI Punjab will be aiming to take the next step towards the playoffs by maintaining this winning campaign on Friday, while it will be a battle for Rajasthan Royals to survive.
Punjab riding on the chariot of victory
KL Rahul's team, which has been consistently losing at the start of the tournament, has seen a miraculous change in performance. It has made it to the top four by registering five consecutive wins. Currently, he is in fourth place with 12 points from 12 matches while the Royals are in seventh place with ten points from 12 matches.
'Do or die' match for both teams
The playoff race is still in the shape of 'agar mugger'. Barring the Mumbai Indians, the ground is open for the remaining six teams, while the Chennai Super Kings have been eliminated. If the Royals lose on Friday, they will also be out of the race, while losing the road to Punjab will also be difficult. Punjab will be expecting the same performance from Rahul who has scored the most runs in the tournament so far. The arrival of Chris Gayle has increased the team's confidence manifold.
Whether or not Mayank Agarwal returns to the team remains to be seen
Whether or not Mayank Agarwal, who was ruled out for two matches due to a knee injury, returns to the team remains to be seen. Mandeep Singh scored an unbeaten 66 against Kolkata Knight Riders to open the innings, giving the team an extra option. In the last few matches, Punjab's bowling has been superb under Mohammad Shami.
The royals are also strong
On the other hand, after defeating the top-ranked Mumbai, the royals are also strong. Ben Stokes has returned to form, scoring an unbeaten 107 against Mumbai. Sanju Samson has also regained the lost rhythm, although skipper Steve Smith's poor form may have kept the Royals at bay. Rajasthan's bowling average under Jofra Archer has been average. Archer took 17 wickets in 12 matches at an economy rate of 6.71 but he did not get support from the rest of the bowlers.
The teams are as follows:
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (Captain), Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshadip Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujib ur Rehman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalakande, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Jagdish Suchit, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hardas Viljoen, Simran Singh.
Rajasthan Royals: Jose Butler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Andrew Tye, Karthik Tyagi, Steven Smith (Captain), Ankit Rajput, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markandey, Mahipal Lomror, Oshen Thomas, Ryan Parag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Akash Singh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Shashank Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curren, Robin Uthappa, Anirudh Joshi, and Jofra Archer.