When Rajasthan Royals (RR) meet Kings XI Punjab in the fourth match of the Indian Premier League season 12, all eyes will be on one player. Former Australian captain Steve Smith will make his return to IPL and the Royals will hope for a positive result.
Both sides have well balanced squads and both are looking for a winning start to their campaigns.
Captain Ajinkya Rahane has few selection concerns, with everyone available for the first match. Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer give them excellent control at the top of the order. Smith’s return is expected to shore up their batting and give more solidity.
Even their bowling looks well settled, with Archer joined by Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni. Questions remain over the composition of their Indian bowling attack, but they still look potent. Consistency will be a challenge, as is the success of their slow bowlers led by the unheralded K Gowtham.
Punjab almost dismantled their side and went for a new look. After all the change, Kings XI looks balanced and ready for a challenge. Chris Gayle joined after the recent auction, while KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Nicholas Pooran give them an aggressive outlook.
It is their bowling that makes Kings XI half the side that is. Captain Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami and Sam Curran give them a lot of options with the ball. It could come down to how well their bowling was able to keep the RR team at bay.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Jos Buttler averages 92 in the first six overs of an IPL game, to go with his strike rate of 168.5. The England opener enjoys being aggressive and that should help him fetch points. Back him to keep scoring and adding points to your fantasy side.
Chris Gayle has 3, 9994 runs in 111 innings and is all set to beat David Warner’s record of fastest to 4, 000 runs in the IPL. The ‘Universe Boss’ could be your good bet to pick up points.
Ben Stokes has a great presence in the middle, with the bat and the ball, made complete with his fielding.
RR: 1 Ajinkya Rahane (C) 2 Jos Buttler (WK) 3 Steve Smith 4 Sanju Samson 5 Ben Stokes 6 Rahul Tripathi 7 K Gowtham 8 Shreyas Gopal 9 Jofra Archer 10 Jaydev Unadkat 11 Dhawal Kulkarni.
KINGS XI: 1 Chris Gayle 2 KL Rahul 3 Mayank Agarwal 4 Karun Nair 5 Nicholas Pooran (WK) 6 Mandeep Singh 7 Ravichancran Ashwin 8 Sam Curran 9 Ankit Rajpoot 10 Mohammed Shami 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
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