The Royals put on an exhibition of big-hitting with the bat against the Chennai Super Kings in their last game, while KL Rahul's record-breaking 132* blew the wind out of RCB's sails in KXIP's previous encounter.
The first game of IPL 2020 at Sharjah between RR and CSK saw the batsmen make full use of the short boundaries on offer. And, if that encounter is anything to go by, we're going to be treated to another high-scoring game.
IPL 2020: RR v KXIP match prediction
The relatively shorter boundaries at Sharjah promises a run-feast, and there's a certain Chris Gayle in the KXIP squad who's warmed the benches for two games in this IPL 2020 season.
Nicholas Pooran's twin failures in the middle order for KXIP could pave the way for the big Jamaican opener to come into the side and slot in at the top of the order. However, it will indeed be interesting to see if KXIP would want to split the opening pair of KL Rahul-Mayank Agarwal, given their success thus far.
RR, though, are assured of a boost at the top with the return of Jos Buttler, with the Englishman cleared to play after a mandatory quarantine period. While Buttler is undoubtedly a welcome addition for RR, young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal could lose out on his spot, unless Steve Smith moves down to No.3.
A lot will depend on Buttler, Smith and Samson's success for RR to push for a win today. If the trio fail to get going, the inaugural season champions will find themselves in a whole world of trouble. And, one man who will be responsible for keeping the RR batsmen in check will be Mohammed Shami, with the Indian pacer staying true to his role as KXIP's strike bowler in their two games so far.
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Sheldon Cottrell's addition to the bowling unit has reaped rich rewards too, with the West Indian's sharp bouncers and inswingers catching batsmen off guard.
KXIP do have their issues on the batting front, and without a doubt, Rahul and Agarwal's success has camouflaged a rather shoddy show from their middle-order. Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran have struggled to get going, but one could bank on the Australian all-rounder to put on quite a show in Sharjah.
As for the spin departments, there can be an argument made that the Shreyas Gopal-Rahul Tewatia combination is more experienced than Ravi Bishnoi-Murugan Ashwin pair. However, with the spinners being taken to the cleaners in Sharjah, spin might not even come into the equation.
Undoubtedly, Jofra Archer will be key for RR against the KXIP batting unit. Jaydev Unadkat had a poor start to his IPL 2020 campaign, and with Tom Curran likely to make way for Buttler, RR might be tempted to play Varun Aaron at the expense of Riyan Parag/Yashasvi Jaiswal.
Overall, KXIP look to be having the upper hand in this Punjab v Rajasthan contest, given their overall balance in the side.
Prediction: KXIP to win today.Published 27 Sep 2020, 12:00 IST