RR vs PBKS HEAD TO HEAD Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings, 65th Match
Wednesday, 15 May 2024 04:00 am


Wednesday, May 15, 2024, 7:30 PM

Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings, 65th Match

Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati


TotaL            :  27
RR Won       :  16
PBKS Won  :  11


Guwahati, with its shiny black-soil pitches, has been a high-scoring venue lately despite 70-meter square boundaries, with the average first-inning total in the last four T20 matches here being a shade over 213. Parag expects much of the same this time around too, with dew playing a crucial part in his opinion. The effects of it were on show in the last T20I played at this venue, when India's 222/3 wasn't enough against Australia and Glenn Maxwell.

This feeling, though, of being so near yet so far is not unfamiliar to Rajasthan Royals  this season. They looked primed to seal a spot in the PlayOffs when they went on to lose three on the trot. They remain the favourites, mind you, to become the second team to qualify even before they take the field (more on that below), notwithstanding how they have been guilty of sweating the last mile. But as Parag said, the defeats haven't meant that his side has "done everything wrong" in those games. Perhaps a change of venue then, with its promise of high scores after Chennai, couldn't have come at a better time.

For the eliminated Punjab Kings, playing a match that will have no bearing on their qualification must feel like a bad habit, for it's been a decade since they have made it to the PlayOffs. No other team has had to wait longer. But it is what it is and all they would want from this match is an encore from last year, when they beat RR at this very venue by five runs. Fortunately, they boast of wins in their last three away fixtures - Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Chennai - and a lot of this game will be how much "away" they can make this for RR.

Rajasthan Royals

Led by Yuzvendra Chahal's resurgence, RR's spinners started the season in full force but have tailed off since then. Compared to the first six games, their average has nearly doubled and the economy-rate has gone up by almost two-and-a-half points despite Ravichandran Ashwin picking five wickets in the last two matches and it's an area RR would like to get back to their best at.

Injuries/Availability: Jos Buttler has flown back home to prepare for the T20I series against Pakistan, as was indicated by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) while announcing the provisional T20 World Cup squad. RR have been practicing with Tom Kohler-Cadmore as the "back-up" for Buttler, Parag said on the eve of the match, and the Somerset wicketkeeper-batter is likely to make his IPL debut and partner Yashasvi Jaiswal at the top of the order.

Probable XI: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Sanju Samson(w/c), Riyan Parag, Shimron Hetmyer, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal [Impact Player: Nandre Burger/Rovman Powell]

Punjab Kings

 Like RR, the PBKS would want an amped-up performance from their spinners. They played a crucial role in victories at Chepauk and Mullanpur and have been amongst the more economical spin attacks this season but have struggled to dent oppositions regularly in the middle overs.

Injuries/Availability: Liam Livingstone and Kagiso Rabada have returned home to tend to niggles before the upcoming T20 World Cup, assistant coach Brad Haddin confirmed on the eve of the game, but the likes of Sam Curran and Jonny Bairstow have travelled to Guwahati and are expected to turn up against RR. Shashank Singh, who collided with Faf du Plessis in the last game and endured a sore shoulder, is fit again and likely to play

Probable XI: Jonny Bairstow(w), Prabhsimran Singh, Rilee Rossouw, Shashank Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Sam Curran(c), Ashutosh Sharma, Harshal Patel, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh, Vidhwath Kaverappa [Impact player: Harpreet Brar/Nathan Ellis]