Mumbai Indians became the first team to officially qualify for the playoffs yesterday when Chennai Super Kings defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2020. It has been an incredibly competitive race which is set to go down to the wire, as we enter the final stages of the league.
Kings XI Punjab will take on the Rajasthan Royals in yet another key game for the top-4 race. KXIP have witnessed a late rejuvenation and look unstoppable at the moment. The side is on a five-match winning run, defeating the top-3 teams of the tournament along the way.
RR, meanwhile, have been hugely inconsistent with their performances. However, they have no option but to beat KXIP tonight as a loss would officially eliminate them from the tournament.
Punjab would expect their skipper KL Rahul, the leading run-scorer of the tournament, to fire in the crucial game after three underwhelming performances with the bat. The addition of Chris Gayle has done wonders for the team's confidence.
It is to be seen if Mayank Agarwal, who missed two games with a bruised knee, returns to the side. In his absence, Mandeep Singh revelled in the role of an opener with a match-winning unbeaten 66 in the win against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Punjab's bowling, which has been their weakest link throughout the tournament, has been exceptional in their recent wins, choking the opposition for runs.
The Royals will also be high on confidence after their morale boosting win over table toppers Mumbai and would be desperate to keep the winning momentum going.
The biggest positive for the Royals is Ben Stokes roaring back to form after rusty displays in previous five outings. The English all-rounder, who has been elevated to the role of opener, smashed an unbeaten 107 to help seal a seven-wicket win over Mumbai earlier this week.
The Jofra Archer-led bowling attack has looked ordinary. The Barbados-born English pacer, who is having a stellar individual season with 17 wickets from 12 matches with an economy of 6.71, has done most of the heavy lifting with the ball without adequate support from the rest of the bowlers.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (C), Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen and Simran Singh.
Rajasthan Royals: Steven Smith (C), Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Andrew Tye, Kartik Tyagi, Ankit Rajpoot, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Riyan Parag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Akash Singh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Shashank Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Robin Uthappa, Aniruddha Joshi, Jofra Archer.