The match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab has all the potential to be a high scoring contest, as both the sides boast of big-hitting prowess in their squad. The two teams are by far the only sides to have scored more than 200 runs in a single innings so far, and would aim to continue on a similar run in a relatively shorter ground at Sharjah tonight.
Sanju Samson will like to continue his dream form while the presence of Jos Buttler puts Rajasthan Royals on even keel with Kings XI Punjab. Coming into the match after morale-boosting victories, both KXIP and the Royals would look to build a winning momentum after starting the tournament as underdogs.
KL Rahul, touted as a future India captaincy material, plundered a record 132 not out off just 69 balls with the help of seven sixes in a much bigger ground in Dubai to lead KXIP to a resounding 97-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. He did get reprieve twice when his opposite number Virat Kohli dropped a couple of sitters.
The 28-year-old Rahul, one of the cleanest hitters of the ball, notched up the highest score by an Indian in IPL history and he would like to continue in the same vein on a ground which has short boundaries on all sides.
"KL Rahul was in exceptional form the other night against RCB, so he will be a key wicket as always and I think we'll see another potentially high-scoring game at Sharjah with small boundaries and the dew factor coming in," the prolific keeper-batsman Jos Buttler said on the eve of the game.
The young Samson, on the other hand, made a mincemeat of the Chennai Super Kings bowlers, hitting nine sixes in his 32-ball 74 before Jofra Archer joined the party with a four-six burst in the final over in the match played at the same venue here on Tuesday.
The Royals captain Smith also chipped in with a 47-ball 69 while playing his first match after concussion related issues in the United Kingdom.
For KXIP, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell would look to make amends for his low score (5) in the earlier match against RCB.
In the bowling department, Mohammed Shami and West Indian Sheldon Cottrell led the pace-bowling department quite well for KXIP while the likes of leg-spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin grabbed three wickets apiece against RCB.
The Royals managed to defend their 216 run target with Archer bowling brilliantly at the death and leg spinner Rahul Tewatia (3/37 in 4 overs) inflicting top order damage.
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