IPL 2019, RR vs KXIP: Top 4 player battles to watch out for
Since the inception of the IPL, the Royals have always had an upper hand over Punjab, and the same is expected to continue tonight as well. This year, despite Australian Steve Smith being back in the squad, Rahane will lead the Royals' team.
Coming into the match against the Kings XI, the Rahane-led side will to keep their good track record going.
The Punjab side will be led by Ravichandran Ashwin, who has a great opportunity to impress the selectors and get into the reckoning for a spot in the World Cup. With just a few hours remaining for the game, here is a look at the top player battles fans will get to see today:
1. Chris Gayle vs Ravichandran Ashwin / Krishnappa Gowtham
The 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle is the most dangerous player to bowl to in T20s, and he has also been in tremendous form of late. One gets going, he is difficult to stop.
However, he has a weakness against quality spin bowling. Captain Ashwin can use his prime spinner Krishnappa Gowtham or himself in the powerplay to dismiss the dangerous player early, which will give them an early advantage.
2. KL Rahul vs Dhawal Kulkarni
KL Rahul is one of the major reasons the Kings XI had a good start last year. The Indian batsman smashed the fastest T20 half-century last year besides scoring 659 runs in the season at a strike-rate of 158.
Similar to last year, Rahul will open the innings with Gayle, and the opposition teams have every reason to worry about him. But the Royals have Dhawal Kulkarni in their ranks, who can handle the new ball very well.
Kulkarni has a good record against Rahul as he has dismissed the young Indian thrice in the tournament.
3. Jos Buttler vs Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Jos Buttler had a good season last year after he started opening the batting with skipper Ajinkya Rahane. He’s in destructive form right now too, and can put the opposition bowlers into crisis mode with his power-hitting.
The Punjab bowlers will have their task cut out against Buttler, and they need to get him early to put pressure on the Royals. He has a weakness against spinners, and Punjab have Afghanistan's famous Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who got Buttler out twice last year.
Mujeeb bowls in the powerplay too and if he manages to get Buttler out, Punjab will win the half battle.
4. Ajinkya Rahane vs Ravichandran Ashwin
It's 'captain vs captain' here. Rahane has struggled against Ashwin in the IPL so far; the latter has dismissed Rahane thrice, while the Royals skipper has scored only 25 runs off 26 balls against him.
Rahane often fails against spinners but enjoys batting against pacers and hence, Ashwin would look to attack him using the new ball and put pressure on the Royals' top order.
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